Everybody knows (in Britain, at least) that Queen Elizabeth II is a keen judge of horses and loves — absolutely LOVES — the sport of kings, horse-racing. And she’s got more than nine million reasons why.
It turns out that in more than 30 years of racing, the elderly queen in sensible shoes has been a real winner: She’s claimed 452 race wins (out of a total of 2,834 races) for her horses, a winning percentage of 15.9%, according to data compiled by MyRacing.com, a British racing news-and-tips site that analyzed public records of the British Horseracing Authority.
The data were made public Tuesday, ahead of the popular Cheltenham Festival racing meet in Gloucestershire, where the prize money is second only to the Grand National steeplechase in Liverpool.
“The Queen has earned a total of $9,372,441 from her horses, her highest annual total being in 2016 when she earned a whopping $775,325,” according to a press release from a spokesman for the site, Dominic Celica.
He said the data were cross-referenced against data from the horse-racing authority for accuracy.
Buckingham Palace did not respond to request for comment from USA TODAY. The palace rarely comments on the queen’s private interests.
Queen Elizabeth II receives the winning trophy from her second son, Prince Andrew Duke of York, after her horse Estimate won the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot June 20, 2013. (Photo: Alastair Grant, AP)
Based on her wins, Her Majesty placed 11th for 2017 in the list of owners whose horses have won the most during a season, Celica said. However, she has yet to win a race in 2018.
The list of owners who have won the most in prize money, which go back to 1894, show the queen was first in winnings in two years, 1954 and 1957, and placed 23rd in 2017, the most recent year of data, Celica said.
Right about here we should point out there’s a reason horse-racing is called the sport of kings — because only kings and sheiks and billionaires can afford the wildly expensive pastime. Moreover, a figure south of $10 million is a drop in the bucket for the British monarch, one of the richest women in the world.
So she’s not racing for the money. The queen, who turns 92 in April, is a lifelong lover of horses (and corgi dogs), respected for her knowledge of breeding and performance, famous for her morning perusal of The Racing Post, and for her near-religious attendance record at Royal Ascot, which she has rarely missed since her first one in 1945.
The five-day annual extravaganza, which brings out brightly-plumed royals and toffs alongside ordinary punters, is said to be her favorite. The queen’s first win there came two weeks after her 1953 coronation when her horse, Choir Boy, won the Hunt Cup.
In 2013, her horse Estimate won the Gold Cup race at Ascot, the first time in the two centuries of the race it has been won by a reigning monarch. She was delighted.
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