April 05, 2017

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) The richest horse race in the world is getting richer.

Organizers of the Pegasus World Cup revealed Wednesday that the purse for next year's race will be $16 million, an increase of $4 million from the inaugural version this year.

That means the winner would be in line to claim more than $9 million that day alone, a total that only eight horses running in North America have reached in their entire careers.

The race is set for Jan. 27, again at Gulfstream Park.

''The 2017 Pegasus World Cup Invitational surpassed our expectations and we believe took the sport of thoroughbred racing to an exciting new level,'' said Belinda Stronach, the chairman and president of The Stronach Group.

Stronach promised after the inaugural race that the next one would be ''better and better.''

By that, she also apparently meant bigger - since it's her group that's adding the $4 million to the purse, the rest of which comes from the $1 million fee that gets paid by the 12 owners of starting spots in the race.

The inaugural edition of the Pegasus at Gulfstream drew 16,653 fans - most of them paying $100 to get into a track that normally does not have any admission charge - and the day's handle was a track-record $40.2 million. Moving the race to another facility, possibly Santa Anita, was under consideration before the decision was made to return to Gulfstream.

Arrogate easily won a showdown with California Chrome to win the inaugural Pegasus. That win, followed by another victory in the Dubai World Cup, quickly vaulted Arrogate's career earnings to a record $17.1 million after only eight career starts. That's nearly $2.5 million more than the now-retired California Chrome, the previous record-holder, won in 27 races.

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