Spots in Pegasus 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, 2017 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.