The Saudi Cup will be run for the first time in 2020 with a purse of $20 million. That will snatch the title of the world’s richest thoroughbred horse race from the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1).
The 1800-meter race (about 1 1/8th mile) will be run around one turn on the dirt oval at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in the Saudi capital of Riyadh and is likely to attract many of the top dirt horses in the world.
A sparkling undercard, with seven races worth an aggregate $9.2 million, will add to the appeal.
2020 Saudi Cup Date, place, time, sportsbooks: The 2020 Saudi Cup will be run on Feb. 29 at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, the Saudi capital. Try US-licensed Amwager horse racing betting site for the early odds and predictions.
Three of those races will be run on a new turf course:
- a 3,000-meter (about 1 7/8-mile) turf handicap with a purse of $2.5 million;
- a 2,100-meter (about 1 5/16th-mile) turf race for older horses will offer $1 million;
- a 1,350-meter (about 6.7-furlongs) turf sprint for older horses with a purse of $1 million.
In addition to the Saudi Cup, the dirt races for thoroughbreds are an $800,000 mile race for 3-year-olds;
- a $1.5 million, 1,200-meter (about 6 furlong) sprint for 3-year-olds and up;
- a handicap for 4-year-olds and up trained in Saudi Arabia over 1800 meters (about 1 1/8th mile) worth $500,000.
There also will be an international race for Arabian horses 4 years old and up over 2000m (about 1 ¼ miles) on dirt, worth $1.9 million.
These races will offer terrific targets for a range of horses, from sprinters to stayers, plus a mile race for 3-year-olds, which is worth a good deal more than the early (British) classics. I’m already thinking about which horses I could take.legendary British trainer John Gosden said at a news conference to announce the lineup.
The Saudi Cup appears well situated for success, falling squarely on the calendar between two of the biggest international horse racing events — the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park in the U.S. and the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1) on March 28 at Meydan Racecourse.
Saudi Cup Winners
The winner of the Saudi Cup will earn a $10 million, but many of the beaten horses could still see the largest paydays of their careers.
Second-place will be worth $3.5 million, with $2 million for third, $1.5 million for fourth; $1 million for fifth and $600,000 for sixth.
Payments will go down all the way to the tenth-place finisher, who will bank $200,000.
Entry to the race will be free and the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia will pay for all shipping of horses as well as travel and accommodation for connections.
Saudi Cup Horse Race Predictions
Among the U.S. horses aiming for the big race are the Bob Baffert-trained McKinzie, runner-up in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.
Other horses whose connections are considering a run include Bravazo, Gronkowski, Higher Power, Math Wizard, Maximum Security, Mr. Money and Tacitus. The most intriguing U.S. based runner being mentioned as a possible starter is the 4-year-old filly Midnight Bisou, who won seven of eight starts in 2019, with her only loss being a second in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Among the international stars known to be pointing for the race are Elusive State, a 6-year-old gelding who won the Kwangtung Cup (C2) at Hong Kong’s Sha Tin racecourse for trainer Tony Millard in his most recent start.
Great Scot, who won the Group 3 Superior Mile at Haydock in England in his last start and was sold to new connections with the Saudi Cup in mind.
There will likely be many other names to emerge as the race draws closer.
Saudi Cup Horse Race betting odds
It’s impossible to predict the odds months out from the race, but McKinzie could go off as the favorite, depending on what happens in the Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 25. We will update you on the Saudi Cup betting odds here.
Where to bet on the Saudi Cup in the U.S.
There is no legal horse racing betting allowed in Saudi Arabia, an Islamic country where gambling is considered a sin. But it is highly likely that the rest of the world will be able to wager on the races, as Tom Ryan, director of strategy and international racing with the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, confirmed in November that a request for proposals for the worldwide picture and data rights required to facilitate betting on the event was pending.
Assuming that comes through, it will be possible to wager on the Saudi Cup card in all U.S. states where pari-mutuel betting on horse races is legal as well as off-track betting outlets and legal U.S. online advance deposit wagering (ADW) services. You can try Amwager (use promo code AMGAMBLER to get $100 bonus or Twinspires)
The time difference – Riyadh is nine hours ahead of the U.S. Eastern Time Zone – may mean you’ll need to place your bets well before the live action, however, so check with your wagering provider for details.
Where to watch 2020 Saudi Cup
Because the rights are pending, it’s unclear where and if horse racing fans will be able to watch the Saudi Cup program live. But if wagering is offered the signal should be available on any of the platforms carrying the races. Stay tuned.