7 Richest Horse Races in the World

Horse racing may not be as big as football, but in some parts of the world, it is a pretty popular sport. Take the UK, for example – horse races are nearly a religion there, with many offering incredible prize purses that go beyond $10 million. There’s a lot of money in horse racing, and a lot of historical events.

Those astronomical prize purses are partly fueled by horse race betting. A glance at will tell you that betting on these races goes beyond picking the winner.

There are quite a few attractive exotic horse racing bets such as the trifecta, superfecta, and others, all of which have incredible prize pots. It’s a rich sport and not afraid to show it.

Some of the world’s major horse races are actually festivals that last for days, with plenty of entertainment between the events.

The prices for these events are head-spinning, and you’ll be lucky to get a ticket fast. The Kentucky Derby, Saudi Cup, Dubai World Cup, and the Everest are among the richest horse races in the world, with many smaller events also features prize pots that even the Champions League can’t come close to in terms of prizes.

1. Saudi Cup


If anyone needs proof that horse racing is among the world’s richest sports, the Saudi Cup fits the profile. Held at the King Abdulaziz in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, it’s the world’s richest horse race by a mile with a prize purse of $20 million in 2024. It is held 3 weeks after the Pegasus Cup and 4 weeks before the Dubai World Cup, another one of the richest horse races in the world.

The Saudi Cup was only launched in 2020, but year after year, no one comes close to it in terms of prize purse. It’s a thoroughbred flat race over 1,800 meters whose star will grow in the coming years as everyone wants a piece of that $20 million pie.

2. The Everest


Inaugurated in 2017 and run at the Randwick Racecourse, The Everest has a prize purse of $15 million. It’s a right-handed thoroughbred horse race in Sydney, Australia that holds the status of the richest turf race in the world and the overall richest horse race in the land down under. Notable for its unorthodox entry fee structure, it has 20 slots for runners each one priced at $600,000.

The race is run over 1,200 meters and offers plenty of excitement beyond the incredible prize purse. It is held every October, and considering the prize purse of $15 million, we’re sure it’ll be loaded this year too.

3. Dubai World Cup


With a prize purse of $12 million in 2024, the Dubai World Cup is one of the world’s richest horse races. It’s also one of the most prestigious and luxurious events held at the private-owned Meydan Racecourse. Good luck on finding tickets for it. It’s an event for the elite that’s as pricy as it gets.

Originally inaugurated in 1996, the Dubai World Cup grew into one of the most famous horse races in the world. It is classified a Group 1 flat race on dirt for the Northern Hemisphere and is open to four-year old thoroughbreds. Run over a distance of 2,000 meters in late March, it is home to some of the greatest runners and a major draw for the horse racing elite.

4. Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

The other races on this list may have a bigger prize purse, but rarely any of them has the significance of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. A French race held at the Longchamp Racecourse, it is open to thoroughbreds aged three and older. The total running distance is 2,400 meters on a right-handed turf.

This is the most prestigious horse race in Europe and one of the most valuable. The prize purse in 2024 was $5 million, with nearly $3 million in the bag for the winner. The race has been run since 1920, so it’s no wonder why it’s such a major event among fans and bettors. It is the world’s second richest turf race after The Everest, but it’s a much more prestigious event than others.

Check out these fun facts about the Prix presented by the New York Times.

5. Breeders’ Cup Classic


An annual series of Grade I thoroughbred horse races, the Breeders’ Cup Classic is the biggest one among them. The winner gets over half of the $6 million prize purse for the main event that’s restricted to three-year olds and above.

The popular US race is considered the fourth leg of the so-called Triple Crown. It’s a major factor for deciding the Horse of the Year and has been run since 1984. A bit differently than others, the race is held at a different location each year. It was only hosted once outside of the USA in 1996 when it took place in Ontario, Canada.

6. Japan Cup

Asia’s oldest and best horse race is the Japan Cup. Held at the Tokyo Racecourse in Fuchu, it is run over 2,400 meters and open to thoroughbreds aged 3 and over. With a prize purse of $5.8 million, it’s a pretty lucrative race and the most prestigious in Asia.

What’s most impressive about the Japan Cup is that extra money is awarded to the winner won in qualified international races. It’s a nice prize purse boost for the trainer and jockey, making the Japan Cup one of the most unique horse racing events in the world.

7. Kentucky Derby


It may not be the world’s richest race, but horse racing doesn’t get any bigger than the Kentucky Derby. It’s officially one of the biggest betting events in the USA, with millions in bets received by bookies every year. Called the “most exciting two minutes” in sports, the Kentucky Derby festival is an event that every horse racing fan needs to experience.

The attendance for the event ranks first in North America and surpasses the Breeders’ Cup, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. By all accounts, it’s one of the biggest horse racing events in the world, and at $3 million, it’s quite a rewarding one as well.

Frequently asked questions:

How long can you travel with a horse without stopping?

It depends on the trailer. The horse should drink water every 4 hours while traveling. If your trailer is not big enough to let your horse drink water comfortably, then you have to unload your horse after every 4 hours. It increases the journey time. But if your trailer is vast enough for horses to drink the sufficient amount of water required to keep the horse body hydrated, then the horse can travel in a trailer for up to 9 hours. We have found the best trailers for all purposes including space, comfort, and safety which is Double d trailers’ safe tack horse trailer. They are available on both gooseneck or bumper pull options.

How are racehorses transported around the world?

Horses travel all over the world by airplane. The airplanes contain pallets that are composed of air-conditioned stalls from every standpoint. The configuration of airplanes is as such that it has large rooms for maximum water storage to keep the horse hydrated. Other necessary stuff for horses include pitchforks, shoes, and saddles.

What is the average lifespan of a racehorse?

The average lifespan of a racehorse is 25-30 years. It doesn’t mean that they can take part in races for a lifetime. The career of a racehorse varies only from only 2-3 years. Specifically, 3-year-old horses go through the maturity phase, so although it becomes difficult for them to fight with a 4-year-old in a race.

How do they pour water on horses after a race?

Racing is a violent exercise, and it is necessary to cool down the body after running. That’s why supervisors pour water on horses after a race, just like athletes used to take an ice bath for cooling. It reduces hearing and washes hair loss and sweat on the body.

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