MOST racehorse owners dream of leaving a legacy in the sport, usually by owning a prominent horse and winning a major stakes race.
But Frank Stronach went way better and created the Pegasus World Cup (G1), the richest race in the world.
This year’s edition will be run on Saturday (Jan. 27) at Gulfstream Park over 1-1/8 meters. The race is open to male horses four years old and older.
Under the race format, shareholders each pay $1 million to purchase one of 12 slots in the race. They may use the slot for a racehorse of their choice, or lease, contract, partner with another, or sell their slot to someone else.
The money collected is used to fund the prizes. First prize this year is $7 million, second $1.6 million, and third $1.3 million, with the rest of the money distributed to the other finishers. This year, The Stronach Group, which runs the event, added $4 million for a total of $16 million in prizes, the largest in the world.
Nine slots were purchased before the deadline, and The Stronach Group bought the remaining three in behalf of the other shareholders. The three slots were leased to the owners of San Antonio Stakes (G2) winner Giant Expectations, 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) fourth-placer War Story, and either G1-placed Guiseppe the Great or G2-placed Game Over. These horses will start under the lessee name “Pegasus Race Participants.”
The Stronach Group chief operating officer Tim Ritvo said last Monday that under an agreement with other shareholders, should any of these three horses finish in the top three and earn more than $1 million, the $1 million buy-in would revert to the Group and the remainder be shared 50-50 between the owner and the other participants.
For example, if one of those horses won the first prize of $7 million, $1 million would be paid back to the Group, $3 million to the winning horseowner, and $3 million to be divided among the other race stakeholders.
Included among the possible starters in this year’s Pegasus World Cup are the top four finishers of the Breeders’ Cup Classic—Gun Runner, Collected, West Coast, and War Story.
Gun Runner is likely to be named champion older dirt male and Horse of the Year, while West Coast is a contender for champion 3YO.
Also likely to be entered are Toast of New York, who came back from stud duties in Qatar; Stellar Wind, an Eclipse Award finalist; Sharp Azteca, Gunnevara, and Fear the Cowboy, who each have won at least one race at Gulfstream Park; Seeking the Soul, winner of last November’s G1 Clark Handicap; and Singing Bullet, 3rd in last July’s Amsterdam Stakes.
The Stronach Group president Belinda Stronach said that their goal for the Pegasus World Cup “is to elevate the sport of horse racing, to modernize it, and bring [it] to a whole new fan base. This race also allows some of the best horses in the world to continue racing. It’s good for the industry and good for the sport.”
Ritvo says that they would like to see more international competitors join, particularly dirt horses racing in Asia.
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Dr. Ortuoste is a California-based writer and researcher. Facebook: Gogirl Racing and Jenny Ortuoste, Twitter: @gogirlracing and @jennyortuoste