Big crowds are expected for the Auckland Cup, which organisers say reflects a rising economic climate.
Auckland Cup Week is the richest racing carnival in New Zealand, with a top prize of $500,000 and a total of $2.5 million in prize money.
Auckland Racing Club said presales have already exceeded last year and they expect more than five-thousand people to come through the gates today.
Chief executive Cameron George said growing crowds at this year's event are a sign of recovery from the economic downturn.
More than 35,000 people are expected over the entire week.
The Auckland Cup race begins at 5.55pm on Wednesday.