Then There Was One: Stronach Group Makes Deals For Two Of Final Three Pegasus Slots

The following appeared in The Paulick Report January 13th. The $16 Million Pegasus World Cup, richest horse race in the world, is slated for Saturday January 27th at Gulfstream Park. Virginia-bred Stellar Wind, just named Mid-Atlantic Horse of the Year for the second time in three years, is expected to be in the elite field. Racing fans can wager the action at a Virginia Bets OTB — in Richmond at Breakers Sports Grille and Ponies & Pints, and at Buckets Bar & Grill in Chesapeake. Virginia residents can also bet on line via four partner companies —,, and

Just nine of a possible 12 spots in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup had been sold by the deadline in mid-December, so The Stronach Group had to get creative to fill the remainder of the starting gate in the world’s richest horse race. According to, TSG marketed those three remaining spots to horse owners for free, with the stipulation that the owner would receive only half of the horse’s earnings above the $1 million price of the spot. The other half of those earnings will be distributed to owners who purchased slots prior to the deadline.

War Story, shown here galloping at Del Mar prior to the Breeders’ Cup. Photo by Eric Kalet.

“We felt like we had to do it this way because we didn’t want to give the last three people any better deal than anyone else,” said chief operating officer Tim Ritvo. “And I think in talking to everyone that they all think this is a great way to do it.”

Two of the three Stronach Group spots have already been signed for by Giant Expectations, last-out winner of the G2 San Antonio Stakes, and Ron Paolucci’s War Story. Interestingly, Paolucci also owns one of the original spots in the Pegasus starting gate, but the owner brokered a deal to have Sharp Azteca race in that spot to give himself “the best chance to recoup” his money.

The winner of the Jan. 27 Pegasus World Cup earns a prize of $7 million, but if either War Story or Giant Expectations were to win the race, each would be eligible for $3 million in prize money under The Stronach Group’s alternative structure. If those two finish fourth or worse, their owners get no payout whatsoever (with a net loss to TSG of $350,000).

Probable entrants in the second running of the Pegasus World Cup are as follows: Gun Runner, Sharp Azteca, Gunnevera, Collected, West Coast, Stellar Wind, Toast of New York, Seeking the Soul, Game Over, War Story, and Giant Expectations. Frank Stronach also owns one of the spots in the starting gate, but has yet to reveal which horse might represent him in the race.