05/12/2016 7:06AM

Gulfstream Park announces plans for $12 million Pegasus Cup


The Stronach Group on Wednesday announced plans to host a new $12 million race, the Pegasus Cup, on Jan. 28, but the announcement seems only a very early step toward making the race actually happen.

The Pegasus Cup, to be run at 1 1/8 miles on dirt at Gulfstream Park, would be the world’s richest race, surpassing the $10 million Dubai World Cup, but unlike the World Cup and all other important global stakes, participants would supply all the purse money.

Twelve entrants would each pay $1 million in exchange for a spot in the starting gate. The entrant purchaser would be permitted to sell shares of the berth, or even the entire berth, or seek sponsorships to fund participation. The Stronach Group’s press release said participants would share equally “net income from handle, media rights, and sponsorships” associated with the race in addition to collecting purse money earned by the highest-placed horses.

What’s unclear is whether sufficient participants could be attracted, whether the race would be run for a lower purse with fewer than 12 entrants, or what would happen, for instance, if a horse was forced to defect from the race after seeking entry. Perry Martin, part-owner of California Chrome, already has expressed interest in running if the race takes place.

The Stronach Group said it positioned the prospective race to give ample spacing after the Breeders’ Cup Classic and before the Dubai World Cup, but the Pegasus Cup would surely usurp Gulfstream’s historic older-horse winter Grade 1 dirt-route fixture, the Donn Handicap.

Jack Wolf, the founder of Starlight Racing, has been retained as the chief executive of the Pegasus Cup, according to the release, with Tom Ludt, a Breeders’ Cup board member, assisting and consulting.