Dubai has a long history of horse racing successes, and the Dubai World Cup is the biggest race in the calendar.
Champion horses from the US, Europe, Asia and South America have competed each year since 1996. Past winners include famous horses Cigar and Silver Charm.
This year sees the race’s 25th running. It takes place at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, UAE, on Saturday, March 28, 2020. The World Cup is the highlight of a one-day race card that sees many other big prize events.
The Dubai World Cup is no longer the world’s richest, though the $12 million purse is big enough to attract the best horses from around the world.
The preliminary entry list includes winners of the biggest races in the US, Europe and South America.
If you live in a state where pari-mutuel betting is legal, you can bet on the 2020 Dubai World Cup online.
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Potential runners and odds on the Dubai World Cup
At the time of writing, the final list of entrants to the 2020 Dubai World Cup is still long.
In the weeks before the event, the final runners and riders list will be determined. Godolphin Racing, owned by Sheikh Mohammed, has 20 entrants at this early stage.
Here is the current list of possible runners in the 2020 race:
- Maximum Security
- Midnight Bisou
- Game Winner
- North America
- Sir Winston
- Divine Image
- Math Wizard
- Pakistan Star
- K T Brave
- Seeking the Soul
- Plus Que Parfait
- Elusive State
- Dee Ex Bee
- Old Persian
- Military Law
- Gray Magician
- Walking Thunder
- Dubai Icon
- Django Freeman
- Behavioral Bias
- Red Cactus
- New Trails
Other races at the Dubai World Cup Night
The Dubai World Cup Night is a series of eight thoroughbred horse races. There is also a race for purebred Arabian horses.
Here is the full list:
- Dubai Kahayla Classic: This race is for purebred Arabian horses; it has a prize pool of $1,000,000
- Al Quoz Sprint: This six-furlong sprint became a Group 1 race in 2009. It is run on turf.
- Godolphin Mile: This Group 2 contest is run over eight furlongs on dirt. It has a $1,000,000 prize pool.
- Dubai Gold Cup: This is a longer race, over 2 miles. The Gold Cup runs on turf and received a Group 2 promotion in 2014.
- UAE Derby: The $2,500,000 prize pool attracts the best 3-year-olds from around the world to this race. It takes place on dirt over 9.5 furlongs.
- Dubai Golden Shaheen: A six-furlong race is 3-year-olds has a prize pool of $2,000,000. It is a Group 1 race on dirt.
- Dubai Turf: A nine-furlong event on the grass track, this race has a $5,000,000 purse and has been part of the four-leg Asia Mile Challenge.
- Dubai Sheema Classic: Thoroughbreds older than 4 can compete in this over 1.5 miles. The $6 million prize pool makes it the second richest purse for a turf event.
- Dubai World Cup: The final race each year is the World Cup. With a $12 million prize pool, this event is over 10 furlongs and open to thoroughbreds 4 years and older.
Gambling is not allowed in the United Arab Emirates; however, this does not stop the Dubai World Cup from being hugely popular.
The 60,000-capacity stadium fills up. Fireworks and entertainment go along with the horse racing action.
More racing events
How to bet on the Dubai World Cup?
Unlike sports betting, when you bet on horse races, you’ll be entering pari-mutuel pools.
This means all the money wagered either win, place, show and so on gets pooled. Then, the pool is divided among the winning tickets. Thus, the more people backing a horse, the lower the payout.
In addition to bets on single horses, you can bet on multiple finishers completing the race in the right order.
Here are the regular bets available:
- Win: Bet on a horse to win first place.
- Place: Wager on a horse to finish first or second.
- Show: Bet on a horse to place first, second or third.
- Exacta: A bet on two horses to finish first and second, in that order.
- Trifecta: A wager on three horses to finish first, second and third, in that order.
- Superfecta: A bet on four horses to finish first, second, third and fourth, in that order.
Dubai Cup payouts based on type of bet
|March 31st Race|
Past winners of the Dubai World Cup
The first event was run by a horse that has gone on to become a household name.
Cigar, trained by Bill Mott, took down the 1996 race at age 6. Many of the other winners have been big names among horse racing fans.
Here is the Dubai World Cup winners list:
- 1996: Cigar is the winner of 16 consecutive races and leading money winner in US thoroughbred racing history.
- 1997: Singspiel, trained by Michael Stoute. Sheikh Mohammed owned this Irish thoroughbred. He previously won the Japan Cup and Canadian International Stakes.
- 1998: Silver Charm, trained by Bob Baffert. A US-bred gray, who was already a winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, two parts of the Triple Crown.
- 1999: Almutawakel, trained by Saeed bin Suroor. The Dubai World Cup is the only major race victory by this horse. He has victories in smaller prize Grade 1 races in France.
- 2000: Dubai Millennium, trained by bin Suroor. This aptly named horse won in a record time of 1:59.50. He won races in the UK and France and was ridden to victory in Dubai by Lanfranco “Frankie” Dettori.
- 2001: Captain Steve, trained by Baffert. This horse won many big US races, including the Kentucky Cup Classic Handicap and Swaps Stakes. He also came third in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
- 2002: Street Cry, trained by bin Suroor. The Dubai World Cup was this horse’s first Group 1 victory. He would go on to win the Stephen Foster Handicap in the same year.
- 2003: Moon Ballad, trained by bin Suroor. This was Dettori’s second victory. This horse competed in “Listed Races” in the UK, US, Dubai and Ireland.
- 2004: Pleasantly Perfect, trained by Richard Mandella. Winner of the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic, this US-trained horse retired as the fourth richest in racing history.
- 2005: Roses in May, trained by Dale Romans. As a 4-year-old, this horse won the Whitney Handicap, Kentucky Cup Classic Stakes and finished runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
- 2006: Electrocutionist, trained by bin Suroor: Another winner for Dettori and Sheikh Mohammad. This horse went on to race in the UK at Royal Ascot.
- 2007: Invasor, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. The first South American winner of the Dubai World Cup. This horse went on to success in the US, entering the Hall of Fame at Saratoga Springs.
- 2008: Curlin, trained by Steve Asmussen. Winner of the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Curlin was the Eclipse Horse of the Year in that same year.
- 2009: Well Armed, trained by Eoin Harty. This horse started his career in England before going on to victory in Dubai. He competed in the US, though without any more major successes.
- 2010: Gloria de Campeao, trained by Pascal Bary. This event was the biggest win for this Brazilian horse, which raced on four continents during its five-year career.
- 2011: Victoire Pisa, trained by Katsuhiko Sumi. This Japanese racehorse ran an unsuccessful campaign in Europe before winning in Dubai. At home, he won several major races.
- 2012: Monterosso, trained by Mahmood al Zarooni. Another Godolphin Racing winner, this horse competed in Group 1 races in England, as well as internationally.
- 2013: Animal Kingdom, trained by Graham Motion. After competing in the highest level in the US (with the best finish of second in the Preakness Stakes), this horse went one better in Dubai.
- 2014: African Story, trained by bin Suroor. Winner of several races in Dubai, including the Godolphin Mile and Burj Nahaar.
- 2015: Prince Bishop, trained by bin Suroor. The oldest winner, at 8 years old, this Irish horse also won competitive races in France.
- 2016: California Chrome, trained by Art Sherman. The current leader of all-time money won in the US; this horse won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2014.
- 2017: Arrogate, trained by Baffert. Some 16 years after his last victory, trainer Baffert won with Arrogate. This horse is a previous winner of the Travers Stakes and Breeders Cup Classic.
- 2018: Thunder Snow, trained by Christophe Soumillon. This horse won the UAE 2000 Guineas and UAE Derby before going on to take the biggest Dubai race of all.
- 2019: Thunder Snow, trained by Soumillon. History was made in 2019 when Irish-bred Thunder Snow became the first horse to win the Dubai World Cup twice.
Full list of winners and finishing times
|2019||Thunder Snow||Christophe Soumillon||2:03.58|
|2018||Thunder Snow||Christophe Soumillon||2:01.38|
|2017||Arrogate||Mike E. Smith||2:02.53|
|2016||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||2:01.83|
|2015||Prince Bishop||William Buick||2:03.24|
|2014||African Story||Silvestre de Sousa||2:01.61|
|2013||Animal Kingdom||Joel Rosario||2:03.21|
|2011||Victoire Pisa||Mirco Demuro||2:05.94|
|2010||Glória de Campeão||T. J. Pereira||2:03.83|
|2009||Well Armed||Aaron Gryder||2:01.01|
|2005||Roses in May||John Velazquez||2:02.17|
|2004||Pleasantly Perfect||Alex Solis||2:00.24|
|2003||Moon Ballad||Frankie Dettori||2:00.48|
|2002||Street Cry||Jerry Bailey||2:01.18|
|2001||Captain Steve||Jerry Bailey||2:00.47|
|2000||Dubai Millennium||Frankie Dettori||1:59.50|
|1998||Silver Charm||Gary Stevens||2:04.29|
History of the Dubai World Cup
Sheikh Mohammed is a well-known figure in horse racing. His stable of thoroughbred horses under the Godolphin Racing brand has won titles around the world. These include the Epsom Derby, Kentucky Oaks and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
As Vice President and Prime Minister of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed set up the Dubai World Cup Night in 1996. This event features nine races, with eight for thoroughbreds. It takes place at the Meydan Racecourse on the last Saturday in March each year.
In 2020, the Dubai World Cup Night takes place on March 28, 2020.
The highlight is the World Cup, which has a $12 million purse and is run over 10 furlongs on a dirt track.
It is a Grade 1 event that attracts the strongest flat racing horses from around the world. It is open to thoroughbreds who are 4 years and older.
For many years, the Dubai World Cup was the richest single race globally. The Pegasus World Cup overtook this status in Florida in 2017 and 2018. But when Pegasus reduced its purse in 2019, Dubai, once again, became the world’s wealthiest race.
With the introduction of the new Saudi Cup, it looks like Dubai will lose that title.