Amongst the linen suits and palm trees, sat beneath the jealousy-inducing Miami winter sun, a wave of emotion is beginning to crest. In unison, the eyes of some 10,000 strong at Gulfstream Park tilt left from the jumbotron as the Ferrari icon-esque pack of thoroughbreds fly around the corner and into the home stretch.
While I am personally unsure if the bellowing chorus of c’mon 3 c’mon, 5 c’mon, c’mon 7, helps to give the horses that extra burst, it’s impossible not to join in. The crowd crescendos into a booming roar that peaks at the finish line. The winner? National Treasure–I should’ve known.
Aside from a few handshakes and high fives in the winner’s circle, this energy from the crowd would have normally evaporated by now. But thanks to 1/ST and Baccarat this is no ordinary day at the races, this is the 2024 Pegasus World Cup.
Held each January, the Pegasus World Cup is the brainchild of 1/ST, perhaps the most influential group in the thoroughbred arena, whose properties include Gulfstream Park in Miami, Santa Anita Park in Los Angeles, and Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, home of The Preakness Stakes, among others.
And while to be clear there is no shortage of pomp and circumstance on display (yes there are hats and pastel blazers), there is also Amiri, a sushi bar in the swanky celeb studded Flamingo Room, bubbly served out of presenting sponsor Baccarat’s impeccable glassware, and perhaps most notably, a banging post race DJ set by Calvin Harris at the dazzling trackside Carousel Club. The perfect nightcap for a day that began a short jaunt away at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach.
At the intersection of sport, culture, and hospitality, putting together a top-flight event like the Pegasus World Cup is no small feat. To get the inside track on the future of race day FLAUNT spoke with Nicole Walker, Vice President of 1/ST, about introducing a younger audience to horse racing, bringing her voice to the family business, and her work with the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
And they’re off!
Can you share a bit about what the track means to you and how you are hoping to introduce a younger audience to the sport with The Pegasus World Cup?
I grew up around race tracks because I was very close to my grandfather, who would always take me as a kid. I think there are so many great traditions around the track [be that] hat fashion, or just a great day out in fresh air. I love that about it, but I think there's also a whole new modern aspect to [the track]. It’s still focused on the horses, of course, but by bringing in music and art and different partnerships, we are able to really draw more people to the sport. Whenever people come, they have a great time!
What has your experience working in the family business been like?
I was naturally drawn to the horses, but now it's evolving to events, which I love too. I’m really lucky to be so close to my mom, my brother, and my grandfather…we all welcome each other's opinions, which is great, and I know I have a lot to learn from them. My mom [Belinda] has been the greatest role model for me…It has been really inspiring though to create something [together].
Building community and giving back is clearly important to you. I would be curious to hear more about your charitable work with the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance?
I was a board member for five years, and am now on the [alliance’s] communications and fundraising committees. The alliance has raised close to $24,000,000 to care for thoroughbreds after they have retired from racing. There are close to 70 barns around the states and in Canada that will take the horses in and retrain them and then find them new homes after their life on the track.