09/08/2005 11:00PM

Two Dubai races now $5 million


The world's richest day of racing just got richer.

The Dubai Racing Club announced Friday that it was increasing the prize money of the Dubai Duty Free and the Dubai Sheema Classic from $2 miilion to $5 million each, with first prizes of $3 million each. As a result, the six Thoroughbred races on the Dubai World Cup card, which will be run March 26, 2006, will be worth a total of $21 million, and the 1 1/8-mile Duty Free and the 1 1/2-mile Sheema Classic become the two richest turf races in the world.

"The Dubai Duty Free and the Dubai Sheema Classic are recognized as important international races in their own right and thus justify this increase in prize money," said Saeed H. Al-Tayer, chairman of the Dubai Racing Club. "The Club remains at the forefront of the development of international racing, and last year we broke all records for the number of international equine stars competing at one race meeting. We will be working tirelessly to ensure that the best horses from around the world take up the challenge to race in Dubai."

The purses of the four other Thoroughbred races on Dubai World Cup night at Nad Al Sheba, all of them on dirt, remain unchanged: The 1 1/4-mile, $6 million Dubai World Cup; the $2 million, six-furlong Dubai Golden Shaheen; the 1 1/8-mile, $2 million UAE Derby; and the $1 million Godolphin Mile. The average purse for all six races is $3.5 million.