Stronach Group Buys Three Pegasus World Cup Slots

Race promoters the Stronach Group have bought three unsold places for the 2018 Pegasus World Cup after only nine of the 12 field slots found buyers by the deadline on December 15.
The Stronach Group will now attempt to find suitable horses to fill the three slots before the $US16 million race to be run at Gulfstream Park in Florida in January. Each slot costs $US1 million.
Stronach Group CEO Tim Ritvo is confident his team will negotiate deals to fill the three vacant slots.
“We put up the extra money to protect the purse of $16 million,” Ritvo said. “Now it’s up to us to cut deals with people who may want to run.
“It could be a 50-50 deal or we could sell the entire spot to someone. There are still a lot of horses out there who are possibilities.”
Ritvo said he was delighted with the quality of the horses that have committed to the race as they include five of the first six to finish in the Breeders Cup Classic in November.
“Yes, we wish we had all 12 slots sold by now, but those things happen,” Ritvo said.
“We are thrilled with what we have. It’s our second year and there are still growing pains.
“This race has extended the racing careers of at least two horses, Gun Runner and Stellar Wind, and that never would have happened without this race.
“It’s great for racing to get to see these horses run again.”
The horses whose connections have secured Pegasus World Cup slots are Breeders Cup Classic winner Gun Runner, West Coast, Toast Of New York, Gunnevera, War Story, Collected, Stellar Wind and Seeking The Soul.
The ninth spot was purchased earlier by Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs Farm, which is yet to determine the horse it will use to fill the slot.
The major omission from the list was Breeders Cup Distaff winner Forever Unbridled, owned by Charles Fipke.
Fipke instead bought a slot for her Dallas Stewart-trained stablemate Seeking The Soul, a last start G1 winner of the Clark Handicap.
Possibles to fill the three open slots include Cigar Mile winner Sharp Aztecta, recent G3 winner Prime Attraction and the Todd Pletcher-trained Destin.
Trainer Jorge Navarro said Sharp Azteca’s owner Ivan Rodriguez wants to run but cannot make a commitment to the Pegasus World Cup because he is in the process of negotiating a deal to sell an interest in the six-time stakes winner.
The fist running of the Pegasus World Cup was worth $12 million but was a costly exercise for participants whose horses did not finish in the top three. Their return on their $1 million slot investment was $350,000.
The Stronach Group has added $4 million to this year’s prize pot while keeping the cost of a slot at $1 million. This guarantees a minimum return of $650,000 to all starters in 2018.

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