richest horse races in the world

Top 10 richest horse races in the world

We’ve taken a look at the richest horse races in the world to track down where elite thoroughbreds can pick up the most prize money.

Racing isn’t known as ‘the sport of kings’ for nothing and huge purses are on offer all around the planet thanks to the interest of high-profile sponsors and wealthy patrons.

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Major races spread far and wide

With the global horse racing calendar recovering, fans will be looking forward to some of the sport’s biggest occasions.

We’ve analysed the biggest races in the season and highlighted the 10 most lucrative, based on total prize money.

For comparison, we’ve converted all purses into US dollars – the most common currency – using the latest exchange rates.

The richest horse race in the world has only been run once so far. The first ever Saudi Cup was staged in February 2020 and offered a total prize purse of $20million, half of which was reserved for the winner.

The Dubai World Cup, with its $12m in total prize money, has been knocked into second place. However, it remains the climax of the most lucrative single day in horse racing, with a total of $35m being awarded.

This largesse is sufficient for two more of the day’s races to feature in the current top 10: both the Dubai Turf and the Dubai Sheema Classic have prize purses of $6m.

Third place moves us from the Middle East to Oceania, where the Everest – held in Sydney – currently distributes $10.8m of prize money. Another recent creation, the race is entering its fourth year after supplanting the Melbourne Cup as Australia’s richest horse race.

The latter just makes our list in 10th place and is a national institution, having been first contested back in 1861.

We hop continents again to find fourth place in the United States. The Breeders’ Cup Classic doesn’t have a permanent home but the $7m of prize money on offer guarantees that it will be the centre of attention wherever in the country it is staged.

Skipping over the two aforementioned Dubai-based races, the next item on our list sees us moving to yet another new continent: Asia.

Two of the remaining races in our top 10 are staged in Japan, with the first being one of the sport’s big end-of-year events. The Japan Cup, held in Tokyo in November, offers approximately $5.8m which puts it narrowly ahead of December’s Arima Kinen.

The only remaining slot in the top 10 richest horse races in the world is also the only European entry! The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France – often referred to as simply the “Arc” – is due to celebrate its centennial, having first been contested in 1920.

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