Top-10 Major Horse Racing Events Worldwide 2020

Top Major Horse Racing Events
Credit: TheIrishField | Twitter

What are the major horse racing events in 2020?

The equestrian performance sport is reported to have a global market value running into billions of dollars. This comes as no surprise as horse racing events provides the perfect stage for stakeholders in the sport to reap the financial benefits of the sport. Coupling with the accompanying gambling, Horse racing events are often treated with much fun fare that those oblivious of the success of the sport will shriek in awe.

While there exist thousands of these major horse racing events which goes down annually all over the world, just a few of them can be said to be prestigious.

Here are the Major Horse Racing Events in the World 2020

10. The Cheltenham Festival, UK

Prize Money: £6 million (1st place)

  • Date: Tuesday, 16 March 2021–Friday, 19 March 2021

Every year in March, it is a ritual for horse racing enthusiasts to gather at Cheltenham Racecourse, in Gloucestershire, England, to watch the very best in the horse racing go head to head in the prestigious National Hunt Racing tournament. Over the course of four days, millions are gambled, as avid horse racing fans hold their breath to see who finishes as Victor. The Victor walks with prize money of £6 million.

9. The Melbourne Cup, Australia

Prize Money: A$4.4 Million (1st place)

  • Date: Tuesday, 3 November 2020

As far back as 1861, Australians have annually turned out in their numbers to watch the very best in equestrian sports bring their exceptional talents to the Melbourne Flemington Racecourse. Over the course of two miles, the handicap race, sees various horses stride elegantly while holding as much weight as the rules require. At 3:00 PM, on the first Tuesday in November every year, the ‘race that never stops’ begins with each racer’s eyes set on the A$4.4 million prize money. The entire prize pool for the tournament is A$8 million. The Melbourne Cup is notably among the major horse racing events globally.

8. Dubai World Cup, UAE

Prize Money: US$7.2 Million (1st place)

  • Date: Saturday, 27 March 2021

Across the Asian continent, the Dubai World Cup remains one of the most prominent and most prestigious equestrian sports event. And just like the Melbourne Cup, which holds on a set day of every year, the Dubai World Cup follows suit. Held every last Saturday of March, the race which is held at the Meydan Racecourse requires horses to race 2km to the finish line. The event which was first held in 1996 ranks as one of the richest horse racing events in the world with a prize pool of US$12 million. The winner receives US$7.2 million. 

7. The Meydan Racecourse, UAE

Prize Money: €2,857,000 (1st place)

  • Date: Saturday, 3 October 2020–Sunday, 4 October 2020

One of UAE’s oldest horse racing events, the Meydan Racecourse is a classic event open for only thoroughbred horses who are not less than three years old. Over the course of 2.4KM, the fastest of the thoroughbreds emerges. The event takes place on the first Sunday of October annually. The tournament prize pool is €5 million, with the winner parting away with  €2,857,000.

6. The Breeders’ Cup, US

  • Date: Fri, 6 Nov 2020 – Sat, 7 Nov 2020

Reserved exclusively for Grade I thoroughbred horses, over the course of two days in various horse races. Since 1984 the event has attracted thousands, which continues to increase and finding its place among the major horse racing events in the United States. The rapid rise of the race led the event to be extended to a two-day tourney in 2006. As the race’s fan base increases, the purse money has seen a corresponding increase. In 2018, a total of $30 million was given out in prize money. As of 2020, an extra increase in the purse was announced bringing the total purse to $35 million.

5. The Belmont Stakes, US

Prize Money: $800,000 (1st place)

  • Date: Saturday, 6 June 2020

For horse racing fans in the US, every first or second Saturday of June remains a day to be looked forward to with great anticipation. Since 1873, the Belmont Stake held at the famous Belmont Track nicknamed the Championship Track, has seen thoroughbreds running with as much weight as 56kg for as much as 2.4km. While the race attracted thousands, millions tune in to the event live. The race has a prize money purse of $1.5 million. Despite the Coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying concerns, the race is set to go down on the first Saturday of June.

4. The Grand National, England

Prize Money: £561,300 (1st place)

  • Date: April 2021

An event which holds a place in the hearts of virtually every British citizen, The Grand National, often held at the Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool every year, is one of the most popular and major horse racing events in the world. In Britain, it’s not uncommon for individuals who have no interest in horseracing to make an exception for the Grand National. The event which was first held in 1839 has a prize money purse of £1 million with the winner rewarded with £561,300. As much as 600 million people watch the event globally.

3. The Preakness Stakes, US

  • Date: Saturday, 3 October 2020

Two weeks before the Prestigious Kentucky Derby, horse racing fans eager to get a taste of the top of the iceberg in horse racing flock to the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on every third Saturday of May, annually. Over the course of 1.9km, thoroughbreds race elegantly with 57kg of weight to the finish line with much fun, excitement and a bit of agitation and frustration from the spectators. Since 1873, the event has often be held, with exception to 2020, as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, the race was cancelled. The race has a prize money purse of US$1,500,000.

2. Royal Ascot, England

  • Date: Thursday, 18 June 2020

In England, Horse racing is greatly prized, with several races vying for the top racing spot. But few can contend with the Royal Ascot, which is one of the major horse racing events in the world. In fact, the racing event is the most prestigious in England. The event attracts the very best in the world of racing. Held every June of each year, the even has a prize pool which runs into millions of pounds. The event attracts rich individuals who have an unquenching love for the sport.

1. The Kentucky Derby, US

Horse Racing Event - Kentucky Derby
Credit: Louisville | Courier Journal

Prize Money: $1,860,000 (1st place)

  • Date: Saturday, 5 September 2020

The Kentucky Derby is unarguably the most prestigious and one of the major horse racing events in the world. Every first Saturday of May since 1875, with exception to 2020, Churchill Downs plays host to horse racing fans across the globe, from the average citizen who takes passion for the sports to the A-list celebrities. The event marks the beginning of the Triple Crown.

The Kentucky Derby serves as an avenue for freshly trained thoroughbreds to showcase the heights if their training. The event solidly holds its place in history as one of the most loved sports events which have been held continuously for years. No world war, economic depression or pandemic has stopped the event in its 144 histories, thus adding to the credentials that make the sports the undisputed top horse racing event. The total prize money pool is US$3 million with the winner going away with $1,860,000.


Horseracing, ‘the sport of kings’, is one of the principal practices which has held on to the fast-moving train of change.

What are your thoughts about this article on the top-10 major horse racing events in the world? Which top events do you think should’ve made this list? Please feel free to share with us in the comments section below.

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