Straight off the presses via NBCsports.com, changes are brewing in what everyone refers to as a very turbulent year for Thoroughbred Racing. The Stronach Group, a top player in the world of racing, announced this week that their sought after purse at the re-known Pegasus World Cup in January would be drastically changed. In implementing this change purses would be lowered, fees to enter would be waived, a precentage would be donated to TB aftercare and more importantly the two large stakes races would be ran medication free. See the story below.
The fourth annual Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park will go entirely medication-free as the purse falls from $9 million to $3 million. The G1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational will also be run entirely drug-free and its purse will decrease from $7 million to $1 million. Also new in 2020, neither race will have an entry fee. The Stronach Group will donate 2 percent of the purses to Thoroughbred aftercare, which will contribute to rehabilitating and rehoming former racehorses.
Both races will run on Saturday, January 25, 2020 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida on NBC Sports from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.
This comes a month and a half after the group, which also owns Santa Anita, saw Mongolian Groom break down during the Breeders’ Cup Classic at the historic track in Arcadia, California. The decision to make both races medication-free comes in the wake of public backlash over drug use in the sport, particularly the anti-bleeding medication Lasix, and attempts at reform across the country.
“The Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series has always been about innovation,” Stronach Group President Belinda Stronach said in a press release. “The new and exciting medication-free format, along with giving back to horse care, showcases the leadership our industry is taking together to evolve beyond past achievements to create a more modern, sustainable and safer sport.”
Despite aggressive reforms at Santa Anita earlier this year, 37 horses died in less than 12 months at the track. In November, industry leaders, including Stronach, launched the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition. One of the coalition’s main pillars of reform was medication, testing and the horses’ overall wellbeing. The six founding members emphasized their hope that the industry will follow suit.