By Barry Janoff
The top-ranked and multi-time champion McGregor has now turned his attention to becoming a jockey, In particular, to compete in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational Thoroughbred horse race, in which 12 horses are scheduled to compete in Gulfstream Park (South Florida) on Jan. 28 for a record $12 million purse.
McGregor is in training to become "The 13th Jockey," according to a multi-platform campaign from The Stronach Group, which operates the race and a multitude of other horse racing events and venues.
In the humorous effort, McGregor is aided by actor/comic Jon Lovitz, playing a stereotypical gruff trainer who has devoted his life to the sport.
"The Stronach Group is thrilled to be working with Conor McGregor to introduce The Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Sport of Kings to a new generation of fans," Belinda Stronach, chairman and president, said in a statement. "Conor is a natural athlete, showman and now, a jockey!"
The effort is anchored by four spots, which will be released now through race day, with the last to break just prior to the event on NBC.
Accord to The Stronach Group, in order for McGregor to become the 13th Jockey and conquer the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing, he "had a lot of training to do! He had to get to know his way around the stables, train like a jockey, bond with a horse and learn how to ride."
The initial spot follows his progress and includes a press conference that ends in typical McGregor fashion: With a fight.
"Alexander wept when he had no worlds to conquer,” McGregor says at his press event. "That’s exactly how I feel. I would like to announce that I will become the pound-for-pound No. 1 jockey on the planet. I will compete in, and win, the Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
"Now, I’ll take questions until I’m bored."
Among the questions: "Why the Pegasus?" "It's the biggest horse racing purse in the world," McGregor replies. "$12 million."
Another reporter asks, "Doesn't being a jockey require years of focus and training?" "How hard can horse racing even be?!" McGregor answers. "I'm the greatest at whatever I decide to do!" When the reporter laughs, Lovitz jumps him, which turns into an MMA brawl.
Support includes Internet, social media and a Pegasus Win-Win Contest offering people the opportunity to win $1 million. (Details here.)
Lead agency is space150.
The Stronach Group said that attorney Patrick Knapp Schwarzenegger (Bloom Hergott LLP, and nephew of Arnold Schwarzenegger), who represents both McGregor and Lovitz, "assisted in bringing the two A-listers to this project."
The Pegasus World Cup Invitational $12 million purse surpasses the previous record of $10 million at the 2016 Dubai World Cup.
The Stronach Group’s portfolio of racing and gaming businesse sinlcudes Santa Anita Park, Pimlico Race Course (home for the Preakness Stakes), Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Golden Gate Fields and Portland Meadows; as well as parimutuel technology subsidiaries AmTote and Xpressbet.
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