Which Horse Racing Events Across the World Have the Most Money Bet on Them?

The Breeders' Cup is one of the most popular wagering events in racing in the world. (Photo credit: Breeders' Cup Ltd.).

The Breeders’ Cup is one of the most popular wagering events in racing in the world. (Photo credit: Breeders’ Cup Ltd.).

Horse racing is one of the most popular sports in the world for punters to bet on but with so many events and meetings taking place every year which ones see the most money bet on them by the punters?

Cheltenham Festival

This horse racing festival is considered to be the granddaddy of them all and has continued to grow ever since its inception back in 1860. An estimated £580 million is wagered over the course of this four day event. The race prize money comes second only to the Grand National for a multi-day event and it consists of the finest British and Irish-trained race horses coming together in the same place at the same time which is a rare thing to happen throughout the National Hunt racing calendar.

The festival includes some of the most prestigious races in racing with the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, World Hurdle, and Cheltenham Gold Cup all drawing the best trainers and horses from around the UK and Ireland. Legendary horses such as Arkle, Best Mate, and Kauto Star have carved their name in horse racing history at this festival. It remains to this day one of the most high-profile horse racing events in the global calendar.


Kentucky Derby Festival

Undoubtedly one of the most famous horse racing events across the world, the Kentucky Derby Festival is a two week long horse racing event located in Louisville, Kentucky, USA that culminates in the iconic Kentucky Derby. Such is the intensity and hype surrounding the race that it is referred in the US as “the most exciting two minutes in sport”. The event was inaugurated in 1875 and has gone on to become one of the most lucrative meets in horse racing.

The Kentucky Derby is run under the Twin Spires on the first Saturday of May (Photo credit: Churchill Downs)

The Kentucky Derby is run under the Twin Spires on the first Saturday of May (Photo credit: Churchill Downs)

The Kentucky Derby on its own has over £94 million wagered on it by punters in the US alone. That is without even factoring in to the equation bets from some of the biggest horse racing betting nations in the world such as Japan, UK, and China. The Kentucky Derby has been the launch pad for a number of top jockeys such as Victor Espinoza, Calvin Borel, and Bill Hartack.


Arc de Triomphe

The next event on this list is the solitary French entry and is the event that boasts the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was first run back in 1920 and is considered to be the most illustrious horse race in Europe. It is the second most lucrative horse race in the world behind the Dubai World Cup and takes place at Longchamp Racecourse in Paris, France. Over £3.8 million was bet on the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe through the Paris-Mutuel (French Totepool) alone and the total prize pool now stands at

Commonly referred to as the “Arc”, its roll of honour list includes some of the greatest horses and trainers to have ever graced the sport. Such is the grandiose feeling surrounding the event that it has a slogan linked to it that says “Ce n’est pas une course, c’est un monument” which translates as “it’s not a race, it’s a monument”. Several horses have won the race on more than one occasion including Treve, Alleged, Ribot, and Tantieme. A number of jockeys have won the race four times with the most high-profile of those jockeys being the exuberant Frankie Dettori. The trainer Andre Fabre won the race an incredible seven times.


Breeders’ Cup World Championship

This horse racing meet that takes place at a different racetrack in the US every year has the feature race of the Breeders’ Cup Classic and that race is referred to in the US as the “Super Bowl of horse racing”. It is one of the most popular horse racing events with punters across the world. The reason for this comparison with the Super Bowl is that betting on the Super Bowl amounts to over £84 million. Betting on the Breeders’ Cup Classic itself reached over £95 million. Both live (i.e. in a bookmaker) and online gambling are hugely lucrative markets the world over, not just in horse racing. An increasingly large proportion of punters though, are making the move to online sports betting – OnlineGambling.co.nz is just one of many gambling ‘portals’ where punters can compare sites. With promotions like free bets and deposit bonuses up for grabs, the Internet betting world appears to be booming.

The prize purse of the Breeders’ Cup Classic is only surpassed by the Dubai World Cup, Japan Cup, Melbourne Cup, and Prix de l’Arc Triomphe. The winner is also so highly regarded that they often go on to be awarded the US Horse of the Year. Tiznow is the only horse to have won the race more than once. Jockeys Chris McCarron and Jerry Bailey share a record five wins each.


Melbourne Cup Festival

The only Australian meet to make this list is one of the most well-known events in the horse racing calendar. Its feature race is the Melbourne Cup and that race alone draws in bets worth an estimated £409 million. The race was first established back in 1861 and is hosted by the Victoria Racing Club at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia.

Makybe Diva is the most decorated horse in the race’s history with three wins to its name that came in 2003, 2004, and 2005. Jockeys Bobby Lewis and Harry White have won the race four times each. Bart Cummings is the most celebrated trainer in the race’s history with 12 wins to his name. The race has a history of seeing outsiders win. Four horses have won the race having been ranked at odds of 100/1 before the race started. The Pearl (1871), Wotan (1936), Old Rowley (1940), and Prince of Penzance (2015) can boast that record. Only 34 favourites from a possible 150 have gone on to win the race. This is one of the main reasons why it is one of the most wagered horse racing events in the world.

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