Off to the races! The 5th running of the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series was a star-studded event. Celebrities flocked to the horse race held at Gulfstream Park in South Florida on Saturday, January 23, 2021.
Six-time NBA All-Star Player and NBA’s Brooklyn Nets Assistant Coach Amar’e Stoudemire, rapper Tyga, NHL Hall of Famer Denis Savard, artist and former NFL player Brian Poli-Dixon, Sports Illustrated cover model Jasmine Sanders, Groot Hospitality founder David Grutman and model Isabela Rangel Grutman were some of the A-listers in attendance.
“The 2021 Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series was held under much different circumstances then all those that have come before it, but it did not disappoint,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President, 1/ST. “Today, thanks to the cooperation of the horsemen, our many partners, guests in attendance and the 1/ST team, the Pegasus World Cup successfully blended a day of safe, world-class Thoroughbred horse racing with a socially distant entertainment experience setting a new standard for events in our sport during the COVID-19 era.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, 1/ST helped transform Gulfstream Park into a socially distant entertainment experience, accommodating 1,500 fans at 15% of the average Pegasus World Cup capacity. COVID-19 safety measures were implemented for both spectators and riders. Guest’s temperatures were checked by thermal sensing cameras at all entrances and masks were required. Public spaces were regularly sanitized, and cashless wagering via the 1/ST BET app, which eliminated the handling of currency.
Guests were treated to the socially distant Pegasus Swan Garden pop-up, courtesy of 1/ST and Groot Hospitality, which featured an exclusive VIP experience in a “Tulum meets Swan” setting. 1/ST also collaborated with Miami’s Red Rooster Overtown to curate a menu of Southern classics as well as elevated drinks at the Gulfstream Park’s Flamingo Room. Guests were also able to cool down with beverages from Notorious Pink Rosé, Evian Natural Spring Water and Ferraelle Naturally Sparkling Water during the warm, sunny day.
Throughout the event, musical performances took place both at the track and off-site. At Gulfstream Park, Miami-born America’s Got Talent Season 12 semi-finalist Yoli Mayor performed the national anthem. Taylor Semple, a.k.a. “DJ Kiss,” provided beats trackside at the Pegasus Swan Garden. Aloe Blacc also appeared as part of NBC’s Pegasus World Cup in-broadcast performance. He sang hits like “I Need a Dollar,” “The Man,” and “Wake Me Up,” live from the Red Rooster Overtown as a tribute to Miami’s diverse and vibrant culture.
The $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational race was won by Colonel Liam, who is owned by Robert and Lawana Low and was ridden by the Award-winning Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. and trained by Todd Pletcher. The $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational race was won by Knicks Go, who is owned by Korea Racing Authority and was ridden by award-winning jockey Joel Rosario and trained by Brad Cox. Knicks Go also gained an automatic entry in the 2021 $20 million Saudi Cup race.
Stronach presented the winning owners of the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational and Pegasus World Cup Invitational with crystal Pegasus trophies provided by the official trophy partner, Baccarat. The winning trainers and jockeys from the Pegasus World Cup Championship Series races were presented with Championship Rings designed by local Miami jeweler, BooDaddy Diamonds.
Even though the event space was only open at 15% capacity, total handle for the 2021 Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series topped $40.7 million dollars, which is the third-highest handle in the race’s history. The success was due in part to the success of the 1/ST BET app, which uses AI-technology to deliver a user-friendly mobile wagering experience suitable for everyone from the experienced horseplayer to the first-time bettor.
The 2021 Pegasus World Cup Invitational and Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational boasts a medication-free format that is consistent with the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA) standards. It reflects the commitment that 1/ST made in April 2019 to eliminate Lasix in all graded stakes races in 2021.