Every year the last Saturday in March is designated as the date for the annual Dubai World Cup. The World Cup, which is hosted at the racetrack Meydan, is the richest day in horse racing in the world. According to the web site, this year’s Dubai World Cup was a $35 million dollar race day. That’s quite a payday! All the best horses, jockeys and trainers in the world race in Dubai on that day.
The temperatures can get pretty hot during the day so the races begin at 3:45pm in Dubai and go on throughout the evening. This year the temperature was 34 degrees Celsius, which equals to 95 degrees Fahrenheit! But the warm weather doesn’t keep many people away. More than 50,000 people attended this event, including many international and national celebrities.
According to Wiktionary, the word Meydan means in Arabic, a plaza or a square where people congregate. Meydan is a lovely development in Dubai. It not only contains the world-famous horse racetrack (they also have camel racing), but also a luxury hotel on the property. It’s located just 15 minutes from the heart of Dubai and can be reached easily by the highway. Racing starts in November and ends in March with the World Cup.
Meydan Hotel is built-in the form of a wave in motion. The lines and the architecture of the building are amazing. It’s the first (and probably only) 5-star trackside hotel in the world.
My birthday always falls around World Cup day so a group of us get together for breakfast (due to the 8 hour time difference) and birthday cake to watch the races. It’s always so fun to watch with friends since I’ve been to Dubai and toured Meydan.
It’s interesting to see jockeys from all over the world that we never know about in Kentucky. Most of these jockeys don’t ride during Keeneland or the Derby or in any other major racetrack in the United States for that matter. That goes for horses and trainers as well. It’s can be difficult to bet due to the international selection of jockeys, trainers, and horses that are almost unknown here.
I remembered that when I visited Meydan I didn’t see any wagering windows or electronic betting windows. Upon asking our guide where the terminals were located I found out it is against the law to gamble in Dubai. The attendance at the race is purely for the love of horse races and the event. That’s awesome!
Each race carries a multi-million dollar prize. The winner of this year’s Dubai Cup which was sponsored by Emirates Airline was Thunder Snow. The horse, owned by Godolphin Racing, also won the race last year. This year the winning purse was $12 million and the distance of the race is approximately 10 furlongs. The race is run on a dirt track.
Thunder Snow beat several US contenders including Gronkowski (Gronk can’t win everything in 2019!), Gunnevera, and the 2018 Florida Derby winner, Audible.
The Dubai Cup has many events that are held in conjunction with the event. One of the events that I always like to see is the Dubai World Cup Style Stakes. Dubai ladies love fashion. There is a reason why they have the largest and fanciest malls in the world!
This year’s categories included Best Hat, Most Creative Hat, Best Dressed Lady, Best Dressed Lady Runner Up, Best Dressed Male, Best Dressed Male Runner Up, and Best Dressed Couple. As you can see below contestants take this contest just as seriously as the jockeys take their races!
There are some great prizes that are awarded for the day. According to the Gulf News article about the event, prizes include gift certificates for around $1,500! The contest is limited to 500 people and they have some very impressive judges. Judges include author and stylist Kelly Lundberg, Esquire Middle East Fashion Designer Mark McMahon and several other big names in the Dubai fashion world.
The World Cup is a showcase for Dubai and Meydan. Following a fantastic day of races, there’s a first-class fireworks display and a concert to cap off a day of fun. This year’s concert featured Gwen Stefani.
The Dubai World Cup is certainly on my bucket list! What about you? Until next week xoxo.