About the Pegasus World Cup
In January 2017, the inaugural Pegasus World Cup and its $12 million dollar purse surpassed the Dubai World Cup as the world’s richest horse race. In 2018, the stakes were raised even higher. With 12 contenders and a record-setting $16 million dollar purse, the Pegasus, named after the 110-foot statue of the mythical creature standing at Gulfstream Park, attracts the best horses in the world, as well as the attention of racing fans from around the globe.
The Pegasus World Cup is held annually at Miami’s Gulfstream Park, and is run on the dirt at a distance of 1 1/8 miles (9 furlongs). This Grade 1 Stakes race is open to horses four years old and older.
So how did the Pegasus World Cup become a reality? The idea was initially proposed by Stronach Group Founder and Honorary Chairman, Frank Stronach, during the Thoroughbred Owners Conference at Gulfstream in January 2016. He called for the annual race to be run at either Gulfstream Park or Santa Anita Park and identified mid-to-late January as the perfect place on the schedule. The North American breeding season begins in mid-February and this would allow for a horse to run one last race before retiring. Plus, it does not conflict with the Dubai World Cup, which is held in late-March, or the Breeders’ Cup, which is contested each November.
Plans for the race were officially announced in May 2016 – 12 shareholders could purchase an ‘entry’ into the race for $1 million. Once 12 shareholders signed on, the race was to be sold out. Just one week after the inaugural Pegasus World Cup was announced, Stronach Group leadership announced that all 12 slots had been purchased. The initial group of shareholders included Frank Stronach, Coolmore Stud, California Chrome, LLC, Starlight Racing, Reddam Racing and Jim McIngvale.
Under the format, if a shareholder doesn’t own a horse suited for the race, they have the ability to sell their spot to another owner, lease a horse to run in the spot or make other similar arrangements.
The benefit? Shareholders receive a cut of the massive purse, as well as an equal share of Gulfstream Park’s net income on Pegasus World Cup Day.
The inaugural Pegasus World Cup delivered more star power than anyone could have imagined, with California Chrome, Arrogate, Neolithic, Keen Ice, Shaman Ghost and War Story among the entrants. The marquee attraction, however, was the showdown between Arrogate and California Chrome, the 1-2 finishers in the previous year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
So who won? Arrogate dominated the inaugural Pegasus World Cup. Much to the delight of his backers, the Juddmonte Farms-owned, Bob Baffert-trained son of Unbridled’s Song tracked the early pace, swept to the lead and never looked back, stopping the clock in an impressive 1:46.83. Shaman Ghost checked in second, while California Chrome finished a disappointing 9th in his career finale.
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