What is the richest horse race in the world? It’s an intriguing question which we’ll look into in this article.
Read on to find out which are the biggest horse races in the world along with the largest prize purses in the industry.
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Horse racing is an incredibly popular sport in certain parts of the globe. Whilst it’s worldwide popularity cannot compete with the likes of football and cricket, there are still millions of fans that tune in for the richest and biggest horse races in the world.
You could argue that horse racing is a sport only for the wealthy. Horses are expensive animals that only moneyed families can afford to keep and look after.
Whilst horse racing fans come from all kinds of backgrounds, this certainly stands true when you look at some of the richest horse races in the world. There’s a ridiculous amount of prize money offered on some events with owners taking home millions.
There’s no doubt, a lot of this money comes from event sponsors in the gambling sector. As horse racing is one of the most popular sports for punters to bet on, the two go hand in hand.
Richest horse races in the world
So which are the richest horse races in the world? Let’s find out…
We’ve created a list of the 7 biggest races in the world in terms of the total prize purse on offer. The list would look slightly different if we ranked races in terms of the number of spectators..
Position Horse Race Prize Purse 1. Dubai World Cup £9.6 million 2. The Everest £7.8 million 3. Breeders’ Cup Classic £4.8 million 4. Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe £4.5 million 5. Melbourne Cup £4.45 million 6. Kentucky Derby £2.4 million 7. The Epsom Derby £1.6 million 8. The Grand National £1 million
1. Dubai World Cup – £9.6 million
First up in our list of the richest horse races in the world is the Dubai World Cup.
If I asked you which city you think the richest horse race in the world takes place, many of you would probably guess Dubai or somewhere else in the UAE.
Generally speaking, anything to do with Dubai involves stupendous amounts of money and the Dubai World Cup is no different. With the largest prize purse in the world of horse racing, this event easily takes the top spot in our list.
The event takes place each year in late March at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. The 2019 winner, Thunder Snow, took home a cool 7.2 million USD, with the overall prize purse an enormous 12 million USD.
For those of you who are wondering who owned the winning horse, it was actually the ruler of Dubai himself, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum!
Spectators at the event have the option of staying in the five-star hotel located right beside the racecourse. However, the price of getting into the grandstand alone can be as much as $1,200 so you’ll need to save up…
Overall, the biggest horse race in the world will certainly take some beating in future years.
2. The Everest – £7.8 million
The world’s richest turf race, The Everest is a brilliant spectacle that takes place in Syndey, Australia each year. The 2019 race had a total prize purse of 9.6 million USD making it the second richest horse race in the world.
First run in 2017, The Everest is a relatively new race yet has become incredibly popular over the last few years.
The race was won by Redzel in both 2017 and 2018. However, Yes Yes Yes took the glory in 2019 taking home a cool 4.8 million USD.
Despite the global pandemic, The Everest 2020 is still scheduled to go ahead on 17th October, 2020.
3. Breeders’ Cup Classic – £4.8 million
Whilst nothing can compare to the whole spectacle that is the Dubai World Cup or The Everest, we move to the US and the Breeders’ Cup Classic which is another big horse race in the year.
Third on our list of the richest horse races, the Breeders’ Cup Classic takes place annually in the US. The event is held in late October or early November and moves to different racetracks each year.
The 2019 instalment was watched by an impressive 85,000 spectators at Santa Anita Park in California and had a cool prize purse of 6 million USD.
The 2020 event which takes place in Keenland, Kentucky will have an increased prize purse of 7 million USD.
4. Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – £4.5 million
With a prize purse of £4.5 million, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is an incredibly popular horse racing event in France that makes it fourth onto our list of richest horse races in the world.
Taking place annually on the first Sunday of October, the event is held at Longchamp Racecourse in Paris which dates back to 1857. Around 45,000 spectators descend on Paris each year to watch the event.
The winner of both the 2017 and 2018 races, Enable, just lost out to Waldgeist in the 2019. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 event is still scheduled for the 3rd and 4th October.
5. Melbourne Cup – £4.40 million
Next up on our list of richest horse races in the world is the Melbourne Cup.
Dating back to 1861, the Melbourne Cup is the biggest and most popular horse racing event in Australia. You guessed it, the event takes place in Melbourne each year in early November.
The Flemington Racecourse in Victoria is home to the Melbourne Cup. The 2019 winning horse, Vow And Declare took home A$4.4 million from a total prize pot of A$8 million equating to £4.45 million GBP.
Organisers have gone even further this year with the 2020 prize purse rising to more than A$8 million.
The event is a popular day out for many Australians and it’s renowned for its party atmosphere. More than 100,000 spectators attend the race each year making the Melbourne Cup one of the biggest horse races in the world in terms of the number of fans.
6. Kentucky Derby – £2.4 million
Another event from the US makes it onto our list of richest horse races in the world. The Kentucky Derby is an annual horse race that takes place in Louisville, Kentucky.
The event happens on the first Saturday of May at Churchill Downs Racecourse and concludes the two week-long Kentucky Derby Festival.
Over 165,000 spectators watch the event live within the grandstands making it one of the biggest horse races in the world. Unlike other races in this list, the Kentucky Derby takes place on dirt as opposed to turf.
The 2019 winner Country House, took home a cool $1.86 million from a total race prize purse of $3 million. The 2020 instalment has been rescheduled to September due to the coronavirus pandemic.
7. The Epsom Derby – £1.6 million
The oldest horserace on our list, dating back to 1780, the Epsom Derby certainly has a lot of heritage. It’s also the richest horse race in the UK with a prize purse of £1.6 million. Quite small when you compare it to others on the list.
The event takes place at the Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey, London on the first Saturday of June each year.
The winning horse in 2019, Anthony Van Dyck took home just under £1 million in prize money. The 2020 race will take place a month later in July this year due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
8. The Grand National – £1 million
Certainly one of the biggest horse races in the world, the Grand National takes place at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool in early April.
However, the prize money has remained relatively low when compared to other races around the world. Having said that, it’s still the second richest horse race in the UK.
First run back in 1839, the famous, 30 fence steeplechase concludes an annual three-day festival at Aintree.
The 2019 winning team took home £561,000. I guess it’s not bad for the 7th richest horse race in the world. Unfortunately, the 2020 Grand National was cancelled due to the outrbreak of coronavirus.
However, organisers still ran a virutal race online which was very popular.
Biggest horse races in the world
Whilst the list above looks into the financial side of the biggest horse races in the world, it’s also exciting to consider the biggest in terms of number of spectators.
From the list above, the Kentucky Derby is the biggest horse race in the world in terms of spectators. The Churchill Downs racecourse can hold a staggering 165,000 people in various grandstands around the track.
This is closely followed by the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne which has a capacity of 130,000. The UK features quite highly in this list. Epsom Downs in London can hold 120,000 spectators.
Richest horse race in the world
Overall, there is a ridiculous amount of money in this sport and the richest horse races mentioned above just act as proof.
However, to attract the best horses and jockeys in order to make great racing, organisers are required to pay out large sums of money. As long as the racing remains a great spectacle, I think the prize purses are acceptable.
One thing’s for sure, the biggest horse race in the world, the Dubai World Cup is going to take some beating…
Which is your favourite horse race in the world? Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.