The Pegasus World Cup Invitational, the planned $12 million race announced by The Stronach Group earlier this year, has been granted Grade I status for its inaugural running in 2017, the American Graded Stakes Committee announced Friday.
The American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association voted to assign Grade I status to the Pegasus World Cup as the race will replace the Grade I Donn Handicap on the Gulfstream Park stakes schedule. At its first meeting after the 2017 Pegasus World Cup, most likely in April 2017, the committee will evaluate the 2017 running and nomination process and race conditions for any 2018 renewal.
The Pegasus World Cup is the vision of Frank Stronach, founder and Honorary Chairman of The Stronach Group, and has the highly unique condition in that 12 entrants pay $1 million each to buy a spot in the race’s starting gate. The entrant can then race, lease, contract or share a starter or sell their place in the starting gate.
During a media briefing at Pimlico Race Course in May, it was announced that all 12 spots had been purchased by California Chrome LLC, Coolmore, Jerry and Ronald Frankel, Sol Kumin and James Covello, Jim McIngvale, J. Paul Reddam; Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Ruis Racing, Daniel Schafer; Starlight Pegasus Partners; The Stronach Group, and Jeff Weiss of Rosedown Racing Stables.
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Original entrants will have the first option to participate in future Pegasus World Cup races. All entrants will not only be competing for what would be the world’s largest purse but will also share equally in 100 percent of the net income from handle, media rights, and sponsorships from the Pegasus World Cup.
The Pegasus World Cup is set to be contested at Gulfstream Park January 28, 2017 at 1 1/8-miles on dirt for horses 4-year-olds and up.
The Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse currently stands as the world’s richest Thoroughbred race with its $10 million purse.