Dubai World Cup: Big Ticket Item for Some Racing Fans

The Dubai World Cup is not just the world's richest horse race, it can also be the most expensive racing event on the globe to attend. Though fans can take a low-budget approach, with free admission to certain areas, the more well-heeled patrons might reach deep into their pockets and go first class, paying as much as US$742 for a seat in one of the suites overlooking the finish line.

Of course, getting to Dubai isn't cheap, either. Round trip airfare (first class) from London's Gatwick airport is priced at $5,258. A room (not a suite) at the Jebel Ali Hotel in Dubai runs about $560 per night (plus 20% in taxes and service charges).

Clearly, a day at the races on Dubai World Cup Day at Nad al Sheba isn't the same as a Wednesday at Aqueduct. The "international village," where a walkaround pass costs $27, has a dress code of "national dress" or "lounge suits" for men and "fashionable race attire" or "national dress" for women. The village will feature a fashion show and prizes for "best dressed lady," according to the World Cup web site.

But that's entry level for racing fans. One step up from there is the Al Dana Marquee package, at $270 per person, featuring an afternoon tea, two glasses of champagne, and buffet -- all in a large tent for 1,000 people.

Nad al Sheba racecourse is on the same property as a golf course, and the clubhouse to the course has several rooms for dining with an admission price of $338. That includes buffet, complimentary drinks throughout the day, and post-race entertainment and dancing.

Fairway Pavilions offer entertainment opportunities for up to 50 people at a cost of $20,250, roughly $405 per person -- and that price excludes food and beverage. These air-conditioned buildings are stationed close to the rail and are located between the furlong pole and quarter pole near the top of the stretch. Larger two-story Corporate Chalets are available for up to 100 people at a cost of $40,500 (also not including food or beverage costs).

The new Millennium Stand, constructed for this year's World Cup program, is five stories tall, with a variety of hospitality options, including private suites. Most areas of the stand are sold out, including the Darley Suite and Rutland Suite on the top level, where the going rate is $22,275 for 30 people, a cst of $742 each (excluding food and beverage).

By comparison, America's most expensive day of racing is the Kentucky Derby, where the face value of a ticket on Millionaire's Row is a mere $525 -- and that includes a buffet. Highly coveted box seats near the finish line of the third floor in the clubhouse have a face value of just $210. Of course, getting access to either of those two areas at face value is another story.