Top 10 Biggest Horse Races of the Year

Horse Racing Biggest Horse Races

Horse racing is one of the most famous pastimes in the world and has enjoyed a renaissance over the past ten years. Millions around the globe enjoy the charm that comes with horse racing. This is down to the ability for punters to dress up to attend the respective events and also watch horses race at the pinnacle of their career. However, there are certain races which are more prestigious than others, and these race days bring out A-list stars that are dying to get involved in the action.

The Preakness Stakes

The second leg of the Triple Crown in the USA comes just two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and the winners are immortalised when they are given a necklace of yellow flowers. The race is run over 1.2 miles and usually lasts for around two minutes. The record time in the race was set in 1973 when Secretariat finished the Preakness Stakes in 1:53. No horse older than three is able to enter the race, and it is the second-most attended event of the year after the Kentucky Derby.

Belmont Stakes

The final leg of the Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes. The race is the oldest in the USA, with the first running of the race coming in 1867. This leg of the Triple Crown is a little more gruelling than its predecessors as it consists of 1.5 miles. As it is the final leg of the prestigious Triple Crown, it is often referred to as the ‘Test of the Champions’. The fact that the Belmont Stakes is run in New York only adds to the prestige of the race, and the love that the racegoers have for this event was showcased in 2004 when 21.9 million tuned in to watch.

Kentucky Derby

Primarily considered as the best two minutes in sport, the Kentucky Derby is one of the most popular sporting events in the world. The race is held on the first Saturday of May and is considered the most prestigious of all the Triple Crown events. It is estimated that over 150,000 people travel to Churchill Downs for the event. The prize pot for the winner is $2 million, and it is the leader in terms of significant standalone betting events.

The Breeder’s Cup

The Breeder’s Cup World Championships is where legends are truly made on the track. The Grade 1 races’ spread over two grand days of action and has been completed since 1984. One of the best things about the event is that there isn’t one home for the event and it continually changes to a different racecourse every year. In total there is over $28 million to be won over the 13 races.

Melbourne Cup

Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne plays host to the richest race in the Southern Hemisphere, and the honour has been competed since 1985. The race winner receives an enormous cheque for $5.6 million, which makes it one of the richest in the world. Much like Royal Ascot, visitors are expected to come well dressed, and it is compulsory to wear hats in certain sections of the venue. The global event is attended by an average of 110,000 racegoers every year. This years event will take place on the first Tuesday of November.

Pegasus World Cup

This is the most recent global event to have been introduced to the racing calendar and while it may not be prestigious in terms of history; it certainly makes up with the prize pot for the winner. The 2018 event saw a massive $16 million up for grabs. The event takes place in Florida at the end of January and is open to horses that are at least four years old. In essence, the race is a short sprint over one mile.

Japan Cup

Many people don’t expect horse racing to be that popular Japan, but the Japan Cup highlights that absurd statement to be wide of the mark. The Grade 1 event is competed every year on the last Sunday of November and horses could win up to $5.8 million. The race is regarded as the biggest gambling day of the year in Japan, and it is the most prestigious race in Asia.

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

The Arc is always discussed as one of the grandest racing events of the year, and when it comes to exposure, no other race comes close. The historic race was first run in 1920, and the yearly event is held at Longchamp in Paris. The prize pot for the race is an enormous $5.4 million, and that ensures that it’s the richest race on the flat in the world. The Arc is held every year on the first weekend of October, and this year’s event will be an unmissable occasion as the legendary Enable could make history by winning a third consecutive Arc in her final ever race.

Grand National

When it comes to National Hunt racing, nothing manages to come close to the Grand National. The gruelling event is held every year at Aintree in Liverpool and consists of 30 fences over four miles. There is typically 40 runners in the race, and it is rightly considered as a vital part of British culture. The race was first run in 1839 and is regarded as one of the biggest betting days of the years for everybody that lives in the UK. The 2020 event could be a history-making occasion as Tiger Roll looks to win an unprecedented third Grand National in a row.

Also read the Top 10 British Racecourses

Epsom Derby

The term Derby has been borrowed across the world by races such as the Kentucky Derby, but the one held in England is the original, and some would argue; the best. The Group 1 flat race consists of one mile and four furlongs and is run on the first Saturday of June. The Epsom Derby is the richest race in the UK and is part of the Five Classics in the UK. It is also part of the Triple Crown, which also consists of the St Leger and the 2000 Guineas.


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