05/19/2016 2:20PM

Spots in starting gate for Pegasus World Cup sell out quickly


BALTIMORE – Less than a week after announcing the creation of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup – the world’s richest horse race, where owners purchase their spot in the starting gate for $1 million – officials with The Stronach Group announced Thursday that all spots have sold out.

According to officials, a dozen individuals or groups – including Paul Reddam, the owner of Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist – have each put up $1 million to purchase a spot in the starting gate for the race, scheduled for Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park in south Florida.

Though Reddam said he naturally was interested in purchasing a spot in the gate, he said he was “shocked” that the race filled up so quickly.

Interestingly, Reddam has already sold the breeding rights to Nyquist to Darley Stud, the North American arm of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, whose $10 million Dubai World Cup is currently the world’s richest race.

In addition to Reddam, other parties who have paid the $1 million are California Chrome LLC, the owners of California Chrome; Jerry and Ronald Frankel; James McIngvale; Sol Kumin and Jim Covello; Starlight Pegasus Partners; Daniel Schafer; Rosedown Racing (Jeffrey Weiss); Stronach Stables; Reeves Thoroughbred Racing; Ruis Racing (Mick Ruis); and the Coolmore connections of Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor.

If those owners don’t have a horse to run in the race, they may lease, contract, or share a starter or sell their place in the starting gate.

The announcement was made Thursday at a press conference in The Stronach Group chalet in the Corporate Village tent in the Pimlico infield. The press conference was attended by Belinda Stronach, chairman and president of The Stronach Group; Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer for The Stronach Group; and Jack Wolf, chief executive of the Pegasus World Cup.

The winner’s share of the purse is $7 million. In addition to the purse money paid, participants would share equally in net income from handle, media rights, and sponsorships associated with the race.

Stronach officials said the race was strategically placed on Jan. 28 to be on the weekend between the NFL’s conference championship games and the Super Bowl. Also, the timing of the race would allow owners to still retire their horses in time for the breeding season or have enough time to run in the Dubai World Cup in late March.

Ritvo said television networks have reached out to him to televise the race. He declined to name which networks.

The Pegasus World Cup takes the place of the Donn Handicap, typically run the first weekend in February, so that the race could be considered a Grade 1 event.

Belinda Stronach, the daughter of Frank Stronach, said the Pegasus World Cup demonstrates the commitment The Stronach Group has to the industry and that, depending on the success of the event, it could lead to similar races in other divisions and at other Stronach-owned tracks such as Santa Anita or Pimlico/Laurel.

Jim Pitura More than 1 year ago
Fast Frankie ups the anti
Chuck Seeger More than 1 year ago

This concept, as verified by the swiftness of all 12 spots being immediately sold, just might be the positive game changer this sport needs at the highest level.  Why? If a series of these type races could be assembled for 4YO's and up, is any level-headed owner going to rush a young horse with potential to chase the Triple Crown?  Give the horse a chance to mature and become a racehorse with a game plan for his/her career to possibly flourish when they are physically and mentally mature, and don't destroy them as 3YO's.  If for no other reason the economics dictate this is the correct strategy.  Besides, unlike the Triple Crown, you could possibly compete in races like this for multiple years.

The industry then has the potential for the stars and the big races to have exposure beyond a 5 week window of the Triple Crown.  If there were 4 of these type races in the states throughout the year leading up to the Breeders Cup, I guarantee the media and the public would take notice.  Why are primetime game shows popular?  Not to see if people get the right answers, but instead to see people possibly win a @#^$load of money.  This concept has that potential.

From a gambling prospective, I can easily see the handle on these races grow with each running.  People are going to attach themselves to horses as they continually compete at this level.  And as history shows, good older horses usually make for the best competition.

So I urge the industry, the players, and anyone else involved to embrace this concept.  Think big, and don't be afraid to let go of so many of the tired ideas i.e. the Triple Crown, that has kept this industry from sustaining any growth while being completely driven off the sports landscape. Face it - if Nyquist was not running in the Preakness, that race would be nothing but an overnight stakes race.

Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
I don't know Frank personally, but I have always admired him a lot.