With another Pegasus on the books, Stronach looks ahead

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Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., center, riding Colonel Liam, looks back as he leads the peloton to the finish line during the Pegasus World Cup Turf horse race on Saturday, January 29 2022, at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

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The Pegasus World Cup will continue. It can even expand.

Planning is underway for the next Pegasus, now that the day marked by Gulfstream Park which hosts one of North America’s most profitable races is over for another year. And one idea on the table is to add a West Coast element to the Pegasus days, with 1/ST – the group that owns and operates Gulfstream – potentially looking to incorporate Santa Anita, another of its Southern California tracks. , in the mix.

“Stay tuned,” said Belinda Stronach, president and president of 1/ST. “It happens.”

There have now been six editions of the Pegasus, a race day that was met with skepticism when plans were first revealed in the mid-2010s. The format has changed almost every year; the purse structure for the Pegasus World Cup no longer requires owners to pay $1 million each for a place on the starting grid of what was, at its birth, the richest race in the world with up to ‘at $16 million.

Saturday’s flagship race won by Life Is Good featured a $3 million prize pool, much smaller than previous Pegasus races, but still quite significant given that only two Breeders’ Cup races last year offered prize money. biggest purses on an American track.

A Pegasus turf race was eventually added, a second turf race was added this year, and the last two iterations of Pegasus Day – when Gulfstream marries racing with a celebrity vibe, with some tickets costing over $1,000 just to enter the track – were pulled during a pandemic.

Stronach and his band are always on the hunt for the next big thing. And the growth – which she’s been looking for for some time when talking about the Pegasus brand – may not be far off.

“We’re going to keep doing Pegasus,” Stronach said. “We will continue to innovate around the platform. But we have incredible properties and incredible leads. Let’s organize our racing content so that Gulfstream Park doesn’t go over Santa Anita, let’s organize it properly, let’s build interesting themes around the east coast and the west coast.

And part of that could include changing the way some people bet.

“Just make it fun and exciting,” she said.

Racing has always had the same types of bets – win, place, show, exacta, trifecta and others. Not all visitors to a track understand how it works, let alone understand all of the data horse players lean into while handicapping a race.

But now, with Stronach’s group working on developing high-tech information like never before, the kind that can produce 50,000 data points from every horse in every race, even novice riders may be able to play with it. an app and better understand what’s going on. It’s a simple math: make more people feel comfortable betting, the handle will grow, the purses will grow, and the races will grow as needed.

“One of the things we’re always wondering about is how do we bring more attention to our sport, and that I think means simplification in terms of betting,” Stronach said. “Disability can be very intimidating. So we’re looking at simplification and we’ve made some progress on that. … It’s not far. It’s not far. »

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