Horse racing is one the biggest sports in the world. It’s also a sport that all of the top bookmakers cover in massive detail. Here we have a list of some of the biggest horse races from around the globe in relation to the prize money that is on offer.
1. Dubai World Cup – $10 Million Purse
The Dubai World Cup is number one in our list and boasts a staggering $10 million in terms of prize money. The race is held at the Meyden Racecourse in Dubai and has been run since 1996. It includes some of the best thoroughbred horses from around the world and the 10 furlong course, ran on dirt, is thought to be one of the fastest of its kind.
The race includes horses aged 3yo+ from the Southern Hemisphere and 4yo+ from the Northern Hemisphere. It runs on the last Saturday in March and some of the most notable winners include Cigar (first winner in 1996), Dubai Millennium (who set a course record with its win in 2000), Victoire Pisa (first Asian winner in 2011) and Prince Bishop (oldest horse to win it in 2018 aged 8).
2. Melbourne Cup – $6.2 Million Purse
The Melbourne Cup is second largest on our list with a purse of $5.65 million and is Australia’s pinnacle horse race. The race takes place at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia and is run over a fairly gruelling 2 mile track, one of the longest for flat racing. The turfed tracks is a left-handed course and the race includes thoroughbreds of 3yo+.
The race is a handicap race, meaning that all horses will be handicapped based on the top rated horse in the field. The Melbourne Cup is held on a public holiday with massive crowds of over 100,000 being in attendance throughout the meeting, and at full capacity for the race day of the Melbourne Cup. Makybe Divaa is the most successful horse to have run the race, winning it on 3 separate occasions in 2003, 2004 and 2005, respectively. Other notable multi-winners of the race include Think Big, Rain Lover, Peter Pan and Archer. The most successful trainer is that of Bart Cummings with 12 wins to his name stretching from 1965 to 2008.
3. Prix de l’Arc de triomphe – $5.4 Million Purse
The Prix de l’Arc de triomphe is popularly known simply as the ‘Arc’ and comes in at number 3 on our list with a huge purse of $5.4million. The Arc has been running since 1920 and is one the oldest and most prestigious horse races in the world. The race takes place at the Longchamp Racecourse in Paris, France and is run over a 1 ½ mile, turfed, right-handed racetrack. The race is open to that of 3 yo+ and is run as a handicapped race.
Since 1920 thee have only been 7 multiple (2 time) winners of the arc, which includes Ksar, Motrico, Corrida, Tantieme, Ribot, Alleged and Treve, being the most recent in 2013 and 2014 respectively. There have also been 7 jockeys who have won the race on 4 separate occasions, with some of the biggest names including that of Pat Eddery, Frankie ?Dettori and Freddy Head. The leading trainer in the history of the Arc is that of Andre Fabre with 7 wins from 1987 through to 2006. Some of the more notable winners of the race include Workforce, Sea the Stars, Hurricane Run, Sinndar, Carroll House and Sea Bird.
4. Breeders Cup Classic – $5 Million Purse
The Breeders Cup is fourth on our all time list, but is the biggest horse race in North America with a purse of $5 Million to its name. The race has been run since 1984 and takes place at a different racetrack each year, which is also very unique for these types of races. The only time it has been held outside of North America was back in 1996 when it was held at the Woobine Racetrack in Toronto, Canada.
The race is run over a 1 ¼ mile circuit and is available to thoroughbreds of 3yo+. It’s very common for the winner of this race to go on to win the US Horse of the Year award, and in turn, go into the horse racing hall of fame as a result. The race is widely regarded as one of horse racings major events, and often referred to as the fourth leg of the Grand Slam. Only one horse, Tiznow has won the event on 2 separate occasions, doing so in 2000 and 2001. Other notable winners of the Breeders Cup include American Pharaoh, Fort Larned, Curlin, Cigar and Wild Again (winning the first ever race in 1984).
5. Dubai Duty Free Stakes – $5 Million Purse
The Dubai Duty Free Stakes is 5th on the all-time list and what’s so special about this race is that it’s run on the same night as the Dubai World Cup, allowing the meeting to have two of the top 5 world’s biggest horse races in one night of racing. The race has been run since 1996 and as mentioned, takes place at the Meyden Racecourse in Dubai, UAE. The race is run over 1 mile and 1 furlong and is run on turf track at the racecourse.
Legendary trainer, Saeed bin Suroor has the most wins in the race with 5 in total ranging from 1997 through to 2013. Some of the more prestigious winners of the race include Real Steel, Cityscape, Jay Peg, Terre a Terre and Key of Luck, who was the first winner of the race back in 1996.
6. Breeders Cup Turf – $3 Million Purse
The second leg of the Breeders Cup treble brings us to the Breeders Cup Turf event that sees a whopping £3 Million purse for this race. It’s been run since 1984 and it differs from the classic in that it’s run on turf and not dirt. But, like the Classic, the event takes place at different racecourses across the US and will feature horses aged 4yo+ and 3yo+ if from the Southern Hemisphere.
Only two horses have won the race twice with Conduit in 2008 and 2009, along with High Chaparral in 2002 and 2003. Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore are the most decorated jockeys in the race, with 4 wins each. Other notable winners of the race include Dangerous Midge, Magician, Shirocco, Red Rocks and Bucks Boys.
7. Breeders Cup Distaff – $2 Million Purse
The Breeders Cup Distaff is another part of the Breeders Cup World Championships and this race includes a purse of $2 million. The race is the last race to run over the two event and signifies the end of the meeting. The race has been run over 9 furlongs since it’s inauguration in 1984. The race is ran on the flat and is available to both fillies and mares ages 3yo+.
Only two horses have ever won this race on two separate occasions, those being Bayakoa in 1989 and 1990, along with Royal Delta in 2011 and 2012. Mike Smith is the most decorated jockey in the history of the Breeders Cup Distaff with 5 wins to his name, the same number of wins as the record trainer William I. Mott.
8. Kentucky Derby – $2 Million Purse
The Kentucky Derby is the one of the most iconic horses races in the world and arguably the most iconic in North America. The purse of $2 million might not be as high as some on our list, but this race has one of the longest traditions, with the first race taking place way back in 1875. The race is run at the Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky. It’s run over 1 ¼ miles and is on a left handed dirt track. Horses aged 3yo+ mat enter the event with a reported $1,425,000 of the $2million purse being paid out to the winner.
Two jockeys have won the Kentucky Derby on 5 separate occasions, who are Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack. Some of the higher profile winners of the race include American Pharoah, I’ll Have Another, Smarty Jones, Charismatic, Go for Gin and Sea Hero.
9. Grand National – $1.6 Million Purse
The Grand National is the richest jump race in the world and takes place every year Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. The race is technically a steeplechase and is run over a gruelling 4 mille track. There are 16 fences that the horses must jump over throughout the race, with the total number of jumps hitting 30 by the time they cross the line. The jumps have become as well known as the race itself with the likes of The Chair, Becher’s Brook and Canal Turn, being the three big ones.
Red Rum, one of the greatest jump horses to have lived, won the race on 3 separate occasions in 1973, 1974 and then remarkably again in 1977. George Stevens is the most decorated jockey with 5 wins in the race with leading trainers including that of George Dockeray, Fred Rimell and of course, Ginger McCain, who just so happened to train Red Rum as well! Some of the more notable winners include Many Clouds, Mon Mome, Comply or Die, Rough Quest, Don’t Push It and Rule the World.