Frank Stronach is an octogenarian but that fact has not diminished the entrepreneurial aptitude he demonstrated as a young man, when he went from being a poor Austrian immigrant in Canada to founding and building Magna International, a giant auto-parts manufacturer and supplier.  Much later in life, he conceived and brought to fruition the world’s richest horse race, the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational.

The second annual running is at Gulfstream Park near Miami, Florida on Saturday, January 27, 2018.  Basically, Gulfstream sells twelve slots in the race, valued at $1 million each, to shareholders, who have several options.  They can start a horse they own or lease or sell their slot to another owner.  The $12 million purse money has been supplemented by The Stronach Group, bringing the total purse to $16 million (the purse in the inaugural year of 2017 was $12 million).

In conjunction with the Pegasus World Cup, Gulfstream is holding a high-stakes handicapping contest.  The buy-in is $12,000 to be bet on Friday and Saturday, with the Pegasus World Cup being a mandatory race to play.  In addition to Gulfstream, satellite facilities owned by Frank Stronach will allow bettors to participate for an extra fee of $1,000 that goes into the betting pool:  Golden Gate, Laurel Park, and Santa Anita.  Stronach Group-owned is another way bettors can join the competition.  The payout for first place in the contest is 50% of the pot (an estimated $250,000), with the second-place winner getting 14%, third place 10%, and so on.

The Pegasus World Cup instills some excitement into the racing calendar early in the year, preceding the beginning of fan interest in the major prep races for the Triple Crown.  Moreover, owners now have plenty of monetary incentive to keep top-flight horses running after the Breeders’ Cup–at least for one more race–before retiring them to stud.

Mr. Stronach’s creation has not only stirred interest among race fans, but it has given them a respite from winter as they await the annual focus on the Triple Crown races, with the promise of longer and warmer days.

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