Residents and tourists around Hallandale Beach have been scratching their heads for months now as Gulfstream Park was working to complete a mysterious, multi-story structure. Now that the statue is almost complete, some are still baffled by its purpose and symbolism. The Miami casino and racetrack chose to erect an enormous bronzed model of a Pegasus slaying a dragon.
The owner of Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino was the one who came up with the concept, apparently linking the mythological creature with the horse racing track. According to an article on the subject in the Miami Herald, the manager in charge of the construction, Guenter Czany, said the design was representative of good overcoming evil.
It’s taken months for the structure to come to fruition, starting back in March of this year. Not everyone seemed so excited about the new visage along the Federal Highway, though. The news article remarked that some nearby residents and shop owners felt they would be looking “up to the anatomically correct horse’s rear”.
One local resident from Aventura, who has a glaring view of the monstrous structure from the south, said that officials of the Miami casino should have reached out to the community before undertaking such a confounding project. Another nearby resident said he watched the entire process, wondering for months what it would become. As the statue finally took enough shape to be recognizable, he told reporters, “I just don’t understand the point of it.”
Dale Raftery of Miami-Dade County doesn’t live close enough to see the mythological structure from his home, but received a call from a friend when it was nearly completed. Like most, Raftery may not understand the symbolism, but he does appreciate the craftsmanship of the project. He said immediately drove to the casino, sat atop the hood of his car and stared, mesmerized by the formation. “It’s absolutely amazing,” he remarked. “A lot of work went into this.”
The winged horse was structured so that the girth of its belly resides just above the spherical summit of a single-story building, while the dragon lies upon the ground to the side, giving the appearance it is being trampled by the feathered steed of lore.
Czany’s company, Strassacker, based out of Germany, was contracted to build the colossal assemblage. The metal framework design was fabricated in Germany, then shipped to the Miami casino. The bronze molds that make up the structure, however, were designed from a grid in China, then delivered in pieces on 26 shipping crates. Czany said 40 Chinese workers came along to help piece the bronze puzzle back together. Due to the incredible weight of some parts, particularly the horse’s head and wings, a special crane had to be brought in as well.
Tom Ritvo, President of Gulfstream Park Racetrack & Casino, says the bronze statue (pictured right in it’s projected, final form) will tie into their new plans for the casino destination. Now that the “iconic” structure is in place, Ritvo says construction is soon to begin on a 182-unit apartment complex, to be called Gulfstream Park Tower. Crews have already begun installing a new steakhouse and market to compliment the two new restaurants that recently opened, and a bowling alley is set to open sometime this winter. When it’s all done, Ritvo says ‘Pegasus Park’ will help to brand the city, as well as the casino.