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Pegasus World Cup: Horse Racing’s $12 Million Wager

Pegasus World Cup: Horse Racing’s $12 Million WagerFlorida’s Gulfstream Park next month will host a new race with the world’s largest purse in thoroughbred racing: the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational, run on dirt at 11/8 miles. But while the winnings are record-setting, the outsized purse isn’t the only thing about the Jan. 28 race that has set the racing world abuzz. The twist is in how the purse is funded, which has set off an international scramble to get in the gate.
 
Instead of coming from the track’s coffers, the $12 million is being put up by 12 entrants who paid $1 million each. The concept harks back to basics: Putting up cash for my-horse-is-faster-than-yours bragging rights.
 
Not all of these stakeholders have horses to enter. The $1 million buys only a stall in the starting gate, a space that can be leased, contracted, shared or sold.
 
The matter of acquiring an actual horse to enter has given rise to an unusual global matchmaking game, with stakeholders, some of whom are longtime leaders in racing who don’t happen to have the right horse, flirting with owners who do.
 
“I’ve received six calls and my trainer received one,” said Paul Pompa, whose horse Connect won the Pennsylvania Derby and as yet has no stall. “These are calls from respected horsemen.”
 

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