Horse racetrack operator The Stronach Group held the inaugural edition of its Pegasus World Cup thoroughbred race last month at its Gulfstream Park Racing And Casino and the event reportedly saw more than 16,000 people cram into the Florida facility and wager in excess of $40 million.

According to a report from local radio broadcaster WFSU-FM, the January 28 event saw dozens of horses take part although Juddmonte Farms-owned Arrogate overcame fellow favorite California Chrome to win the showcase 1 1/8-mile main event with spectators that had paid the minimum $100 entrance fee comprising many local celebrities and politicians.

“The real intention of this race was to try to drag out the thoroughbred season for a champion horse,” Tim Ritvo, President for Gulf Stream Park Racing And Casino and Chief Operating Officer for Ontario firm The Stronach Group, told WFSU-TV. “So the idea [is] that horses [are] usually retired to stud because they’re so valuable. If we could put together a schedule of races where you have a $7 million Breeders Cup, a $10 million Dubai World Cup, a $12 million Pegasus Cup [and] maybe another, horses may race an extra year and maybe become stallions at five and six rather than [at] three or four. Fans could create more heroes as time goes by.”

One of North America’s largest thoroughbred horseracing firms in terms of revenues and holdings, The Stronach Group also owns California’s Santa Anita Park as well as Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore with Ritvo explaining that the Pegasus World Cup helped to pour money into the local Hallandale Beach economy as hotels filled up and race-goers ate at local restaurants.

“We came all the way here to see California Chrome because we love him,” race fan Laurie Robinson, who had traveled more than 1,000 miles from her home in Oklahoma to witness the race, told WFSU-TV. “He’s a wonderful horse. Win or lose whatever. He’s great.”

To enter the showcase final race, The Stronach Group revealed that each horse had been required to pay a $1 million entry fee with California Chrome eventually finishing in ninth after being pulled up by his jockey while Shamans Ghost, which had been bred at its very own Adena Stables, took second spot.

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