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Pegasus World Cup: The World’s Richest Race

One of the world’s newest and richest Thoroughbred races was run for the second time Jan. 27. The Pegasus Word Cup Invitational, which has a purse of $16 million, was run at Gulfstream Park in¬†Hallandale Beach, Fla. Until last year, the Dubai World Cup had been the world’s richest horse race at $10 million.

The Pegasus originally had a $12 million purse, but was bumped up to $16 million this year. It costs $1 million for owners to purchase a slot in the race, which only allows 12 horses ages four or older. If the owner chooses not to race their own horse, they may sell or lease their position. The race is nine furlongs, or 1 1/8 miles on the dirt track at Gulfstream Park.

The 2017 inaugural running of the Pegasus attracted top horses such as 2016 Breeder’s Cup Classic winner Arrogate, as well as California Chrome, who won the 2014 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and 2016 Dubai World Cup. Arrogate won over California Chrome, taking his place as the richest racehorse in the world with over $17 million in career earnings.

This year, 2017 Horse of the Year and Breeders Cup Classic winner Gun Runner won the Pegasus with ease. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Gun Runner added an additional $7 million to his previous $8 million in earnings, bringing him to a total of $15 million; second to Arrogate.

The prize money of the Pegasus was split as follows according to the official racing chart posted on Equibase:

  • 1st (Gun Runner): $7 million
  • 2nd (West Coast): $1.6 million
  • 3rd (Gunnevera): $1.3 million
  • 4th (Fear the Cowboy): $1 million
  • 5th (Seeking the Soul): $850,000

The remaining finishers, horses 6-12, each get $650,000 in prize money. Most standard races only give purse money to the top four finishers, giving 60 percent to the winner, 20 percent to the second place finisher, and so on. The Pegasus is unique in this aspect because not only does every horse win some amount of money, but its the owners purchasing the gate positions who make up the purse as well.

Arnaud Delacour, who has trained top-notch horses such as Divining Rod (3rd in the 2015 Preakness Stakes to American Pharoah), graded stakes winner Ageless and millionaire A.P. Indian, had good things to say about the Pegasus.

“All the horses who tried to go with Gun Runner and West Coast got their hearts broken. Gunnervera and Fear the Cowboy waited and picked up the pieces,” Delacour said. “Huge perf to Gun Runner considering he had to be used to get a position (Florent send him away from the gates) and was able to keep going.”

Gun Runner will be retiring to stud at Three Chimneys farm in Kentucky.

The race was posted on Gulfstream’s YouTube Channel and can be viewed below.

Fun Facts and Related Links:

  • Gun Runner and Arrogate competed together in the 2017 Dubai World Cup, which was won by Arrogate.
  • Gun Runner would avenge his loss to Arrogate by winning the 2017 Breeders Cup Classic.
  • Gun Runner was third in the 2016 Kentucky Derby

Related Links: