There are a lot of stories to be found in the past performance lines of the Daily Racing Form.
I came across one of them today which illustrates what different paths these animals sometimes travel.
The 10th Race at Gulfstream on Wednesday is an OC 62k/N2X. After horse break their maiden they may enter allowance races which are restricted to horses who have reached certain levels. NX1 is for horses who have only broken their maiden. NX2 is for horses who have won at the NX1 level. NX3 is for horses who have won at the NX2 level.
The 9th race at Gulfstream on Wednesday is an OC25k/SAL25k. This means owners may enter the horse under one of two conditions. Either they are putting the horse up to be claimed for $25k (OC25k) or the horse is being entered under Starter Allowance conditions as it has already run in a $25k claimer or less, BUT IT CANNOT BE CLAIMED in this race.
10th race - Adulator
Adulator is a 4 year old colt whose daddy was paid $75k to get mommy pregnant, and then was sold at auction for $400k in March 2015. He has had 8 starts. It took him two tries to break his maiden, three tries to win a NX1. This is his third start at the NX@ level, but he also finished 4th in a stakes race. This is not a bad career so far. In 8 races his record is 2-3-0-2-1. No race worse than 5th, and his total earnings are $155k. He has a bright future, and should, eventually, turn a profit.
9th race Queen Del Valle
Compared to Adulator, Queen Del Valle came from the other side of the tracks. She is a three year-old filly. Daddy's fee was only $2.5k. The Queen went to auction where she only fetched $7500 when she was purchased by Magic Stables LLC. She apparently did not have much of a future because last June they entered her in a $25k Maiden claiming race. She finished 3, but was claimed bu the Big Lick Farm. With $25k in their pocket, Magic Stables obviously did the right thing.
So Big Lick switches her to the turf in a $35k Maiden Claimer, and she wins by 6 lengths! So they enter her in a Starter Allowance---because she has already run in a claimer---and she wins and she wins and she wins. Because she has run in a $25k claimer, she can enter these OC25k/SAL25K races forever.
Long story short---she won a NX1 plus two more SAL races. In 9 starts she has 7 wins and 1 third. She has banked $126k from a $25k investment. No wonder she is the 9-5 morning line favorite tday. Now, she will probably never earn as much as Adulator, but her return on the investment...