The Biggest Horse Races In The World

How Horse Racing Is Adapting To Digitisation

Horse racing is a sport that has been around for what seems like forever. It certainly outdates many of the more modern sports that we know and love today, and, therefore, there are some races that have become huge over the years, with many of them watched by millions when they run.

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby, which runs on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs, is arguably the biggest race on the planet. Called the “fastest two minutes in sports,” the purse for those taking part in the action on the track is $3 million, with the race eagerly anticipated year on year. It’s fair to say that betting on horse racing has always been popular, and with the Kentucky Derby dating back to 1875, this could well have been one of the events that proved the point. What’s also important to note about this race, which is run over 1 and ¼ miles, is that it’s the first leg in the iconic Triple Crown.

Breeders’ Cup Classic


The first Saturday in November presents the Breeders’ Cup to racing fans. Formerly the richest race in the world, the Breeders’ Cup Classic’s prize pot is a stunning $6 million, with the action unfolding on different tracks from year to year. As far as prestigious races go, this is right up there, and it’s open to any thoroughbreds aged three and over. Akin to what we see in tennis, there is a Grand Slam in horse racing, and the Breeders’ Cup Classic is the final leg. American Pharoah completed the Grand Slam in 2015, and it remains the only horse to do so. Again, like the Kentucky Derby, the race is run over 1 and ¼ miles on a dirt track.

Ascot Gold Cup

The Ascot Gold Cup, which takes place at the prestigious Ascot Racecourse in June each year, is an event designed for stayers, who are effectively horses that have long distances down to the tee. The race, which has been running since 1807, has a prize pool of £375,625 and is a Group 1 for four-year-olds that is run over a distance of 2m4f, which works out at around 4,014 metres. The Ascot Gold Cup takes place during Royal Ascot, which is a horse racing meeting that spans four days, with this race, in particular, happening on day three, which is the renowned Ladies’ Day. You could say it’s where high fashion and high racing stakes combine. And, as Ascot is close to Windsor, a Royal residence, it’s also a race meeting the Royal Family have close connections to. 

Dubai World Cup

The Dubai World Cup is a Group 1 race that features in the Dubai World Cup Night of races. With a staggering prize pot of $12 million available, it’s another race across a dirt track for thoroughbreds aged four and over to take part in if they’re from the northern hemisphere and three and up if they’re from the southern hemisphere. The race distance is ten furlongs, which equates to 2,000 metres. Unlike many other of the big races in the sport, the Dubai World Cup is relatively new on the scene, with the inaugural race happening in 1996. But, because of the prestigious event and the considerable prize money, it’s quickly become one of the go-to events for some of the world’s top connections. The 2022 Dubai World Cup Night saw a combined prize pot across the eight thoroughbred races reach a total of $30.5 million, which is quite something.

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