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.