The battle to hold the world’s richest race has turned into an arm’s race between a number of wealthy benefactors over the past few years. The Pegasus World Cup briefly soared to the top of the leaderboard, but then it swiftly crashed and burned. We have counted down the 10 most lucrative races in the world right now:
- Golden Eagle
This new race was first held at Rosehill Racecourse in Sydney, Australia, in November 2019. A prize fund of AU$7.5 million ($5.4 million) made it the 10th richest race in the world. The Golden Eagle is open to four-year-olds at set weight conditions, and the Chris Waller-trained Kolding surged to victory in the inaugural race.
- Melbourne Cup
The Melbourne Cup is known as the race that stops a nation. It takes place over 3200m at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia, each year. The organisers claim it is enjoyed by 750 million people across the globe, which would make it the world’s most popular race, ahead of the Grand National. You can find out more about Melbourne Cup horses at Punters. They will battle for AU$8 million ($5.75 million) in 2020.
- Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
The Arc is the world’s second most lucrative turf race, with prize money of €5 million ($5.87 million). It is held at Longchamp Racecourse in Paris each year, and it attracts many of the finest thoroughbreds from across Europe and further afield. It takes place on the first Sunday in October, and Enable and Treve are among the famous winners of the modern era.
- Sheema Classic
The Dubai Sheema Classic is a Group 1 race that takes place over a distance of 2410m at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. It is one of the key events on Dubai World Cup Night, which is the richest card of racing in the world, with $30 million in total prize money. The Sheema Classic is worth $6 million. The Dubai World Cup meeting had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it will return in a blaze of glory in 2021 for a belated celebration of its 25th anniversary,
- Dubai Turf
The Dubai Turf also carries prize money of $6 million on Dubai World Cup Night. The race was first run on dirt in 1996, and it was then transferred to dirt. It achieved Group 1 status in 2002, and it has been run over 1800m since 2010. The legendary Almond Eye won the race in 2019, following in the footsteps of Godolphin colt Benbatl, who won it the previous year.
- Japan Cup
The Group 1 Japan Cup takes place over 2400m at Tokyo Racecourse on an annual basis. It has prize money of JPY 648 million ($6.13 million), which makes it the fifth richest race in the world based on the current exchange rate. Fluctuations in the yen could cause it to dip below the Sheema Classic and the Dubai Turf, but right now the Japan Cup sits inside the top five.
- Breeders’ Cup Classic
The Breeders’ Cup Classic is a Grade 1 weight for age race that takes place over a distance of 1 ¼ miles each year. It is the richest race of the year in the United States, with prize money of $7 million. That leaves it comfortably ahead of the $3 million Kentucky Derby and various other famous races. The Breeders’ Cup Classic was established in 1984. It forms the centrepiece of the Breeders’ World Cup Championships, which hands out $30 million in total prize money over a two-day period in late October or early November each year. The Breeders’ Cup Classic is now considered the fourth leg of the Grand Slam of US racing, after American Pharaoh won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes and then went on to secure victory in this race in 2015.
- The Everest
The Everest instantly became Australia’s richest race when it launched with prize money of AU$10 million in 2017. It has since increased to AU$14 million ($10.05 million), which makes it the world’s third richest race. The prize purse has been steadily increasing in recent years, so it could go on and establish itself as the world’s richest race in the years ahead. It is also bidding to achieve Group 1 status, which would bring added prestige.
- Dubai World Cup
The Dubai World Cup increased its prize money to $12 million in 2019, making it the richest race of the year. The Pegasus World Cup briefly dethroned it in 2018 and 2019, but then offered just $3 million in 2020, much to the dismay of owners. The Dubai World Cup is run over 2000m at Meydan, and Thunder Snow has dominated the race in recent years.
- Saudi Cup
The Saudi Cup launched with an eye-watering prize purse of $20 million in 2020. That made it easily the world’s richest race. However, the organisers refused to pay connections of winning horse Maximum Security after criminal charges were filed against successful trainer Jason Servis. The race will return in 2021, with $20 million earmarked once again for the Saudi Cup. Total prize money for the meeting will increase from $29.2 million to $30.5 million.