Organizers of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup planned for January 2017 said they already have 12 ownership groups on board at $1 million each.
The announcement was made May 19 at Pimlico Race Course, which will host the Xpressbet.com Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 21. The Stronach Group, which owns and operates the Maryland Jockey Club tracks, is the driving force behind the Pegasus World Cup.
Starlight Racing's Jack Wolf, who serves as chief executive officer of the Pegasus World Cup, said the period for owners to commit to the race opened May 16. All the spots were filled in about a day, he said.
Those who purchased a spot in the starting gate for the 1 1/8-mile race at Gulfstream Park Jan. 28 are California Chrome LLC; Coolmore; Jerry and Ronald Frankel; Sol Kumin and James Covello; Jim McIngvale; Paul Reddam; Reeves Thoroughbred Racing; Ruis Racing; Daniel Schafer; Starlight Pegasus Partners; The Stronach Group; and Jeff Weiss of Rosedown Racing Stables. The Stronach Group intended to purchased three spots in the starting gate if there wasn't sufficient interest, but that wasn't necessary.
The race will be restricted to 12 horses. Owners with a spot in the gate can race, lease, contract, share a starter, or sell their place in the starting gate. Original entrants will have the first option to participate in future Pegasus World Cup races.
Owners will share equally in 100% of the net income from pari-mutuel handle, media rights, and sponsorships from the Pegasus World Cup. As for the purse, which would be the largest in the world, the winner would get $7 million, with $1.75 million for second, $1 million for third, and $250,000 for the fourth- through last-place finishers.
"The Stronach Group wants racing to be on the cutting edge," said Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer for the company. "We're getting calls, even internationally, about the series. There are some high-end groups interested in it."
Belinda Stronach, chairman and president of The Stronach Group, called the new race a "game-changer" and part of the company's goal to "modernize the sport and generate a new group of fans."
When asked if the race beyond next year would be held at Santa Anita Park, another Stronach Group track, officials said they're focused on 2017.
"As a progressive company we always look at our options," Ritvo said. "We're looking at making this (first) one a success and doing it as a high-end event."
"We're totally open to looking at other venues," Stronach said. "Perhaps in the state of Maryland we could look at doing something similar."
Ritvo said The Stronach Groups intends to pursue national television coverage of the Pegasus World Cup.
"We're already negotiating with networks behind the scenes," he said.