“Blue Point” by Amir Hosseini, Fars News Agency (CC BY 4.0)
Horse racing is a popular event in several countries worldwide, with its popularity increasing more in the Middle East with recent investments.
The sport, often referred to as the Sport of Kings can yield some serious financial returns to the owners and trainers alike.
Here is a look at the five richest events currently on the horse racing calendar:
1. Saudi Cup
Debuting in February this year, the World’s Most Valuable Horse Race was won by American horse Maximum Security, ridden by Luis Saez, for a staggering $10 million in prize money at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The runner-up even picked up a life-changing $3.5 million sum among the $20 million purse in all.
The Saudi Cup is a thoroughbred flat race run on dirt over 1,800 metres. There with 14 runners at the inaugural event on 29 February 2020.
2. The Everest
Australia’s richest horse race is also the world’s richest race on turf. The Everest takes place annually in October at the Randwick Racecourse in Sydney since its inauguration in 2017.
Last year’s winner over the 1,200-metre circuit was Yes Yes Yes, ridden by Glen Boss and trained by Chris Waller. Peter & Paul Snowden’s Redzel had won the first two races.
Yes Yes Yes won its owner a staggering $14 million at the feature race of the Sydney Spring Carnival. 12 runners take place with a €600,000 buy-in.
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3. Dubai World Cup
This Grade I race has been on the calendar since 1996 and marks the end of the racing season in the UAE. In 2019, winner for a second year in a row, Thunder Snow, ridden by Christophe Soumillon, took home a cool $7.2 million in prize money. Unfortunately, the scheduled event in 2020 was forced to be cancelled.
The Dubai World Cup is run over 2,000 metres and is a left-handed track at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.
4. Breeders’ Cup Classic
This Grade I race takes place annually in the United States in late October or early November, with the exception for the 1996 edition that was held at the Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Canada.
Racetracks tend to vary year on year, at least since 2012-14 when it was held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California for three consecutive years.
The 2019 winner, Vino Rosso, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., won its owner $6 million in prize money.
5. Pegasus World Cup
Previously the richest race in the world when it was introduced to the horse racing calendar in 2017, the Pegasus World Cup is a nine-furlong race run over a dirt track at the Gulfstream Park in Florida.
The purse for the inaugural race was $12 million, which climbed to $16 million in 2018, before dropping to $9 million in 2019 and then just $3 million this year.
Bob Baffert’s horse Arrogate was the inaugural winner back in 2017, by nearly five lengths, ridden by Mike E. Smith. The same trainer also produced this year’s winner, Mucho Gusto.