Proposed Saudi Arabian Race Could Rival Pegasus Purse

The days of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) having the world's richest purse at $16 million could be numbered.

Arab News reported that up to $29 million could be up for grabs in February for a new international race day in Saudi Arabia, with a main event—the King Abdulaziz Horse Championship—offering a purse of $17 million.

"There will be around eight to 10 races on the big day," Saleh Al-Hammadi, general director and secretary of the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Club and general manager of the King Abdulaziz Horse Championship told Arab News. "Of course the Pegasus World Cup is $16 million, but people pay $1 million to participate, so it is different."

Arab News reported that Feb. 23 has been earmarked as a likely date, although any time in the last two weeks of the month are possible. The King Abdulaziz Horse Championship is likely to be staged in Riyadh and on dirt, which would put it in direct competition with the Dubai World Cup, which was run March 31 this year, and Qatar's Emir's Sword Festival meeting in Doha, Qatar, which was held at Al Rayyan Racecourse Feb. 22-24. Reports have indicated other alternatives being considered include holding the event in December.

The Pegasus has been conducted in late January the past two years at Gulfstream Park