April 21, 2017
By Jon Warech | January 20, 2017 | Culture
The world's top thoroughbred horses are coming to Hallandale Beach for the most lucrative race on the planet.
More than a horse race, the Pegasus World Cup will be an unbridled entertainment experience, with live concerts, gourmet dining, and luxury amenities.
The Stronach Group, a major international operator of horse racing tracks, is bringing a new race to town: the Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park, debuting on January 28. With $12 million in prize money, new gambling technology, and a packed entertainment schedule in a luxurious setting, the event is poised to become the Super Bowl of horse racing. The company’s president, Belinda Stronach, is betting on it.
Ocean Drive: The first thing that jumps out is the prize money. How significant is that?
BELINDA STRONACH: The Pegasus World Cup Invitational is the richest horse race in the world, with a $12 million purse. It’s more lucrative than the Dubai World Cup and the Melbourne Cup. This race is financed through 12 stakeholders who each put down $1 million. The winner will get $7 million of that $12 million. It’s a bit like a poker game in some ways. It’s of great interest to see which owners will put up which horses. The outcome should be that we have the best horses from around the world performing for the most lucrative prize in the world. There are a ton of events designed to bring in a new crowd.
What will the atmosphere be like?
It’s an event. Every race has its own flair. We own the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness, which has this massive InfieldFest while the race is going on, which gets about 130,000 people. The Chainsmokers and Fetty Wap played last year. It’s about bringing together different forms of entertainment and making a fun experience. We’re doing that at Gulfstream with the Pegasus Park.
The world’s largest horse sculpture, a 112-foot-high statue of Pegasus fighting a dragon, will be a fitting backdrop for Gulfstream Park’s $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
There’s a luxury component to this event, too.
If you’re coming to the track and you want a full-on luxury, almost Vegas-style experience, the environment has to complement that. At the Preakness, we did a fun hospitality tent, which was like Ralph Lauren meets Soho House in a chalet environment. Here we’ll be doing a charity event the night before with all of our owners and celebrities. The next day will be a full day of racing, but there will be a red carpet, and we’re also in the process of renovating our main restaurant, Ten Palms, with a 1950s Cuban-Miami flair.
What technological changes are coming?
We’re going to have a bunch of Jumbotrons and stages with performances taking place throughout the day. We’re also in the process of developing a new mobile betting app that’s fun for a younger demographic. Our goal is to modernize this sport and create new and exciting races.
This feels like a big investment on the part of your company.
There are partners and risk-takers involved in this venture to elevate and modernize horse racing. We are building a brand to a certain standard, so I think you’re going to see a different kind of race than you’re used to seeing. We don’t see our competition as other horse races. We see our competition as other sports leagues, like the NFL or NBA, and other forms of entertainment. Our job is to make it compelling enough that it creates experiences people want to come to. January 28 at Gulfstream Park & Casino , 901 S. Federal Hwy., Hallandale Beach, 954-454-7000
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF GULFSTREAM PARK & CASINO (PEGASUS PARK); KELLY SERFOSS/SERFOSS PRODUCTIONS (STRONACH)
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