The World’s 12 Richest Horse Races

Ever wondered what the richest horse races in the world are? We’ve taken a look at the most lucrative events in the global horse racing calendar.

12 richest races in the world

#1 – The Dubai World Cup – $10m prize money

There’s no doubt about the world’s richest horse race. Sponsored by Emirates Airline, the Group 1 flat race runs over 10 dirt furlongs and offers a pretty sizeable purse of $10m to the winning thoroughbred.

#2 – The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – $5.7m prize money

Europe’s most prestigious race is a highlight in the French racing calendar and has been going for more than 150 years. The 1 1/2 mile run had its purse bumped to €5m in 2014 to make it the world’s second-richest race and the most lucrative turf race.

#3 – The Japan Cup – $5.2m prize money

Japan_Cup_20071125R1(Image: Goki under CC BY 3.0)

The Japan Cup is one of the great end-of-year events in the global horse racing calendar – helped considerably by its ¥624m (just over $5m) purse.

#4 – Dubai Turf – $5m prize money

Previously known as the Dubai Duty Free Stakes, Dubai Turf is a Group 1 race for four-year-olds and above. Following its sponsorship with the Meydan Group, its prize money has been bumped to $5m.

#5 – The Breeders Cup Classic – $5m prize money

The unpredictable 1 1/4 mile Breeders Cup Classic is held at a different location each year in the United States and many think that it’s the US’s top race. The total prize money of $5m certainly reflects that.

#6 – The Melbourne Cup – $4.46m prize money

Known as “the race that stops a nation”, the Melbourne Cup takes place on the first Tuesday of November at the Flemington racecourse in Melbourne. Its total purse of A$6.2m makes it Australia’s richest horse racing event and one of the world’s plushest too.


The Melbourne Cup in 1881

#7 – The Breeders Cup Turf – $3m prize money

Also held at a different course as part of the Breeders Cup World Championship, the Turf is slightly longer than the Classic at 1 ½ miles, but has a slightly smaller pot of $3m. Still, nice winnings if you can get it.

#8 – The Epsom Derby – $2.13M

At last, an entrant from the UK. The Epsom Derby, officially known as the Derby Stakes, is the most prestigious of the UK’s five Classics and referred to as Britain’s “Blue Riband” because of its £1.350m prize money.

#9 – The Breeders Cup Distaff – $2m prize money

There’s no arguing against the Breeders Cup World Championship, which awards over $20m in prize money over its two days of racing. The final race on day one, the Breeders Cup Distaff, is open for fillies and mares aged 3 years or above and has a healthy kitty of $2m.

#10 -The Breeders Cup Sprint – $2m prize money

The fourth Breeders’ Cup World Championship event in our list, this sprint has been held annually since 1984 and also has a purse of $2m.

#11- The Kentucky Derby – $2m prize money

(Image: Bill Brine under CC BY 2.0)

Punters call The Kentucky Derby “the fastest two minutes in sport”, and while winners typically finish a second or two slower than two minutes, it’s an accurate description. The pot for this world-famous race currently sits at a smooth $2m.

#12 – The Grand National – $1.57m prize money

The highlight of the National Hunt racing calendar, the famous four-mile slog that is the Grand National is also the world’s richest jump race with total prize money of £1m – more than $1.5m.

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