Gulfstream Park to Host Richest Horse Race Ever in January, With $12 Million in Payouts

South Florida, the land of excess, can now lay claim to another display of opulence: A horse race with $12 million in payouts was announced Wednesday. It is set for Jan. 28, 2017 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach.

The race, called the Pegasus World Cup, will be contested at 1 1/8 miles on dirt and was the idea of Frank Stronach, founder and honorary chairman of The Stronach Group. He’s also the guy who thought it’d be great to build a multi-million-dollar statue outside Gulfstream.

The Pegasus World Cup actually has an altruistic goal: to promote horse racing. It surpasses the Dubai World Cup, which has a $10 million purse.

There will be 12 entrants who will plunk down $1 million each to buy a spot in the Pegasus World Cup starting gate, but that financial structure makes it worthwhile. That’s because all entrants will not only be competing for the purse but they will also share equally in 100 percent of the net income from handle, media rights, and sponsorships from the Pegasus World Cup.

So it’s going to be a net win – enough to attract the best horses. And it will give racing fans plenty to talk about, so probably bring a bump in tourism and national media coverage of our fair region during a period when much of the rest of the nation is shivering.

Stronach, in a press release, noted the Jan. 28 date avoids a conflict with either the Breeders’ Cup or that Dubai World Cup. The Breeders’ Cup is in November, the Dubai World Cup in late March. Horse race about every two months, so those who follow the industry say it’s a good time. Organizers note that Stronach has been working on the plan for more than a year, and you have to give him credit: he’s willing to think big.

Stronach created Frankey’s Sports Bar at Gulfsteam, as well as the Adena Grill steakhouse, which he stocked with beef from cattle grown on his farm in central Florida. Then he oversaw every table and light fixture and flew in artists to paint the décor. That’s just how he rolls.

He also spent $30 million to install that statue of a Pegasus standing astride a dragon. It’s 11 stories tall, and weighs 715 tons. So the name for this huuuuge race came quite easily.

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