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How Much Do Horse Race Winners Make?

Horse racing is one of the oldest sports in the world, dating back to ancient Roman times. It has evolved into an international phenomenon, with races held in countries all over the world. But with the thrill of the sport comes a lot of money at stake. So, just how much do horse race winners make?

The Prize Money

The amount of money a horse race winner makes depends on the race itself. The size of the purse is determined by the amount of money put up by the owners of the horses competing in the race. The prize money is then divided among the top finishers, with the winner getting the lion’s share.

Big Races = Big Money

The big races are where the big money is. The most prestigious of these is the Triple Crown, which consists of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The winner of all three races automatically receives a $5 million bonus. But even if a horse only wins one of the three races, they can still receive a hefty prize. The Kentucky Derby alone has a purse of over $2 million, with the winner taking home around $1.4 million.

Other Races

While the Triple Crown races are the most lucrative, there are plenty of other races that offer substantial prize money. The Breeders’ Cup is an annual series of races held in the United States and Canada. It features 13 races with purses totaling over $30 million. The Dubai World Cup is the world’s richest horse race, with a purse of over $10 million.

Other Earnings

In addition to the prize money, the winner of a horse race can also earn money from other sources. For example, they may be eligible for bonuses from the owner of the horse, or from sponsorships. In addition, the jockey of the winning horse can also receive a portion of the purse.

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Winning Breeds Winning

The more races a horse wins, the more money it can potentially make. For example, if a horse wins the Triple Crown, they can add millions of dollars in bonus money to their winnings. Some horses have even gone on to win multiple races and become millionaires in the process.

Fame and Fortune

Winning a horse race can also bring fame and fortune. A horse that wins a prestigious race, such as the Kentucky Derby, can become a celebrity overnight. They can be featured in magazines, on television, and even have merchandise bearing their likeness. In addition, the horse’s owner, trainer, and jockey can all benefit from the fame and fortune that comes with winning a race.

The Cost of Racing

While the potential earnings from winning a race can be substantial, the cost of racing can quickly eat into those winnings. Training, care, and travel expenses can add up quickly, and there is no guarantee that a horse will win. In addition, the entry fees for some races can be quite steep.

Long-Term Benefits

While a horse may not make a lot of money from winning a single race, their success can reap long-term benefits. Winning a prestigious race can increase the value of the horse, making them a more attractive breeding prospect. This can result in more money for the horse’s owner in the form of stud fees.


Horse race winners can make a substantial amount of money, depending on the race. The biggest races, such as the Triple Crown, offer the biggest purses and the biggest prizes. But even the smaller races can provide a nice payday, as well as long-term benefits. So, while it may not be a get-rich-quick scheme, winning a horse race can be a lucrative venture.