where does prize money for horse racing come from

Prize money in horse racing primarily originates from two sources: betting and race organizers. Betting pools contribute a significant portion of the purse, as a percentage of every wager placed on the race is allocated to the prize fund. Race organizers also contribute to the prize money, often using revenue generated from admission fees, concessions, and other sources. Additionally, sponsorships and partnerships with corporate entities may supplement the prize pool, further bolstering the financial incentives for participants.

Race Entry Fees

Horse owners pay a fee to enter their horse in a race. This fee goes into a pool of money that is used to fund the prize money for the race. The amount of the entry fee varies depending on the race and the level of competition.

  • For example, the entry fee for the Kentucky Derby is $25,000.
  • The entry fee for a local claiming race may be only $500.


Sponsorships are a major source of prize money in horse racing. Companies pay to have their logos displayed on jockeys’ silks, horses’ blankets, and racecourse signage. The bigger the event, the more sponsors it usually attracts, and this results in large sums of prize money. For example, the Dubai World Cup is one of the richest races in the world, with a prize pool of over $12 million, thanks to its numerous sponsors.


Advertising is another key source of prize money. Racecourses sell advertising space to companies that want to reach their target audience. This revenue is then used to fund prize money and other expenses. For example, the Kentucky Derby is one of the most-watched sporting events in the United States, so it attracts a lot of advertising revenue. This helps to fund the race’s $3 million prize pool.

Horse Sales

Horse sales are a major source of prize money for horse racing. When a horse is sold, a portion of the sale price goes to the breeder of the horse. This money is then used to fund prize money for races.

Breeding Fees

Breeding fees are another source of prize money for horse racing. When a stallion is used to breed a mare, the owner of the stallion receives a fee. This fee is often used to fund prize money for races.

Additional sources of prize money
Entry feesHorse owners pay entry fees to enter their horses in races.
SponsorshipsCompanies pay to sponsor races and provide prize money.
Government subsidiesSome governments provide subsidies to horse racing to support the industry.

Government and Industry Funding

The prize money for horse racing comes from various sources, including government funding and industry funding.

Government Funding

  • Taxes on horse racing betting
  • Grants and subsidies from racing commissions
  • Lottery proceeds dedicated to horse racing

Industry Funding

  • Entry fees from horse owners
  • Sponsorship from corporations and individuals
  • Television rights deals
Government Funding40%
Industry Funding60%

Thanks for taking a ride with us as we explored the ins and outs of horse racing prize money. We hope it’s given you a better understanding of how the big bucks are made in this thrilling sport. Whether you’re a seasoned bettor or just a curious fan, keep us in your bookmarks. We’ll be back in the paddock soon with more fascinating stories and insights from the world of horse racing. Until then, may all your bets be winners!