One of the highly anticipated events in Japan are the numerous horse race tournaments. Some have been preparing for it for months, studying carefully training method and winning history of all the thoroughbreds. It is one of the most competitive sports that continue to bring in crowds of gamblers from all over the country and even abroad. For this reason, breeders work doubly hard to raise reliable horses – horses that can run to the finish line first. Trainers are given hefty amounts of money to make sure that the skills of the horses are at par. Jockeys are carefully chosen, limiting to only those who can manoeuvre and control the horse to win.
Horse racing is a sport that involves well-trained horses and experienced riders. Finding the perfect combination of jockey and horse can guarantee wins in high-level competitions. Some of the well-trained thoroughbreds are properly taken care of because they bring in money to their owners. They make millions by winning a slew of races such as the Dubai Cup, Kentucky Derby, Breeder’s Cup, and the Japan Cup. These races come with millions of dollars in prizes, allowing the best horses to bring home the most money.
Entering a horse race tournament does not come easy. Before a horse can compete, they have to satisfy certain extremely high standards. This is why the expertise of both the breeders and trainers is crucial. Oftentimes, being second is unacceptable. For example, the winning horse of the Kentucky Derby will bring home the pride, bragging rights and the cash prize of $1.24 million. On the other hand, the horse placing second best will bring home only $400,000. That’s a pretty wide margin. In horse races, the people behind the horses make sure they end up first.
Some breeders who manage to bring up “premier league” horses can also earn money by being stud horses. Horses that have good lineage are sought after by trainers. They pay huge money to mate their horses – a practice that helps improve the horse’s potential to become a money machine as it grows to its racer years. A careful look at the history of some of the best stud horses shows that they are not really the ones who were successful in the biggest horse races. Some trainers believe that the quality of the horse lies in the ability to produce good offspring that they can eventually train.
This article will include all the top-earning racehorses to date. These horses are a great example of the advantages of having a great trainer and rider coupled with a solid breeding plan as the perfect recipe in earning big bucks. Do note, however, that the list only took into account the total money earned in races since it is difficult to exclude the costs spent by breeders in breeding and training these beasts.
Top 10: Invasor
Career Earnings: $7.8 Million
Invasor has total career earnings of $7.8 million despite running only twelve races during his racing years. He has won 11 of these twelve races. His wins include the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic and the 2007 Dubai World Cup. Each win has allowed Invasor to take home almost $1 million. After his racing career was done, the Argentina-based horse still brought his owner a good amount of money as he was sold for $1.4 million to Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Most of the horse race tournaments that Invasor won were high-end and were at the very least ten furlongs or two kilometres, making Invasor a perfect stud horse for breeding, particularly for distance races.
Top 9: Black Caviar
Career Earnings: $7.95 Million
This filly from Australia has had a colourful racing year, running in 25 races in her career spanning four years from 2009 to 2013. Black Caviar’s races were at least one kilometre in length and she successfully won each one of them, making her a favourite among breeders who want to replicate her success in the race tracks. So far, Black Caviar’s foals are doing great.
The thoroughbred’s progeny include Oscietra, now retired, who has won two races, Prince of Caviar is with the Hawkes stable and is still undergoing training but already shows good signs of winning just like his mom, the never-raced two-year-old filly by Snitzel, the year-old filly by More Than Ready, and the I Am Invincible filly born last October 2018. Black Caviar’s owners are confident that the fifth foal would be the one to be most like the legendary filly.
Top 8: Fantastic Light
Career Earnings: $8.4 Million
Born in the United States but raised in Dubai, Fantastic Light was won a total of $8.4 million during his racing years thanks to the genius behind his training, Saeed bin Suroor. The thoroughbred has won 12 races in total including the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Turf Race, with a prize money of approximately $500,000. Fantastic Light also took home around $3 million purse money of the 2000 Dubai Sheema Classic. His racing career started from August 1998 up to his retirement in October 2001. A huge chunk of his earning came from tournaments held in Dubai and the Middle East, which have bigger purses.
Top 7: Skip Away
Career Earnings: $9.6 Million
Skip Away is one of the most successful thoroughbreds in horse racing history. He has won 18 of his 38 races and placing in the top three in almost all. He was second place in the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stake both held in 1996. Skip Away was also the one responsible for ending Cigar’s 16-race winning streak when he beat the former in the 1996 Jockey Club Gold Cup. The 1998 US Horse of the Year died of a heart attack in 2010.
Top 6: Cigar
Career Earnings: $10 Million
This American Thoroughbred was one of the most successful horse during his racing years in the mid-1990s. He was among the few horses that won sixteen consecutive races, he was also consistently in the top three of all his 33 races except for five. Cigar was one of the top-earning horses during his time, even valued at a considerable $25 million. Sadly, Cigar was infertile and so cannot produce foals that are worthy to continue on his lineage.
Top 5: Zenno Rob Roy
Career Earnings: $10.4 Million
Hailing from Japan, Zenno Rob Roy raced in the early 2000s and reached prominence when he won the prestigious Japan Cup and Tenno Sho Race in 2004. He competed 20 times from February 2003 to December 2005, besting seven races. Zenno Rob Roy was named the Japanese “Horse of the Year,” when he won the autumn race of the Japan Triple Crown. Whilst he was a successful racer, his breeders were not able to fully take advantage of him in the stud market. In 2007, he contracted the horse flu and almost died due to its complications. Zenno Rob Roy’s sire was Sunday Silence, the 1989 Preakness Stakes, and Kentucky Derby winner.
Top 4: Curlin
Career Earnings: $10.5 Million
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Curlin emerged as the best horse in 11 of his 16 races. He won the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic and Preakness Stakes and the 2008 Dubai Cup. Most of the millions of earnings Curlin took home was with Robby Albarado as his rider. Curlin was not only successful in the race track, but he was also widely sought after in the stud market. He is the father of Palace Malice, the 2013 Belmont Stakes. His success in the tracks earned him a place in the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2014.
Top 3: Deep Impact
Career Earnings: $12.8 Million
Probably one of the widely known horses of today, Deep Impact has indeed made a great impact during his racing years. Also sired by Sunday Silence, Deep Impact won the most prominent series – the Japanese Triple Crown – in 2005. The only horse to accomplish it in more than 10 years. He also earns from his breeding services.
Top 2: Makybe Diva
Career Earnings: $14.6 Million
The second in the list of the top earning racehorses of all time is Makybe Diva. Maykbe Diva was foaled in the United Kingdom but was trained in Australia. This filly raced for four years, winning the Melbourne Cup three consecutive times – the sole horse to accomplish in the 150 years of the said race. She gave birth to Rockstardom, which was sold for $1.5 million. Australia’s highest-earning horse is highly revered in the country that she has a statue built for her in the affluent coastal area of Port Lincoln in South Australia.
Top 1: T M Opera O
Career Earnings: $16.2 Million
One of the legendary horses of today, T M Opera O has a great track record. Born in Japan, the chestnut thoroughbred won $14.1 million during his racing years from 1999 to 2001. He ran in 26 races and almost always finishing in the top three except in three races. Japan has one of the richest horse race tournaments that allowed T M Opera O to bring home millions. Some of the races he won include the autumn and spring Tenno Sho race, two of the Kyoto Daishoten races, and the prestigious Japan Cup. For this, TM Opera O, is the number one of the top earning racehorses to date.
Have you placed your bets on any of these horses when they were active? Let us know in the comments!