Gulfstream Park has restructured the Pegasus World Cup Invitational for 2019, and $16 million in purses will still be at stake on Jan. 26 — but split into two races.
The main track race, which has attracted the reigning Horse of the Year in each of its two runnings, has had its total purse reduced from $16 million to $9 million, with $4 million going to the winner, down from $7 million. It will no longer be the world’s richest race (the Dubai World Cup offers $10 million) but it will be the most lucrative race outside the Middle East.
The other $7 million has been redirected to a new turf race, with the winner’s share set at $3 million, also the richest outside the Middle East.
“The appetite for a turf race is strong and the decision to include a premier turf race is part of the ongoing evolution of the Pegasus World Cup,” Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President of The Stronach Group, said in a release announcing the changes.
The ante for owners to buy a starting spot is $500,000 per race. This is a 50 percent reduction from the $1 million it cost to secure a place in the starting gate in the first two editions of the Pegasus.
Considerable resistance last year to this price tag caused the buy-in to be substantially reduced for some horses in the final weeks before the race, in order to get 12 horses into the starting gate. Gulfstream did not release exactly what each owner paid but acknowledged some horses ran for less than the full purse because they paid less to get in.
In a bid to make the entry fees less onerous, a $1 million bonus will go to any owner whose horses sweep both races.
Tickets for the Pegasus will go on sale Oct. 1.