The 5 Biggest Purses in Horse Racing Right Now

| November 1, 2019
highest horse racing purses
The huge purses in horse racing right now only prove that money doesn’t buy history

Over the last couple of years, there has been something like a horse racing arms race among the top nations to host the “Sport of Kings”, with new or repackaged races offering mind-boggling prize money. While the sport is one that reflects on its history than few others, money nevertheless talks loudly in horse racing, and several races now have prize funds like never seen before. 

The situation is constantly evolving, and it seems like a new race will be crowned as the biggest money-spinner in 2020. Below we take a look at the five biggest races in monetary terms in the world right now. For ease, we will report the estimated prize funds in $USD: 

Saudi Cup

Yes, it’s the brand-new Saudi Cup, which is expected to have a massive prize fund of $20 million.  That thrashes the previous record of the Pegasus (see below) by a margin of $4 million. The owners of the winning horse are expected to net $10, with $3.5 million for the runner up. In terms of aspiration, we are really talking about the kind of money up for grabs when you play the lottery or play the famous Mega Moolah progressive slot online. The fact that eight figure sums are being offered for a single race is mind-boggling. To put it in perspective, Winx, who holds the record for most career prize money, earned around $1 million shy of what’s up for grabs in this race. 

Pegasus World Cup Invitational 

The problem with these lists is that the prize money is constantly changing. For example, the Pegasus World Cup had a $16 million purse in 2018, but dropped back in 2019 to $9 million, albeit another race – the Pegasus World Cup Turf – added with a $7 million pot. It costs $500K to enter either of the top Pegasus races. However, if you are an owner with a couple of useful horses in your stable, you can bag a tasty $1 million bonus for winning both races. 

The Everest

Something a little closer to home, The “cash-splash” Everest was created to put a jewel in the crown of the Sydney Spring Carnival. Billed as the world’s richest turf race, it had prize money of $13 million last year. Of course, the only horse to have its name on the trophy in the first 2 years is Redzel, who scooped the cash for owners in the Triple Crown Syndication in 2017 and 2018. Coolmore got its hands on the 2019 prize money when the 3YO colt Yes Yes Yes, in which it bought a 50% share in its 2YO season, won in record time. A rather meaningless race with no black type, but a serious purse.

The Dubai World Cup

The Dubai World Cup had briefly held top spot in this list, and you would not be surprised if Dubai’s money men give a big boost to the prize money in the coming years in order to take bragging rights away from the Saudi Neighbours. $12 million was up for grabs in the 2019 race, a tidy payday for Saeed Bin Suroor, owner of winner Thunder Snow. Like Redzel, Thunder Snow also took home the big money in 2018.

The Breeders’ Cup Classic

The first race on this list with a history that stretches back beyond the mid-1990s. The $6 million total prize money for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic might seem like a big drop off from the rest on this list, but it’s still not loose change. Moreover, ask any jockey which of the five races here they’d prefer to win, and you will realise that money can’t truly buy history. Still, $3.3 million for the winner would still put a smile on your face.  

Category: International

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