Pegasus World Cup boosted to $16m for 2018
$4m prize-money hike announced for second running of world's richest race
The world's richest race will be even richer in 2018 after a $4 million prize-money boost was announced for next year's Pegasus World Cup, which will be worth a total of $16m.
The news comes hot on the heels of Sheikh Mohammed's vow to increase the purse of the Dubai World Cup to again make it the number one race in the world in prize-money terms.
The Meydan showpiece was worth $10m when it was won last month in such spectacular fashion by Arrogate, who also won the inaugural Pegasus at Gulfstream Park near Miami in January, when it carried $12m in prize-money.
On Wednesday, the Stronach Group, whose founder Frank Stronach is behind the Pegasus concept, revealed that next year's purse will be raised to $16m for 2018. Despite suggestions that it might be moved to Santa Anita, the race will again be held at Gulfstream Park on January 17. Both Gulfstream and Santa Anita are racecourse within the Stronach Group of tracks.
The inaugural Pegasus World Cup, televised live by NBC, attracted more than $40m in betting handle. Next year's race will again be open to 12 owners (or 'stakeholders') who will put up $1 million apiece for a guaranteed spot in the starting gate, after which such places can be traded. The additional $4m in prize-money will be contributed by the Stronach Group.
"The 2017 Pegasus World Cup Invitational surpassed our expectations and, we believe, took the sport of thoroughbred racing to an exciting new level," said Frank Stronach's daughter Belinda, chairman and president of the Stronach Group. "In 2018, we will bring an even bigger, more modern and unforgettable entertainment experience to a global audience."
The news surely won't take long to reach Dubai, where Sheikh Mohammed, speaking in an interview with CNN Sports during this year's Dubai World Cup card, announced his intentions to raise the purse to ensure it was on top of the world once more.
World's richest races
1 Pegasus World Cup - $16m (£12.8m/€15.0m), Gulfstream Park, USA
2 Dubai World Cup - $10m (£8.0m/€9.4m), Meydan, UAE
3 The Everest - $A10m (£6m/€7.1m), Randwick, Australia
4 Dubai Turf - $6m (£4.8m/€5.65m), Meydan, UAE
=Dubai Sheema Classic - $6m (£4.8m/€5.65m), Meydan, UAE
=Breeders’ Cup Classic - $6m (£4.8m/€5.65m), different tracks in North America
7 Japan Cup - Y648m (£4.67m/€5.46m), Tokyo, Japan
=Arima Kinen - Y648m (£4.67m/€5.46m), Nakayama, Japan
9 Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe - €5m (£4.3m), Longchamp, France (at Chantilly again this year)
10 Melbourne Cup - $A6.2m (£3.8m/€4.4m), Flemington, Australia
(at current exchange rates)