She could've been sold for $4000 though.
Right now I could probably sell her for $6000
People talk about what a horse is "worth," but whether you can get that much for it depends on a lot of things.
There is an Arabian horse farm literally a stone's throw from my place. When they first got into Arabians a few years ago, they had animals worth over a million dollars apiece and were making big noises in the show world all over the country. But the economy went south, and the horse world went with it. I'm not sure what they bred this year, but they only had 3 foals last year. Before that, in addition to some very pricey babies, they had several foals from top bloodlines that just weren't quite top-of-the-line show quality, that they were offering at $500, just to get them out of there so they could make room for the next year's crop.
Latte is about 15 hands, Palomino, goes both English and Western, does trails, had been used as a lesson pony and had won ribbons at shows in both English Pleasure and Hunter/jumper classes. She was supposed to be a registered QH, but her former owner never gave me the papers (if they even exist). At the time I bought her, she was about 7 years old, and the only thing "wrong" with her was that she hadn't been ridden in almost a year There was some question about her soundness, but the issue had been resolved months before, and she just hadn't been put back into use so they weren't 100% sure that she had fully recovered. At the time I bought her, she had been for sale for several months, and the owner was considering reducing the price. Sunny had known lameness issues, the owner knew they hadn't much hope of selling her, and they had planned to donate her to a charity auction (which most likely would have put her in the hands of a kill buyer). When I made noises about buying Latte and suggested throwing Sunny in as part of the deal, nearly everybody at the barn did a happy dance. For the few horses that sell for thousands, there are a whole lot more than go for mere hundreds, or get given away just so the owner no longer has to feed them.
Let's try not to get overly romantic about this; it's only natural that he wanted to go with them. That was his "herd," any horse with any sense doesn't want to get left behind. You should hear my "bigs" sound off any time I take one of the minis out of their sight, and they don't even live in the same paddock. Any time someone brought a horse trailer into the parking lot at the barn where I worked, the horses that lived there would cluster near the fence, calling - they knew what that thing was, whether there were any horses in it or not. You would have thought that taking a couple of horses to a show was the most terrible thing in the world, to hear the fuss the other horses made while they were being loaded.
One time, I was out walking Betsy in the neighborhood when my husband left the house in his truck, towing his equipment trailer. The trailer has board sides, and in that respect slightly resembles a stock trailer. When Betsy saw the trailer, she began raising a ruckus, and I had to let her walk all around the trailer and smell it to see that there weren't any horses (known or unknown) in it.
Sad, but true, the racing industry produces relatively few stars and a whole lot of "also rans." A lot never show any real promise on the track, a lot get sidelined due to injuries; it's an industry driven by money and those that don't make money are cast aside. There are a number of rescues that were created particularly to try to home OTTB's, but many still fall through the cracks. I have known several OTTB's; most were wonderful (if a little quirky); some had been rescued, at least one had been rescued from a "rescue."