Belinda Stronach & Nicole Walker on Modernizing Horse Racing

By Katie Jackson | January 25, 2019 | People Lifestyle

With the Pegasus World Cup Invitational returning to Gulfstream Park this month, we ask Belinda Stronach and daughter Nicole Walker about how The Stronach Group is modernizing horse racing and tips for picking a winner.

belinda-stronach.jpgBelinda Stronach, chairman and president of The Stronach Group.

How is The Stronach Group reinventing horse racing?
BELINDA STRONACH: Horse racing is the last great sporting legacy platform that has not yet fully been modernized, and The Stronach Group is at the forefront. Unique events like the Pegasus World Cup, akin to a high-stakes poker game where horse owners purchase a slot in the starting gate for their chance at the $16 million purse, offer a lucrative new opportunity for horse owners and represent an innovative way of thinking for our sport. The concept was even replicated in Australia with The Everest, Australia’s richest race. From concerts and festivals to digital innovations such as new wagering and wayfinding apps, and a refreshed food and beverage offering, the guest experience is a key driver of our business. We recognize that we are competing with every other form of entertainment but know that a day at the races is an experience like no other!

How are you engaging the new generation of racing enthusiasts?
NICOLE WALKER: If we are going to engage a new generation, we need to communicate with them in a way that is familiar and accessible to them. Social media is part of our daily lives, so by extension is a big part of the Pegasus World Cup, and of the modernization of the sport of thoroughbred horse racing. Plus, it’s an amazing way to showcase the entertainment and excitement of a day at the races in real time!

BS: Most recently, Nikki hosted an event with 50-plus social media influencers at the 143rd Preakness that generated a million-plus organic views, sharing some incredible moments with a group of people who typically would not have any reason to be part of racing. We hope to replicate this at Pegasus this year. #RunWithUs

pegasus-2.jpgNicole Walker is an accomplished equestrian and serves as vice president of The Stronach Group.

Fashion plays a huge role at Pegasus. How can we dress to impress?
NW: Fashion at the Pegasus is truly reflective of the sexy, modern and fresh Miami vibe. There are no rules, and we don’t want there to be any!

Tell us all about the VIP experience.
BS: The newly renovated Flamingo Room at Gulfstream Park will be the home of the premier VIP Pegasus World Cup luxury experience delivering the finest in hospitality and entertainment with panoramic race day views. Guests will be treated to a full-day gourmet food and beverage celebration curated by Swan and Bar Bevy. Guests will enjoy reserved seating trackside in The Flamingo Room and will have unlimited access to the Pegasus LIV Boardwalk featuring race day entertainment and post-race A-list headline performances. There really isn’t a bad seat in the house and we offer an incredible race day experience for everyone.

What are your tips on strategizing to pick a winner?
BS: There is no right or wrong way. From the experienced handicapper who will employ intense research and strategy to the casual fan who picks based on their favorite colors, the odds of winning and the rush of seeing your horse race are the same. This year, we will be introducing a new wager, the Pegasus Pick 24. It will offer the chance to bet on the exact finish order for both the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, adding another layer to the race day excitement. A whopping $5 million bonus awaits the lucky fan who hits on the Pegasus Pick 24, so come out and try your luck!

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Pegasus 2018 was a star-studded event. What celebs are expected to attend this year?
NW: Celebrity spotting is as much fun as watching the races. In just two short years the Pegasus World Cup has become a premier event on the racing calendar and a must-do event in Miami. We were thrilled to have had Post Malone, Pharrell, Lenny Kravitz, Olivia Culpo, Ludacris, Wilmer Valderrama, Carson Kressley and Prince Royce, to name just a few, at Pegasus last year and are expecting an equally incredible celebrity turnout in 2019. January 26, Gulfstream Park, pegasusworldcup.com



Photography by: HORSE RACING PHOTO COURTESY OF GULFSTREAM PARK; NICOLE WALKER PHOTO BY MACKENZIE CLARK; BELINDA STRONACH PHOTO BY SARAH DUNN