Stronach's Willingness to Take Shots Is Racing's Vanguard

Good morning everyone!

The big news yesterday that filtered twitter had to do with the announced ticket prices of the Pegasus World Cup, to be held at Gulfstream in January.

$100 to $765 sounds a bit steep to most, and I think that's true, but with a smaller venue, and  corporate sponsorship buying the seats, who knows. Plus, I hail from Toronto, where people pay $400 on a Saturday evening to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs. A couple hundred to watch the "world's best racehorses" might not be that bad at all.

Regardless, Frank Stronach makes us think and he makes us wonder. It looks like he is going to pull this off.  And in another 'who knows', one wonders if this could change horse racing.

This past week saw a couple of items in the news. Exaggerator was retired early, as we see so often in the sport, ho hum. And, the Thoroughbred Commentary piece on American Pharoah raised some eyebrows too.

From the piece, who is better, American Pharoah or California Chrome was broached, from an inside baseball, dirty laundry perspective. Whatever you may think, no one really knows, because, like Exaggerator, the cash in the breeding barn is too powerful to ever find out.

Most stud deals are not of the sweetheart variety like American Pharoah, however. But racing to breed beats racing to race, 10 times out of 10.

This is why what Frank is doing peaks my interest.

We now have $12 million for the Pegasus World Cup in January.

We have $10 million for the Dubai World Cup in March.

I wonder, if, say NYRA (after looking at the JCGC field this past week, and in past years where the race has simply lost its edge) follows suit and offers something out in May for the "World's Best Racehorses"

This made for TV 'Triple Crown' of greenbacks could (yes, I am projecting) total upwards of $30 million in purses over a six month period.

And, if a horse wins these races (or even one of three), not only do his connections earn some massive purse money, his stud value is sure to rise many millions, as well.

Would you retire a top three year old for $30 million in the fall, if you have a shot to race for $30 million at 4 before next May? Especially where your $30 million stud deal could be worth $40 or $50 million if you win a leg or two against top horses?

Most sports evolve and get better through trail and error. The playoffs are changed to include divisional series, and TV ratings and revenue are examined. Rule changes - a lot of times coming from fans -  are tried and tried again, and perfected. Horse racing can't do much of that because it's stuck in a strange, regulatory, alphabet and fiefdom bog that we all know well.

Horse racing changes, or experiments, only when there is someone there to take a shot.

Is Frank Stronach - one of the few willing to take shots - changing the game more than he thinks, with this crazy, wild, $100 to $765 a seat, $12 million dollar race? Time will tell.

But as Frank often does, he is sure making us wonder.


Ron said...

100 or 1000 dollars isn't going to affect me. I'm obviously not getting on a flight to Florida. I'll probably just watch the race as a fan anyway since it's at a venue I don't play. With that said, I've heard track after track saying they need to put more behinds in the seats. This seems like an odd way to do that and at the same time alienate the few regulars who actually go to Gulfstream. I guess I can expect the price to attend the Preakness to go up next year.

Tinky said...

Ludicrous. There are almost never enough top horses in one division to warrant such inflated purses.

Do you imagine that the fields for the Dubai World Cup are any better now than they were when the purse was a fraction of what it is now?

Pull the Pocket said...

DWC is half a world away.

Now, if this flies, there will be $22M up for grabs within three months, $27 million of you count the Classic.

In 3,4 or 5 years who knows if the paradigm has been changed. That's a lot of money.


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