Prize money for horse racing’s biggest races has continued to grow in recent years and the creation of new high-profile events has made a significant contribution to this increase.
The introduction of new races worth millions of dollars in different parts of the world provides the sport’s biggest owners with further opportunities to run their best horses in the biggest races.
In addition to the prestige and prize money on offer, victory in these contests also plays a key role in determining a stallion’s mating fee at stud.
Arc is Europe’s richest race
Europe’s richest race is the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe which was won by the favorite Ace Impact in 2023. Ace Impact banked $3 million for winning and maintaining his unbeaten record before being swiftly retired and shipped off to stud. Another unbeaten horse, City Of Troy, heads the horse racing betting for the 2024 Arc. It is likely that the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt, who is generally a +1000 shot, will have the $5 million Arc prize fund on offer at Longchamp among his 2024 targets.
The racing results will tell you how much each horse has won in a race and while Ace Impact’s Arc winnings far outweigh those on offer in the vast majority of races, the amount is still dwarfed by the figures of other races.
For a brief period, the richest race in the world was the Pegasus World Cup, staged at Gulfstream Park in late January. Its inaugural running in 2017 offered a prize fund of $12 million, which saw it replace the Dubai World Cup as the world’s richest race. Arrogate won the first renewal and then went on to win the Dubai World Cup, while the prize fund for the 2018 Pegasus World Cup was $16 million. However, the purse for that race is now down to $3 million and it is behind the Breeders’ Cup Classic as the richest race in America.
The richest turf race in the world is The Everest, which is staged at Randwick racetrack in Australia and was first run in 2017. This is a race for real speedballs over 1,200 meters and has been dominated by Australian sprinters since its inception. The 2023 contest had a purse of $20 million, although this race is different compared to most as there is also a $700,000 entry fee.
Pegasus World Cup’s rise and fall
The Dubai World Cup, first run in 1996, was the world’s richest race for two decades following its creation. After briefly being replaced by the Pegasus World Cup, the Dubai World Cup, run at Meydan racetrack, temporarily reclaimed its title as the richest horse race and offers a purse of $12 million.
However, the Dubai World Cup lost its crown in 2020 when the Saudi Cup was introduced with a prize fund of $20 million, with $10 million going to the winner. Run at King Abdulaziz racetrack over 1,800 meters, the American-trained Maximum Security won the first running.
The global appeal of the race, and a demonstration of how such a huge prize fund can attract horses from across the world, is shown by the fact that the four winners of the Saudi Cup to date have come from the US, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan.
The success of the Saudi Cup in enticing high-caliber horses from different parts of the world suggests that the race is here to stay, and it may be some time until it is eclipsed as the richest horse race.