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Top 3 prestigious horse races in the world

11th May 2020 Print

Picture an image of the late 19th century Wild West era. What do you see? Gun-slinging cowboys on horses?

Horse-riding is an American Tradition. Horse-Racing - as a sport using jockeys or chariots, is prevalent since ancient times, dating back thousands of years while other types like National hunt racing (where horses jump fences and ditches) was introduced in the 19th century – see the last news about the Grand National.  

Nowadays, the winning prize amount (termed as “Purse” in the equestrian world) is huge and sometimes exceeds a million Dollars at the biggest horse-racing events on a global scale. 

Below you can read about the top 3 races in the world: 

The Kentucky Derby

Louisville, Kentucky, USA

No Championship Race is perhaps more famous than the Kentucky Derby. It is also known as the Run for the Roses- due to the tradition of draping the winners with a blanket of roses. It marks the start of the famous Triple Crown in American Championships- the other two being Preakness and Belmont. 

The prize amount of $3 million may be less compared to the other entries in this article. However, that does not diminish its glorious past or the enormous gambling amounts placed during the championships (an estimated $133 million was bet in 2015). 

The first edition took place in 1875 at the Churchill Downs, Kentucky.  The scheduled race takes place on the first Saturday of May each year. The length of the Dirt-surface track is 2000 m (around 1.25 miles). The Grade 1 stakes race is only for 3-year old Thoroughbreds. The approximate duration of the race is 2 minutes- which is why it is also known as “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports.”

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

Paris, France

One of the most famous horse races in Europe, the turf race, is hailed as the second most prestigious horse race (the first one is the Epsom Derby). It is also the second richest turf race in the world (preceded by The Everest in Australia). With a total Prize Purse of $5.4 million (€ 5 million), entry to this Grade 1 race is based on Weight-for-age and horses above three years old. The first race took place in 1920 at the Longchamp Racecourse. The 2400 meter (1.5 miles) is one of the finest showcases of French Thoroughbreds. Geldings are not allowed to participate. The winner takes home a whopping $3.1 million (€2,857,000)- which makes “The Arc” the richest horse race in Europe. The races are held on the first Sunday of October.

Dubai World Cup

Dubai, UAE

Inaugurated in 1996, the Dubai World Cup was the richest horse race in the world till 2016, when it was surpassed by the Pegasus World Cup. It is still the second richest race with a purse prize of $12 million (the Saudi Cup is currently at the top). Held at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, the Championship holds nine contents- 8 for thoroughbreds and one for Purebred Arabian horses. 

The Group 1 race has a track length of 2000 meters (10 furlongs). The races are usually held on the last Saturday of March. Horses are qualified on the basis of the Northern Hemisphere (4 years and above) and the Southern hemisphere (3 years and above). It is the final race of the Dubai World Cup Night (which consists of the other eight races- with purses totaling $27.25 million).

Which one of these horse races do you plan to go to?