Leading racing figure Frank Stronach has proposed creating a $12m race, which would be the richest in the world, in a bid to fix what he believes is racing’s biggest problem – its broken business model.
Frank Stronach, the founder of The Stronach Group, says the race would be called the Pegasus World Championship. It would be run at either Gulfstream or Santa Anita, over 1 1-4 miles on dirt and scheduled for January to avoid conflict with the Breeders’ Cup and Dubai World Cup.
The plan calls for attracting 12 shareholders who will each invest $1 million. Those shareholders could then enter one horse per share in the world championship race.
“We have to be aware the system doesn’t function anymore,” he said. “We have to look after the customer because of all the competition [from other forms of gambling].”
Stronach, whose company owns and operates six tracks including Gulfstream, Pimlico and Santa Anita, added: “Our racetracks are in great areas where land prices are enormously high. We look down the road and hope to sit down with the horse community so these places stay as racetracks.”
The basic idea is how can racing compete with other great sports?” Stronach said speaking at the Thoroughbred Owner Conference at Gulfstream Park.
“We’ve got to make things exciting, things the press will write about. We want to tell people that love horseracing that we say, ‘Look. We want to establish a new business.’ We would lease Gulfstream for one day and call it a new business.”
The conditions of the race are yet to be established but Stronach plans to “sit down with prospective shareholders and go into detail.”
He added: “A very interesting part of it is the owners would participate in all the winnings-handle, media rights, and sponsorship money. In the final analysis, we don’t think it would cost that much. Hopefully one day purses could be $20 million or $30 million.”
The richest race currently run worldwide is the $10 million Dubai World Cup.
It remains unclear when or if the Pegasus race could be first scheduled.