The world’s richest thoroughbred horse race, the Pegasus World Cup Invitational was run on Saturday, January 28th, at Gulfstream Park, Florida, and was won by 2016 Breeders Cup Classic Champion, “Arrogate” owned by Juddmonte Farms, winning the eye watering $12 million purse and the new crystal trophy created by Mark Raynes Roberts.
The vision of Mr. Frank Stronach, Founder and Honorary Chairman of The Stronach Group and Ms. Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President; the race attracted 17,000 race fans on race day to the world’s premier thoroughbred racing event at Gulfstream Park. With twelve owners having reserved their spot in the starting gate for $1 million USD, the race was run over a mile and an 1/8″ on dirt. The 12 places in the starting gate have been purchased for $1 million apiece the profits from the entire day were divided up among the gate owners, with the $12 million in entry fees making up the race’s purse. An innovation in horse racing and an exciting new spectacle on the racing calendar.
Mr. Stronach commissioned world renowned crystal artist and designer, Mark Raynes Roberts, to create the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational crystal trophy, who was inspired by the 112ft tall “Pegasus” bronze sculpture, which Mr. Stronach had erected at Gulfstream Park, Florida, which is part of The Stronach Group’s mission to attract a new audience to horse racing with the addition of a full entertainment package including luxury shopping, theme park and casino.
Mr. Stronach has known the artist for many years having first commissioned Raynes Roberts back in 1986 for Magna International Inc., the global auto-parts company he founded and ran for over fifty years which now has annual sales of $30 billion. Now focused on The Stronach Group and the evolution of horse racing into fully packaged entertainment experience, the artist created several crystal designs for Mr. Stronach to review which would capture the imagination of the race going public for the world’s richest horse race.
The newly designed trophy created by British born artist, Mark Raynes Roberts, stands 24″ tall and weighs 112lbs, and combines ten specially cut pieces of optical crystal with a detailed hand-engraved Pegasus. Based in Toronto, Canada for the past 35 years, Raynes Roberts has established a reputation and global following for his crystal art, and was present on race day to see the winning owner Juddmonte Farms Inc. receive his trophy from Belinda Stronach, Chairman, The Stronach Group, and her father Frank Stronach, Founder and Hon. Chairman. The race was televised live on NBC from 4.30pm – 6pm, and over $40 million was gambled on the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
“The trophy is an iconic symbol of the excitement, dedication and ultimate achievement of our sports’ athletes and owners. Befitting of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, the world’s richest Thoroughbred horse race, the grand, unique and multi-dimensional sculpture created by Mark Raynes Roberts, represents a new pinnacle of accomplishment for our fine sport” commented Belinda Stronach, Chairman, The Stronach Group.
“I am very proud to have created this prestigious thoroughbred trophy and appreciate the support Belinda and Frank Stronach has shown in my crystal art for over 35 years. Mr. Stronach is an extraordinary businessman and visionary, and it is an honour to be part of this exciting new event for thoroughbred horse racing in North America” commented Raynes Roberts.
The field of contenders for the 2017 Pegasus World Cup included “Arrogate,” winner of the 2016 Traver Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic and “California Chrome” winner of the 2014 Kentucky Derby, 2016 Dubai Gold Cup, Pacific Classic and Awesome Again Stakes, plus ten other top race horses including “Eragon,” “Keen Ice,” “Neolithic,” “Noble Bird,” “Prayer for Relief,” “Ralis,” “Shaman Ghost,” “War Envoy” and “War Story.” Unfortunately the anticipated battle between super horses “Arrogate” and “California Chrome” didn’t materialize as hoped, with Frank Stronach’s own entry Shaman Ghost coming in second place.
The Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakeholders, together with The Stronach Group, are on the leading edge of an industry game-changing catalyst to modernize the sport and engage a new generation of fans. The inaugural running of this industry-leading thoroughbred invitational exemplifies The Stronach Group’s commitment to modernizing and elevating the sport of horse racing for the next generation of fans, while providing lucrative opportunities for thoroughbred owners.
Pegasus World Cup Invitational (Video)