The Dubai World Cup is a Thoroughbred horse race held annually since 1996 and contested at the Meydan Racecourse which in Arabic suggests a place where people congregate and compete, a sort of meeting point in the Emirate of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The race is operated through the Emirates Racing Authority (ERA) whose Chairman is Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs of the United Arab Emirates. It offers nine races, consisting of eight Thoroughbred contests and one Purebred Arabian contest.
The Dubai World Cup, the final race of Dubai World Cup night, was created in 1996 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai who owns Darley Stud & Godolphin Racing, one of the world's leading Thoroughbred breeding and racing operations.
Annually held on the last Saturday in March, the Dubai World Cup is part of the Dubai World Cup Night of races, and has carried a purse of USD ten million since 2010. It was the world's richest horse race until it was surpassed by the Pegasus World Cup in 2017. It is a Group 1 flat race on dirt for Northern Hemisphere Thoroughbred four-year-olds & up and for Southern Hemisphere Thoroughbred three-year-olds & up run over a distance of 2,000 metres (about 10 furlongs) in late March. It was held at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse before 2009. In 2010, the Dubai World Cup was first held at the new Meydan Racecourse on March 27, on all-weather surface known as Tapeta. However, it was held as dirt race again in 2015 due to the high maintenance cost and being an unpopular condition among American participants.
The race's first winner was the future United States Hall of Fame Thoroughbred Cigar, owned by Allen E. Paulson. A plaque honoring that horse hangs outside the barn of Bill Mott at Belmont Park.
In 2006 the Dubai World Cup was broadcast live on TVG Network and HRTV and taped later for showing on ABC. It was the first time that the race was shown on national TV in the United States.