Horse Racing

Arrogate tops California Chrome, nabs $12 million Pegasus World Cup prize

Pegasus World Cup International
Source: Gulfstream Park

Under the palm trees of Hallandale Beach, Florida on Saturday, the inaugural running of the world's richest horse race was held, with Arrogate sending rival California Chrome into retirement with a loss, and claiming a $12 million prize.

Arrogate has won six straight horse races, the last three being the Travers, the Breeders' Cup Classic and now the first ever running of a race that featuring the richest purse.

The Pegasus World Cup Invitational, which took place in the shadow of a $30 million, 110-foot-tall bronze statue of a Pegasus, is a one-of-a-kind horse race in more ways than one.

The race and the statue are the brainchild of 84-year-old billionaire Frank Stronach, whose company owns the venue, Gulfstream Park, as well as several other prominent racetracks.

Contestants ponied up $1 million for a dozen available starting slots that the Stronach Group sold in May. For that money, horse owners have a chance to win a $7 million purse and share in the net revenue generated by the race from wagering and various sponsors.

The dozen stakeholders — an odd array of ownership groups, wealthy horsemen, financiers and even a pizza franchisee — could lease or sell their slots to others. It's all fairly unprecedented for a thoroughbred race of this size.

"This could be the match race of the decade," said Belinda Stronach, chairman and president of the Stronach Group. She said she is a California Chrome fan, but is partial to Shaman Ghost, owned by Stronach Stables, who will be running along with nine other horses in the 1 1/8-mile race.

A rematch

Two of the world's most acclaimed thoroughbreds competed in the Pegasus World Cup: California Chrome and Arrogate.

California Chrome — the 2014 Kentucky Derby, Preakness winner and two-time Horse of the Year — ran his final race and will now retire to Kentucky. Chrome won six of the seven competitions he ran in last year, including the Dubai World Cup.

California Chrome's only loss last year? Well, that would be to none other than Arrogate, who managed a close victory in the 2016 Breeders' Cup Classic by a half of a length.

Before Pegasus set up shop, Dubai was considered the world's wealthiest, with a $6 million purse going to the winner.

Galloping with California Chrome

Arrogate not only beat the California Chrome in their Breeder's Cup matchup, but set a track and race record winning the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in August. He was named the 2016 Longines World's Best Racehorse by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.

Meanwhile, Stronach is hoping the Pegasus World Cup, held between the Breeder's Cup and the Dubai World Cup, can establish itself as another marquee event on the thoroughbred racing calendar.

"We are building a brand," Stronach said. If the race is successful businesswise, Stronach said she wants to roll out similar events at the company's other racetracks, which include Santa Anita Park and Pimlico Race Course.

--The Associated Press contributed to this report.