14 runners will compete for a total purse of $20 million
The world’s richest horse race will take place at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh next February, Saudi officials have announced.
According to an announcement from the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Cup on February 29 will have a purse of $20 million.
The race will have up to 14 runners, with the winner set to receive $10 million. The figures surpass the $16 million purse of last year’s Pegasus World Cup in Florida.
The race will be run over 9 furlongs, equivalent to approximately 1800 metres.
“The introduction of the Saudi Cup as an international race is without a 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.”
The race, which has been planned for over a year and a half, commemorates the founding of the modern Saudi state by King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud in 1932.
The race was announced at an event at Saratoga Springs in New York, which was also attended by jockey prolific Frankie Dettori.
“I’ve been going to King Abdulaziz Racetrace ever since it opened,” Dettori was quoted as saying by horse racing website BloodHorse.
“It’s based on Belmont, in that it’s a one-turn mile and a quarter. Of all the dirt tracks I’ve ridden, it’s the one I like the best, as you can win from the front, and you can win from behind. It’s a fair track,” he added.