Thoroughbred Racing

As an owner, my one overriding goal is simple and straightforward: to breed and develop an extraordinary horse, the kind that comes along once in a lifetime, one whose name will live on for generations. That’s what drives me.

My first thoroughbred was a horse named Miss Scooter, a chestnut-colored filly that cost $700. She won a couple of cheap claiming races and the money from those purses went toward buying additional horses so I could start building up my own stable. I’ve always believed that great horses carry great names—names that are unique, grab hold of your imagination and stick in your mind: Macho Uno, Awesome Again, Red Bullet, Perfect Sting, Glorious Song. More times than not, my horses have lived up to their billing.

The late 1990s were magical years for our stable. Our horse Touch Gold won the 1997 Belmont Stakes, the last leg of the Triple Crown. Touch Gold had some Northern Dancer blood in him, and he upset Silver Charm, a fan favorite that looked to be a lock on becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Secretariat. Winning the Belmont Stakes was a terrific feeling—a photographer captured the look of joy and triumph in a photo of me punching the air in victory.

The next year, another of our horses, Awesome Again, won the $5.1 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. It was, at the time, the richest stakes race ever run. The Breeders’ Cup Classic is known as the Super Bowl of thoroughbred horse racing—the best of the best. But this particular race in November 1998 is still considered by many in the sport to be the strongest field of all-star horses ever assembled—virtually every horse in the race was a proven winner, a fierce competitor. When you listen to a recording of the track announcer calling the race, shouting uncontrollably as Awesome Again bolts up the middle to grab the lead just before the finish line, it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

Awesome Again ran in a lot of tough races, and never lost once during that entire year. From the moment I saw him and gave him his name, I felt he had greatness in him. Around the time that Awesome Again was born, Magna had gotten back on its feet after a brush with bankruptcy and was starting to make tremendous strides. The company was setting new sales records and expanding rapidly into Europe. Magna had become “awesome again,” and so, in hindsight, it was fitting that I had given that name to a horse that had all the markings of a great champion.

One of our best horses over the last few years—perhaps our greatest horse ever in terms of pure talent and power—was Ghostzapper, the son of Awesome Again. He went undefeated in 2004 and again in 2005 and, like his dad, he won the Breeders’ Cup Classic. After he won the race, a number of reporters asked me about the meaning behind his name. I knew the Cup Classic was going to take place close to Halloween, and it got me thinking about ghosts, so Ghostzapper struck me as a perfect name. He could sprint or go a long distance. He could come from behind or take a commanding lead. And unlike his dad, who was not physically striking, Ghostzapper was an intimidating presence at the track, with a powerful physique and muscles that bulged beneath his sleek coat. He destroyed most of his opponents. No horse in the history of the world has been clocked at a faster speed.

Pegasus World Cup Invitational

Pegasus World Cup Invitational

Here is what Franks says:

” We wanted to create a classic race, like the Triple Crown or the Breeders’ Cup, that would attract the best horses in the world. But we also wanted to do something very innovative that had never been done before.

That’s where we came up with the idea of having 12 horse owners each kick in $1 million for a spot at the starting gate, with all of the owners sharing in the profits from the race and one of us going home with the biggest purse in history.

Finally, we wanted to enhance the entertainment around the race and offer not just great live racing but also great music and food and great fun—an overall unforgettable day at the racetrack.”

Link to official Pegasus World Cup website

Pegasus & Dragon the Monument

Origin & Background

  • In 2011, Frank Stronach, Founder and Honorary Chairman of The Stronach Group, drafted the initial rough sketch of a massive horse sculpture to honor the great contributions that horses have made to human civilization throughout history.
  • Five years later, the result of Frank Stronach’s tribute is Pegasus and Dragon, an iconic monument that pays homage to the courage, speed and power of the horse. The monument features Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology, standing triumphantly over a fallen dragon.

Structural Dimensions & Key Facts

  • Located on the north side of Gulfstream Park, Pegasus and Dragon is the world’s largest horse sculpture and one of the largest bronze statues ever made.
  • The sculpture is a marvel of modern-day engineering, cast in Germany and built by more than 500 workers, then shipped to Gulfstream in 1,250 bronze sections and 4,740 pieces of steel, where it was assembled piece by piece.
  • Measuring 110 feet in height and 115 feet in width, and weighing more than 450 tons, the sculpture is supported by a highly complex internal steel skeleton with massive steel girders anchored deeply into the rock formations below and is designed to withstand hurricanes.
  • The sculpture’s outer bronze layer, fastened to the steel structure in sections measuring six feet by nine feet, weighs more than half a million pounds and was fitted together with microscopic precision.
  • The entire bronze surface of the sculpture was then sandblasted, cleaned and given a patina application that involved heating each section with a gas torch to create an oxidation process, giving the metal its distinguished color.

Frank Stronach, Pegasus & Dragon

An Enduring Landmark & Tourist Attraction          

Already established as a major landmark, the majestic Pegasus and Dragon sculpture will greet visitors to Gulfstream Park for generations to come and is destined to become one of the Sunshine State’s most famous tourist attractions.