It wasn’t that long ago that a $1 million purse for a horse race was a big deal, but now that a seven-figure pot is fairly commonplace and pales in comparison to the new $20 million Saudi Cup that is set to be held for the first time this coming February at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh.
While that race is certainly a big deal, it will have some catching up to do as far as the prestige and tradition of some other big money races. It will also need to capture the attention of those interested in Melbourne Cup betting or wagering on other important international races.
The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most famous and most popular race, and it offers a rich purse of $8 million Australian. That amount is nearly double what was offered just a decade ago, and the race continues to grow in popularity. Some 100,000 people attend the big race each year at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, and millions more watch and wager on TV.
The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville also attracts well over 100,000 people and captures the attention of the world on the first Saturday in the month of May. With a purse of “only” $3 million, it’s far from the world’s richest horse race but an argument could be made that it’s the most famous and prestigious. And the purse is a huge jump from the first Kentucky Derby back in 1875, when the winner received less than $3,000.
The Breeders’ Cup Classic was a big deal with its $3 million purse back in 1984, and now its purse has grown to $6 million. Once again, this American race may not quite have the purse to match the Saudi Cup or the Dubai World Cup, but because of the history and talent level of the horses who compete in the race each year it remains one of the world’s most important races.
The aforementioned Dubai World Cup made a big splash in the horse racing world when it debuted in 1996 and was one by the great Cigar. It now offers a $12 million purse with the winner at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates getting $6 million. The race saw some history recently as Thunder Snow won the last two runnings to become the first horse every to win the race twice.
As track’s compete to offer the world’s richest horse race, that’s good news for horse owners and trainers everywhere as purses can only go up from here!