Updated on 04/05/2017 3:05PM

Pegasus World Cup to be worth $16 million in 2018

Barbara D. Livingston
Next year's Pegasus World Cup purse will increase to $16 million.

The Stronach Group will contribute $4 million to next year’s Pegasus World Cup to boost the race’s purse to a world-record $16 million and dramatically raise the minimum amount each starter earns from the purse regardless of finish position, company officials said Wednesday, in a move designed to bolster what was expected to be lackluster demand for the 12 slots for the race.

The announcement came four days after The Stronach Group, a privately held company founded by billionaire owner and breeder Frank Stronach, wrapped up two days of meetings with the 12 parties that bought $1 million slots in the inaugural Pegasus, held Jan. 28 at The Stronach Group’s Gulfstream Park in south Florida. The Stronach Group was expected to make major changes to the race because most of the slot holders lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on their investment this year.

Tim Ritvo, vice president of racing for The Stronach Group, said on Wednesday that the exact formula for distributing the $16 million purse has not been set, but each starter will receive at least $650,000, no matter where the horse finishes. Last year, each starter was guaranteed $250,000, the amount that was paid out to the fourth- through 12-place finishers.

Under the new formula, the horses running fourth through 12th would receive a collective $5.85 million of the $16 million purse next year, leaving $10.15 million to be distributed to the first three finishers. This year, $2.25 million was distributed to horses finishing out of the money, leaving $9.75 million to be distributed to the first three finishers, a difference of $400,000.

Slots for next year’s race, scheduled for Jan. 27 at Gulfstream, are already being offered for sale, Ritvo said. The owners of the 12 slots this year have a right of first refusal on buying a slot for the 2018 race.

“We’re telling people to get in touch with us,” Ritvo said. “We’re putting the list together right now.”

This year’s Pegasus was won by Arrogate, widely considered the top horse in the world. Arrogate recently won the $10 million Dubai World Cup impressively, and the Pegasus is likely to be back on the horse’s radar, even if owner Prince Khaled Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms doesn’t exactly need the money. Arrogate earned $7 million for his Pegasus win and, with the Dubai World Cup purse this year, has earned $17.1 million, becoming the richest horse in North American racing history despite having only raced eight times.

The presence of Arrogate and 2016 Horse of the Year California Chrome in this year’s Pegasus put other slot owners solidly behind the eight ball in trying to secure horses for their $1 million slots. Most reached deals in which owners of potential starters in the race were able to dictate highly favorable financial terms, while others, such as Paul Reddam, started third-string horses from their own stables.

The owners of slots in the 2017 race also were entitled to shares in several revenue sources tied to the race, but those sources were not expected to exceed $150,000 for each slot owner. With the minimum purse distribution of $250,000, most slot owners lost at least $600,000 on their initial investment.

One slot owner in the 2017 Pegasus, Mick Ruis Sr., a recently unretired trainer who also owns horses, said he plans to buy another slot for the 2018 race. Ruis started a horse he owns, War Envoy, in his slot this year after a deal to secure the top handicap horse Gun Runner fell through because the horse could not clear a quarantine at Fair Grounds in New Orleans. War Envoy finished 11th.

“Yeah, we’re going to do it again,” Ruis said. “I can’t say I was satisfied because I couldn’t get a top runner like Gun Runner in this year, but it is what it is. That’s horse racing.”

Ruis declined to say how much money he lost on this year’s slot.

Ritvo declined to say how much money was distributed to the slot owners as a revenue share from the 2017 race. He said the revenue-share agreement for the 2018 race is likely to be similar to this year’s agreement, which entitled slot owners to shares of most of the handle on the race and advertising and sponsorship tied to the Pegasus.

Ritvo said several of the slot owners in the 2017 race have “expressed an interest” in buying a slot for 2018. The slot owners this year included Stronach, whose horse Shaman Ghost finished second and earned $1.7 million, and Jack Wolf, the owner of a racing partnership who was hired by The Stronach Group last year to administer several aspects of the race. The horse starting in Wolf’s slot, Neolithic, finished third, earning $1 million.

The increase in the purse for the 2018 Pegasus is also likely to trigger a move by racing officials in Dubai to raise the purse of the World Cup. After the World Cup was run last month, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai who runs an international racing and breeding operation, told media outlets that a purse increase was planned for the 2018 running, in large part because of the Pegasus.

“I always want to be one step ahead,” Maktoum told CNN.


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Pat Lyons 24 days ago
My 1st visit to #gulfstreamPark wasn't exactly a good 1 ... tellers are very slow , I had to jump thru hoops to get vouchers , made a large play on #floridaDerby jinxy I lost , the actually thougt I'm money laundering , stereotype , not looking 4ward to gambling there again , I'll have fun #bayArea or #Vegas #Socal #worldFamousPatLyons baby 
Karl Deppen 25 days ago
For the fan, other than the price of admission, it was great. I was there for the 1st one and will be there for next yrs Pegasus !

realgooddogtoo 25 days ago
The ones that will benefit in all of this is; Baffert, Pletcher Chad Brown, and Castellano, Velasquez, Ortiz brothers.
Ian GW 25 days ago
I love Gulfstream but they can often use their resources poorly. I have no idea how they can pull of this spring summer meet with good betting races . Them 13 race days is going to come back to bite em. I see strong declines in field sizes at many tracks. I did a study on 8 tracks for Sat, which include all the major tracks and the top B tracks. There is 80 total races. Out of the 80, 12 races have 12 or more, the one 13 is SA DERBY, who looks to have the top card barring rain. There is 2 fields out of 80 with 11 and 8 fields with 10. For most exotic players these 10-14 race field sizes are needed to survive and gain ample opportunity. .  The other 58 are between 6-9 per start tilted toward 6/7. This wont include late scratches. The sharp modern players view this on weekends as we need value to survive or we suffer losses. Very seldom does a 6 or 7 field pay a high exotic payout. Its not a major cause for concern because of DD's, PK3's etc, but the point is resources should also start favoring the actual customer who makes the game work. Build owners etc...In my example 25% is possibly worth attempting why the other is worth watching or trip handicapping. If the industry could figure out a way to level this out to even 35% to 40% they would see great handle in exotic pools. its an attainable goal and I trust the people in place get this and are working very hard.  This is also a random example and I look at it from now to Derby. I'm sure there is many factors involved. I remember doing a poll with the Lasix topic and Field size was top list behind ridding cheaters. I support the industry and believe the game is going in the right direction its just will take years to pull off and get new owners. I hope for the best.
Chas 25 days ago
Two things...
First...owners not finishing 1-2-3 will still lose $$$$ even with the increase...If $1 million is buy in and the 'guaranteed' is at least $650,000, that leaves $350,000 difference...remember, there are other expensives that need to be paid by the owner as related to travel, etc...and the trainer and jockey are going to get a cut of $650,000, perhaps at least 5% each to 10% depending on the those deals...so there is going to be a lost of at least around $350,000....
Second...this race at the new purse will not last more then one year as Stronach can not 'support' the $4 million year in, year out without that money coming out $$$ committed to other tracks....So with Laurel Park getting $$$ for improvements, it looks like SA will be 'paying the price' for the continuous foolishness of Frank Stronach....
And by the way, what happens when Sheikh Mohammed raises the World Cup to $20 million? There goes the Pegasus claim of the 'richest race in the World'....
Anonymous 25 days ago
Give Stronach some credit.
At least he is trying to be innovative and just like anything else that is new.
It needs to be tweaked.
1 1/4 miles is a better race but lets be honest.
How many horses in North America are true Classic distance horses anymore other than Arrogate and lots of well bred turf horses.
Maybe 1 3/16 at GP...
Love GP as they always put on a great show.
Woodbine should wake up and smell the roses.
What a horrible mess it is with that bad product and on polytrack
Chas 25 days ago
Just how does GP put on a great show when their turf course looks like 'a plowed field'?
John 25 days ago
Anonymous 25 days ago
1st...why are you yelling?
2nd...why are you so angry
3rd...get some help
4th.......the only bad idea is what is between your ears...
Chas 25 days ago
Who said John is yelling or angry? He is just expressing how he and many of us feel...perhaps you need to 'lighten up' or perhaps get some help...
Joe Whitehead 25 days ago
I don't think they were worried about the crowd size. It was a high dollar ticket to attend, the real audience was TV. Did you watch, of course you did if you are a racing fan. 
Chas 25 days ago
Say what? Not worried about crowd size?...If GP thinks they can charge even more next year to make up for the added $4 million they are looney...having a larger crowd that can afford to get in, will bring in more waging $$$, which is much needed...
And the 'real audience' is not tv...ratings are always very low on horse races and if there is not a 'big time horse' running, then the tv audience will be even smaller then it was this year...
Ann Maree 25 days ago
What happened to plans to move the 2018 Pegasus to Santa Anita?  Also, is there consideration to change the length of the race to the more "Classic" distance of 1 1/4 mi?  They also should consider moving the Santa Anita Handicap later on the calendar so horses running in the Pegasus and/or World Cup would have time to recover and be able to run in the  Big Cap.  It is a shame that a race that has such a historical legacy and national prestige is being shoved aside to accommodate these megabuck events.  What do they really mean, anyway, other than bragging rights?
curtis1440clark 25 days ago
It's a pseudo-purse with the Stronach Group putting up 4 million and the participants putting up the rest.