1/ST division will bring entertainment to Gulfstream, Pimlico and other horse tracks

Horse racing and betting company 1/ST has appointed Jimmy Vargas chief executive officer of 1/ST Experience, a new innovation-focused division that will drive the development of sports-anchored, entertainment driven properties and provide world-class gaming, hospitality and thoroughbred horse racing experiences.

Vargas will lead a team of marketing, hospitality, partnership, venue and event management experts focused on attracting a new generation of fans to thoroughbred horse racing while elevating the guest experience at 1/ST venues in California, Florida and Maryland. Vargas will report directly to Belinda Stronach, chairman and president of 1/ST.

With Vargas, the centralized team is tasked with redefining the guest experience through innovative content development across marketing and communications, by elevating national and local venue management and hospitality, while developing strategic partnerships, sponsorships and procurement opportunities. 1/ST Experience, based at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, will continue creating year-round, vibrant entertainment experiences for 1/ST venues and signature platforms, including the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream and the Preakness Stakes and InfieldFest at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

The integrated 1/ST Experience team will also support the company’s 1/ST Racing, 1/ST Content, 1/ST Technology and 1/ST Properties businesses with a focus on growth, analysis, vision, efficiency, synergy and consistency across the company’s portfolio of assets.

“Jimmy and the 1/ST Experience team will be able to build out our business in new and exciting ways, not only by curating a more compelling entertainment offering with gambling at the core but by leveraging key relationships and brands in the lifestyle, sports, wagering, and entertainment space,” said Stronach in a statement.

Since joining 1/ST in 2018 as executive vice president of entertainment, Vargas spearheaded the company’s proprietary entertainment brands and marquee races, focusing on relationships, strategy and revenue while managing partnerships across the entertainment and hospitality space. Vargas reimagined the InfieldFest at Preakness, bringing talent including Post Malone, Odesza, 21 Savage, Kygo, Diplo, the late Juice Wrld, Fisher and Frank Walker, and led the inaugural Clubhouse Festival featuring Steve Aoki and Tyga at Laurel Park Racetrack in Laurel, Maryland. He also oversees the annual Pegasus World Cup production at Gulfstream Park, which has featured Snoop Dogg, Nelly, T-Pain and Mark Ronson. The Pegasus World Cup has also become a celebrity fan favorite, hosting Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, Vin Diesel, Lenny Kravitz and Pharrell among others.

“1/ST Experience will provide a national entertainment and content development ecosystem for our company as we continue to redefine sports-anchored entertainment,” Vargas said in a statement.

This story originally appeared on Pollstar.com.