What are the World’s Richest Races After Pegasus Purse Shrinks?

Worlds Richest Races

With the Stronach Group announcing a reduction in the purse of the Pegasus World Cup we look a the world’s richest races. (Photo credit: Breeders’ Cup Ltd.).

With the Stronach Group’s decision to cut the Pegasus World Cup purse to just $3 million in 2020 has sent shockwaves through the sport. His announcement came just 41 days before the race goes off on Saturday, January 25, and leading trainers instantly threatened to take their top horses elsewhere. The event carried a world-record $16 million prize purse in 2018, and then it dropped to $9 million in 2019, but the sharp decline for 2020 leaves it outside the world’s five richest races:

5. Japan Cup

The Japan Cup attracts some of the world’s finest three-year-olds to Tokyo in order to battle it out for the lion’s share of a $5.8 million prize pot. That leaves it narrowly ahead of big races like the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the Melbourne Cup in the rich list. It was inaugurated in 1981 and it has gone on to establish itself as one of the world’s most prestigious races, with winners coming from America, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France, Germany and Italy. The highly-rated Almond Eye triumphed in 2018 and Suave Richard took first place in 2019.

4. Breeders’ Cup Classic

Casual bettors will be more familiar with the Kentucky Derby, but the Classic is easily the biggest race of the year in the U.S. It is a Grade 1 weight for age thoroughbred contest that takes place each year at a different American racecourse. Prize money for 2019 shot up to $6 million and Vino Rosso seized the bulk of it by finishing four-and-a-half lengths clear of McKinzie. Legends like Gun Runner, Accelerate and American Pharaoh have won this race in recent years. Bettors love this race, the horse racing forum is always abuzz with excitement during the build-up and bookmakers do a roaring trade.

3. The Everest

Victoria has always dominated the Australian horse racing scene by hosting the richest and most prestigious races each year. Racing New South Wales set out to change all that in 2017 by stumping up an AU$10 million prize pool for a new race called The Everest. It made it the richest race in Australia and the richest turf race in the world, ensuring it attracted a number of exciting challengers from across the globe. Sydney is now well and truly on the global racing map and Racing NSW is keen to keep it there. Prize money increased to AU$13 million in 2018 and then AU$14 million (US$9.6 million) in 2019. Redzel won it in 2017 and 2018, becoming one of the highest earning horses of all time, but Yes Yes Yes seized glory in 2019.

2. Dubai World Cup

UAE Prime Minister and Godolphin owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum created Dubai World Cup night in 1996. It is the richest single card in the global horse racing calendar, with $35 million dished out over the course of the evening. Highlights include the Group 1 $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic and the $2.5 million UAE Derby, but the Dubai World Cup is the main event. It is the final race on the card and it attracts many of the world’s most impressive runners to battle it out over 2000m (around 10 furlongs). Prize money increased from $10 million in 2018 to $12 million in 2019, making it the world’s richest race. There was joy for Godolphin as star runner Thunder Snow won it for the second year in a row.



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Military Law ?? (R) with #jockey Antonio Fresu gallops into the first turn before landing Race 5 over 2000m (10 furlongs) at Meydan racecourse in #Dubai. Second Saltarin Dubai ?? (3rd L) with Richard Mullen runs next to this year’s #DubaiWorldCup runner-up Gronkowski ?? (2nd L) under Royston Ffrench, who finished third. ?? ??? Enjoy more images from the meet on www.martinsimages.com/p641112877! ??? #horseracing #horse #horses #thoroughbred #racehorse #racehorses #horsephotography #sports #sportsphotography #photography #nikon #nikonphotography #NikonMEA #martinsimages #mydubai #uae #monochrome #blackandwhite #blackandwhitephotography #action @meydanracing @meydan_racing @nikonmea @tfresu @mullenrp1

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1. Saudi Cup

The Saudi regime is investing a fortune in establishing the country as a major player in the global sporting sector, as evidenced by it hosting the recent world heavyweight title bout between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jnr. It has also moved into the arms race to offer the world’s richest race, and it has put up an astonishing $20 million prize purse for the inaugural Saudi Cup. That has made the world’s top owners and trainers sit up and take notice. Maximum Security owner Gary West said: “There’s now a better than 50/50 chance we’ll go to the Saudi race. You don’t get a horse like Maximum Security that often, and when you have a chance to be one of the favorites in the richest race in the world, you have to consider it. Cutting the purse to $3 million [for the Pegasus] is an absolute game-changer. I wasn’t thinking about the Saudi Cup, but why should I run for $3 million when I can run for $20 million four weeks later?”

NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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