Saudi Arabia to host world's richest race

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August 8, 2019 - 10:12 AM

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Saudi Arabia will host the world's richest horse race in Riyadh at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack, with a purse of $20 million up for grabs.

The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia confirmed on Thursday at Saratoga in New York the Saudi Cup will be run over nine furlongs (1800m) on dirt on February 29 next year.

The race will have a maximum of 14 runners with the winner to earn $10 million and horses placed down to 10th to share the other $10 million.

The prize money will eclipse the $16 million purse at the Pegasus World Cup Invitational in Florida last year.

The $14 million Everest in Sydney in October is the world's richest race on turf.

"The introduction of the Saudi Cup as an international race is without doubt the most significant event in the history of horse racing in Saudi Arabia," Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal said in a statement.

"We look forward to welcoming international horsemen and women, the media, racing enthusiasts and the public to Riyadh in 2020."

Champion jockey Frankie Dettori says the track is fair to all horses.

"Of all the dirt tracks I've ridden, it's the one I like best, as you can win from the front, and you can win from behind. It's a fair track," Dettori said.

"The other thing I like is that the kickback is so much less than on other dirt tracks. I don't know why, but the sand seems finer and doesn't stick."

The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia will cover the costs of runners and their connections.