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View Full Version : in defense of the Pegasus- what it's REALLY about


dilanesp
01-26-2018, 07:41 PM
Jay Hovdey, for the second year in a row, has published a screed against his least favorite race, the Pegasus, in the Racing Form. It's behind a paywall, but you have heard all the arguments-- it's only a mile and an eighth, the purse is phony and needlessly complicated, it's not a true world championship as billed because it is run at the start of the racing season, etc.

All of those arguments (plus cj's arguments here about timing and runup) are very legitimate. But they also kind of miss the point.

And I don't just mean the point of "this race has now drawn 2 very good fields in 2 years", although we do know that. I mean something else as well.

To really understand why the Pegasus exists, and why it is a good thing, you need to understand that something really damaging has happened to American racing over the past 22 years.

This country used to basically have a monopoly on good dirt racing. There were some dirt tracks in South America, but the purses were much lower and the quality of competition much weaker. And there were some equitracks, which later became polytracks, scattered throughout the world, but those weren't real dirt and most of them also featured weaker racing than in the US.

In 1996, Dubai, flush with tons of oil money, shattered the monopoly. They created a dirt race worth $5 million. And immediately drew the best dirt horse in the world, Cigar, to run in it. And almost immediately, they became a MAJOR player, with horses shipping over every year and taking several months off from American racetracks to do it. The Dubai World Cup decimated the dirt handicap division, traditionally the strongest division in American racing.

Notably, Dubai has tried to do this in other sports too. But they haven't succeeded-- their tennis and golf tournaments are good, for instance, but they haven't displaced the majors. In horse racing, though, they completely succeeded.

And no race has been hurt more by this than the Santa Anita Handicap, the flagship race at Frank Stronach's flagship track.

The Santa Anita Handicap was itself the Dubai World Cup of the 1930's. It came around at a time when the eastern tracks had a monopoly on good dirt racing and controlled the handicap division. California, like Dubai in the 1990's, was just starting out (we legalized parimutuel betting in 1933, and Santa Anita opened on Christmas Day 1934). It offered an enormous purse, $100,000, which was something like four times the purse of the major handicap races in the East. And it drew all the eastern stars-- Equipoise, Twenty Grand, and Head Play ran in the inaugural running.

The Santa Anita Handicap even had its own Cigar which gave the race legitimacy-- Seabiscuit, who lost photo finishes (itself a new technology) in 1937 and 1938, was injured while his stablemate won in 1939, and then won the thing in 1940 in the last race of his career. Soon, everyone in American racing wanted to win the Santa Anita Handicap. Whirlaway was actually in training out here in December 1941 coming off his triple crown year, when Pearl Harbor was bombed and Santa Anita closed for the war. After the war, Calumet sent Derby winners Citation and Ponder out here to try to win the race, and for years, the Big Cap was the strongest race of the winter. A laundry list of Hall of Famers, from Round Table to Ack Ack to Affirmed to Spectacular Bid to John Henry to Alysheba, won the race.

The Santa Anita Handicap has been destroyed by Dubai. Since 1996, almost every year, horses who would have run in the Santa Anita Handicap have run in Dubai instead. The Pacific Classic, first run in the 1990's at Del Mar, has become the strongest handicap division race on the west coast. In the last couple of decades, only one Santa Anita Handicap has really lived up to the great races of the past-- 2014, where three top horses, for various reasons, were not shipped to Dubai, and we got a great race, won by Game on Dude over the winner and runner-up of the previous year's Breeders' Cup Classic in 1:58 flat, the second fastest 1 1/4 miles on dirt in racing history.

But we are unlikely to see another 2014 Big Cap again (or if we do, it won't happen for another 20 years or so).

Frank Stronach knows this. When he bought Santa Anita, the Big Cap was still a big deal. It produced either the biggest, second biggest, or third biggest live crowd of every season. It always drew 20,000 and sometimes drew 30,000. And it was still drawing some good horses. He has presided over the destruction of the Big Cap. And it was Dubai that killed it.

So what did Stronach do? I really, really, cannot express how much I love what he did. He created a race that used a complicated purse structure to reclaim the label "richest race in the world" from Dubai. And he put it earlier in the year so that he can get horses retiring to stud to run in his race, whereas they won't stick around and run in Dubai. He has created a bigger, better race than the Dubai World Cup, and holds it at one of his tracks. Here in America.

American racing needed this. We couldn't afford to have a middle eastern oil-rich sheikhdom steal the title of "biggest dirt race of the year". We needed to fight back. And for Stronach, it was also personal-- he needed to stand up to the people who ruined his big winter race.

He did just that.

Embrace the Pegasus. Despite the run-up, despite the distance, despite the timing problems, despite the dishonesty about the purse. Embrace it. It's great for American racing.

SkunkApe
01-26-2018, 07:53 PM
That was a good read.

Well done.

cj
01-26-2018, 08:34 PM
You have to log in at DRF, but you now get 30 free ones per month...just an FYI.

Redboard
01-26-2018, 08:37 PM
To blame the decline of Santa Anita on Dubai is simplistic. Itís way more complicated than that. Competition is supposed to help the quality of a product, itís the American way. Why didnít Santa Anita raise their purses to compete with Dubai? We all know the answer to that.
Nice read though. I do like the Pegasus and will watch every race tomorrow. I just wonder how long Gulfstream can sustain losing money every year on the event.

dilanesp
01-26-2018, 09:17 PM
To blame the decline of Santa Anita on Dubai is simplistic. Itís way more complicated than that. Competition is supposed to help the quality of a product, itís the American way. Why didnít Santa Anita raise their purses to compete with Dubai? We all know the answer to that.
Nice read though. I do like the Pegasus and will watch every race tomorrow. I just wonder how long Gulfstream can sustain losing money every year on the event.

The answer to your question is that Dubai has so much money they were able to keep their purse above even the BC Classic, which has stallion subscription fees. There is no way the Big Cap could ever offer a competitive purse to Dubai.

You needed a new model- the Pegasus- to do it.

Tom
01-26-2018, 09:31 PM
The Pegasus, more than Dubai will ensure the Big Cap never returns. Why not run when you get all that money for just showing up?

Just what racing needs, a miserable excuse of a race put on miserably. GP has run 10 furlong races before. There is no excuse for the flippant way GP runs its business. Timing races is not an added bonus.

The Pegasus is not doing anything for American racing - just a handful of stables.

It is a sham and a not a solution to anything. It is just Franky thinking only about Franky again. SA is in trouble because of its own stupid management and ownership. And frankly, who cares? SA is NOT the center for the racing world, no matter what Franky tells you. Those days are long gone, along with real race horses who could run in both the Big Cap and Dubai. This rewards those who are scared to race their horses.

thaskalos
01-26-2018, 09:35 PM
And if the oil sheiks in Dubai decide to raise the purse of their marquee race to $20 million, is Gulfstream obligated to increase the purse of the Pegasus even higher...because "American racing needs this"?

cj
01-26-2018, 09:53 PM
And if the oil sheiks in Dubai decide to raise the purse of their marquee race to $20 million, is Gulfstream obligated to increase the purse of the Pegasus even higher...because "American racing needs this"?

If I were Frank I would make it a $125,000,000. Just sell the slots for $10,000,000 and guarantee every horse will get back $9,750,000. If you're going to make up a fake number might as well make it a good one.

Tom
01-26-2018, 10:02 PM
Well, there goes my Kelco Class Calculator out the window!

VigorsTheGrey
01-26-2018, 10:40 PM
I still think it is a SHAM that any entrant gets credited with $400,000 purse earnings on his career TOTALS just for running, no matter where they finish...that's a big deal from a potential breeding perspective and could catapult a mid-range earner to one that "earned" over 1 million in purses...PHONEY earnings INFLATION that an owner "pays for"...

ultracapper
01-26-2018, 11:04 PM
Good read. Solid logic.

The Pegasus is a step in the right direction, applying your logic, but it is an imperfect product. Hopefully the Stronach Group continues with the effort, both with the "fight back" effort, and with the effort, commitment, and energy to find the right "weapon" to fight back with. I believe it's a hard argument to make that the Pegasus in it's present form is the solution.

What ever one may think about the man and the organization, they are heads above any other industry player in working to bring the game back to a standing in the American psyche.

dilanesp
01-26-2018, 11:08 PM
If I were Frank I would make it a $125,000,000. Just sell the slots for $10,000,000 and guarantee every horse will get back $9,750,000. If you're going to make up a fake number might as well make it a good one.

Right. And the point is to be able to claim that you are the richest, because that stops the inflationary spiral.

Dubai isn't going to keep raising the purse if they can never be the richest race and they can never get the horses going to stud like Stronach can. This is the beauty of this race.

ultracapper
01-26-2018, 11:13 PM
As soon as you see Pegasus in the pps, you'll understand the horse's lifetime "money earned". Breeders know their side of the game. I don't think money earned in the Peg will fool them.

Out of curiosity, does anybody think that TSG would ever exercise the action of refusing an entry into the race? Just saying, "No, we aren't going to let you race that horse in here".

VigorsTheGrey
01-26-2018, 11:51 PM
The Orientals can up the purses to ANY AMOUNT they want to...they have more oil money than...well, you know who...

cj
01-27-2018, 12:03 AM
The Orientals can up the purses to ANY AMOUNT they want to...they have more oil money than...well, you know who...


Orientals? Huh?

VigorsTheGrey
01-27-2018, 12:39 AM
Orientals? Huh?

Sorry, "Orient" is an archaic use for "Near East" which Dubai is part of...I'm Old School when it comes to geographical and cultural terms...

"Orientals" are now considered to be "Far Easterners" ...but it didn't used to be this way...

Occident (Europe)
Orient (Near East)
Far East (China, Japan,etc)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oriental_studies

VigorsTheGrey
01-27-2018, 01:06 AM
Sorry, "Orient" is an archaic use for "Near East" which Dubai is part of...I'm Old School when it comes to geographical and cultural terms...

"Orientals" are now considered to be "Far Easterners" ...but it didn't used to be this way...

Occident (Europe)
Orient (Near East)
Far East (China, Japan,etc)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oriental_studies
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Portal:Oriental_languages_and_literature

depalma113
01-27-2018, 04:01 AM
Ummmm....A west coast based horse won both the Pegasus and the Dubai World Cup last year.

If Stronach was trying to save the Big Cap, this was an incredibly stupid way to try it.

fiznow
01-27-2018, 04:07 AM
Yes I think it's a competition Stronach aginst Dubai too.
Why do you think Sheik Al Maktoum didn't send a horse to the Pegasus Cup?
He always runs horses in the Breeders Cup races though.

VigorsTheGrey
01-27-2018, 04:13 AM
Yes I think it's a competition Stronach aginst Dubai too.
Why do you think Sheik Al Maktoum didn't send a horse to the Pegasus Cup?
He always runs horses in the Breeders Cup races though.Putting up your own money would be too much like gambling which I think might be prohibited but I'm no expert on the religious stuff..

Fager Fan
01-27-2018, 08:50 AM
If I were Frank I would make it a $125,000,000. Just sell the slots for $10,000,000 and guarantee every horse will get back $9,750,000. If you're going to make up a fake number might as well make it a good one.

Out of curiosity, how fake did you call all the times where the Sheikh won the DWC (or any of the races, or any $ winning position) and simply paid himself?

Fager Fan
01-27-2018, 08:55 AM
I still think it is a SHAM that any entrant gets credited with $400,000 purse earnings on his career TOTALS just for running, no matter where they finish...that's a big deal from a potential breeding perspective and could catapult a mid-range earner to one that "earned" over 1 million in purses...PHONEY earnings INFLATION that an owner "pays for"...

Breeders aren't quite as stupid as you think. They don't care about purse earnings. They care about having black type, on a sliding scale of minor black type up to G1 winner. How much they earned for winning that G1 isn't relative to looking at the horse's breeding merits.

Fager Fan
01-27-2018, 09:03 AM
Putting up your own money would be too much like gambling which I think might be prohibited but I'm no expert on the religious stuff..

Uh, he puts up his own money for the DWC. And maybe every other race in Dubai, as I have no idea how they're funded given that betting is against the law in Dubai.

Lemon Drop Husker
01-27-2018, 09:17 AM
I thought the Pegasus was going to be a major flop.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

This year's field is outstanding. Easily argued that it is better than the BC Classic as the top 5 finishers are entered along with the great stories of Stellar Wind and Toast of New York along with Sharp Azteca.

Toss in a $3.6 million Rainbow 6 carryover and the dreary days of January have some serious excitement today.:jump:

onefast99
01-27-2018, 09:23 AM
As soon as you see Pegasus in the pps, you'll understand the horse's lifetime "money earned". Breeders know their side of the game. I don't think money earned in the Peg will fool them.

Out of curiosity, does anybody think that TSG would ever exercise the action of refusing an entry into the race? Just saying, "No, we aren't going to let you race that horse in here".
They are close to that every Navarro horse is at the detention barn 48 hours prior to the races. Since he is at GPW where security is non-existent that in itself has to be considered as close to "vetting" the entries as you can get, legally.

Tom
01-27-2018, 12:14 PM
Dubai pus on a first class event.
This the freaking DONN operating under an alias, one that has been used already at the Meadowlands. Even the name if phony! :pound::pound::pound:

dilanesp
01-27-2018, 12:37 PM
Ummmm....A west coast based horse won both the Pegasus and the Dubai World Cup last year.

If Stronach was trying to save the Big Cap, this was an incredibly stupid way to try it.

He wasn't trying to save the Big Cap. The Big Cap is done.

He was fighting back against the people who destroyed it.

dilanesp
01-27-2018, 12:38 PM
Putting up your own money would be too much like gambling which I think might be prohibited but I'm no expert on the religious stuff..

Those rules are for the little people over there. The ruling class doesn't follow them.

GMB@BP
01-27-2018, 12:48 PM
Beyond all the talk about purse structure and how the race value is phony the bottom line is for two years running the horse of the year stayed in training, and this year its as good a race as the BC Classic or better.

Beats the old Donn handicap this weekend,

cj
01-27-2018, 01:21 PM
Out of curiosity, how fake did you call all the times where the Sheikh won the DWC (or any of the races, or any $ winning position) and simply paid himself?

That isn't the same thing. The money is actually up for grabs. That isn't the case for the Pegasus. About half the money is never in play. Listing the purse at 16 million is fake, as are the earnings the horses will be credited with after the race. Surely you can see that.

Like I said, it has turned out to be a great race and the purse is better than the Classic in reality. I just don't see the point of making up fake numbers.

dilanesp
01-27-2018, 01:50 PM
That isn't the same thing. The money is actually up for grabs. That isn't the case for the Pegasus. About half the money is never in play. Listing the purse at 16 million is fake, as are the earnings the horses will be credited with after the race. Surely you can see that.

Like I said, it has turned out to be a great race and the purse is better than the Classic in reality. I just don't see the point of making up fake numbers.

The point is to prevent Dubai from claiming the title of world's richest race and to disincentivize them from further jacking up the DWC purse.

cj
01-27-2018, 02:01 PM
The point is to prevent Dubai from claiming the title of world's richest race and to disincentivize them from further jacking up the DWC purse.

But any idiot can figure out it is a lie.

Tom
01-27-2018, 02:03 PM
No matter what they call it, Dubai is the real WORLD cup.
GP will NEVER come close to that.

The Pegasus Donn is as far as it goes! :lol:
And what is stopping Dubai from doing the exact same phony purse
thing as Franky is doing....other than class and integrity, that is.

dilanesp
01-27-2018, 02:24 PM
But any idiot can figure out it is a lie.

Not necessarily. I bet lots of people- especially folks who are not industry insiders- just assume a $16 million purse is a $16 million purse.

Whuch is really all GP's marketing department needs.

dilanesp
01-27-2018, 02:26 PM
No matter what they call it, Dubai is the real WORLD cup.
GP will NEVER come close to that.

The Pegasus Donn is as far as it goes! :lol:
And what is stopping Dubai from doing the exact same phony purse
thing as Franky is doing....other than class and integrity, that is.

You just are refusing to acknowledge reality. This isn't the Donn and it is a better race than the DWC. because horses hold off going to stud for it.

fiznow
01-27-2018, 02:27 PM
Putting up your own money would be too much like gambling which I think might be prohibited but I'm no expert on the religious stuff..

Well I remember the sheik said once, betting is not allowed in Dubai, so we call it Pick 6 contest and so on. Seems pretty cool to me. ;)

fiznow
01-27-2018, 02:30 PM
You just are refusing to acknowledge reality. This isn't the Donn and it is a better race than the DWC. because horses hold off going to stud for it.

Holding off horses going to stud makes it a better race???

Tom
01-27-2018, 02:42 PM
Whuch is really all GP's marketing department needs.

Franky is counting on the ignorance of people?

PaceAdvantage
01-27-2018, 02:52 PM
So far, in its first two runnings, it's attracted the best fields of the year...this year's field is pretty damn awesome...and last year we had CC vs. Arrogate...

It's done its job thus far...I'm not going to complain too much from a fan perspective.

dilanesp
01-27-2018, 03:02 PM
Franky is counting on the ignorance of people?

As are you, every time you place a bet.

Tom
01-27-2018, 03:05 PM
I'm not a track owner.
I don't have customers.

Hey, love the race - just don't pee on my boots and tell me it's raining. It is a fake purse. And I bet you it is mis-timed today.
Truly world-class.

Fager Fan
01-27-2018, 04:11 PM
That isn't the same thing. The money is actually up for grabs. That isn't the case for the Pegasus. About half the money is never in play. Listing the purse at 16 million is fake, as are the earnings the horses will be credited with after the race. Surely you can see that.

Like I said, it has turned out to be a great race and the purse is better than the Classic in reality. I just don't see the point of making up fake numbers.

Look, you guys need to get over this. It took putting up this kind of money to get the horses, to get the crowd, to get it on freaking NBC. So what if they have to make this palatable to the slot owners and worked with them to do so, tweaking it here, tweaking it there. They're trying to grow it into a mainstay and it's a huge idea in its infancy.

It doesn't affect a single one of you negatively. It doesn't harm the horses or racing. It's a good thing, giving a card that people are staying home to watch all day. So let it go already. No, we can't compete on an equal level with a man who takes the resources of a country as his own. But if this works, it may replace the DWC for Americans, keeping our runners here instead of losing up to half a year of racing in America after going to Dubai.

This is all good. Don't *itch about it.

Fager Fan
01-27-2018, 04:14 PM
But any idiot can figure out it is a lie.

What about putting on the DWC where basically it's only the home track for your own runners? Where many have to undergo severe travels? It's a great way for him to have a big advantage giving his own horses black type?

This has never occurred to anyone here? Just the nonsense that a $16m purse is a "lie" (which it's not, as it's the purse amount, period, no matter how far they pay out).

cj
01-27-2018, 04:17 PM
What about putting on the DWC where basically it's only the home track for your own runners? Where many have to undergo severe travels? It's a great way for him to have a big advantage giving his own horses black type?

This has never occurred to anyone here? Just the nonsense that a $16m purse is a "lie" (which it's not, as it's the purse amount, period, no matter how far they pay out).

Two totally different things. And yes, it is a lie, even if you can't figure it out.

Fager Fan
01-27-2018, 04:21 PM
I'm not a track owner.
I don't have customers.

Hey, love the race - just don't pee on my boots and tell me it's raining. It is a fake purse. And I bet you it is mis-timed today.
Truly world-class.

Boots? Cowboys don't whine. I envision you wear ballerina slippers.

Tom
01-27-2018, 04:21 PM
And yet they travel all over the world and show up to win.
How many traveled to run for this big purse?
How many were invited?

Fager Fan
01-27-2018, 04:24 PM
Two totally different things. And yes, it is a lie, even if you can't figure it out.

What's the purse? This is real simple, CJ. The amount paid out is the purse, whether you like it or not.

And black type means more than a single purse, so you need to step up and start a huge, loud, obnoxious campaign against the Dubai carnival like you do here.

cj
01-27-2018, 04:35 PM
What's the purse? This is real simple, CJ. The amount paid out is the purse, whether you like it or not.

And black type means more than a single purse, so you need to step up and start a huge, loud, obnoxious campaign against the Dubai carnival like you do here.

Frankly I don't care what they do in Dubai. I hate the place. I wouldn't accept an all expense paid trip to the race. But it really has nothing to do with the Pegasus, not a thing.

Lemon Drop Husker
01-27-2018, 04:51 PM
Frankly I don't care what they do in Dubai. I hate the place. I wouldn't accept an all expense paid trip to the race. But it really has nothing to do with the Pegasus, not a thing.

Fantastic.

Never been there but you hate the place.

fiznow
01-27-2018, 05:09 PM
What they do in Dubai is more about real horse racing then what they do at Gulfstream Park.

cj
01-27-2018, 05:09 PM
Fantastic.

Never been there but you hate the place.

What makes you think I've never been there? You create stuff out of thin air. I've been there and know a whole lot about it. Guarantee I know a lot more about it than you do.

dilanesp
01-27-2018, 05:19 PM
What they do in Dubai is more about real horse racing then what they do at Gulfstream Park.

I don't think disallowing ordinary citizens from betting while the ruling class bets in the European book shops is more about real racing.

Nor do I think using a dictatorship's oil riches to subsidize purses and buy the best horses while destroying traditional big races is about real racing.

I far prefer GP, with all of its problems, to Dubai.

Lemon Drop Husker
01-27-2018, 05:23 PM
What makes you think I've never been there? You create stuff out of thin air. I've been there and know a whole lot about it. Guarantee I know a lot more about it than you do.

OK.

Why do you hate it?

cj
01-27-2018, 05:30 PM
OK.

Why do you hate it?

Political, so don't want to get into it on the racing section.

PaceAdvantage
01-27-2018, 06:13 PM
The Pegasus was all about the RING man...and nobody wanted it in the end...:lol:

spiketoo
01-27-2018, 06:22 PM
This does nothing for American racing. It's just a vanity project for Frankie who can at least say for a few months to whomever will listen 'hey, mine is bigger than yours.'

Tell you what Frankie - since you (allegedly) put up $4M of your 'own' (not including the last 3 slots you had to buy and pawn), how about for this one race giving us players the same 'invitation' as you do the owners. I will put up $2K in advance to bet if you guarantee me a 65% rebate as you do the owners.

Not a bad race in the end but just another race. Does GR's stud fee increase even more due to another (albeit fake) G1 victory? Though I guess most black-type definitions are arbitrary.

Fager Fan
01-27-2018, 07:34 PM
Political, so don't want to get into it on the racing section.

When the head of that country is also the owner of the track, Darley, and Godolphin, your politics (and ours) are relevant, though I'll give you if you still don't want to talk about it.

I have no desire to go there, therefore I don't think a free trip makes up for an awfully long plane ride to a place I have no desire to go.

cj
01-27-2018, 07:36 PM
When the head of that country is also the owner of the track, Darley, and Godolphin, your politics (and ours) are relevant, though I'll give you if you still don't want to talk about it.

I have no desire to go there, therefore I don't think a free trip makes up for an awfully long plane ride to a place I have no desire to go.

It is a PA.com rule, no politics in the horse sections. Maybe this week I'll start a thread in off topics.

Grits
01-27-2018, 07:54 PM
It is a PA.com rule, no politics in the horse sections. Maybe this week I'll start a thread in off topics.

I ain't holding my breath on this one. As I recall all the "stans" you've been in that surround Dubai. ;)

JustRalph
01-27-2018, 08:04 PM
It is a PA.com rule, no politics in the horse sections. Maybe this week I'll start a thread in off topics.

Oh my! Please!