1/ST Appoints Jimmy Vargas CEO of Newly Formed 1/ST Experience, Bringing Entertainment To Racetrack Venues

Jimmy Vargas
Camilo Rios
– Jimmy Vargas

Horse racing and betting company 1/ST has appointed Jimmy Vargas chief executive officer of the newly formed 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 an team of marketing, hospitality, partnership, venue and event management experts focused on attracting a new generation of fans to the sport of 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, headquartered at Gulfstream Park, will continue creating year-round, vibrant entertainment experiences for 1/ST venues and signature platforms including, the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in South Florida and the legendary Preakness Stakes and InfieldFest in Baltimore, Md. 

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 vast 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 Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President, 1/ST.

Since joining 1/ST in 2018 as Executive Vice President, 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, as well as spearheaded the inaugural Clubhouse Festival featuring Steve Aoki and Tyga at Laurel Park Racetrack. He also oversees the annual Pegasus World Cup production at Gulfstream Park that has featured A-list performers, 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, to name just a few. 

“1/ST EXPERIENCE will provide a national entertainment and content development ecosystem for our company as we continue to redefine sports-anchored entertainment,” said Jimmy Vargas, Chief Executive Officer, 1/ST EXPERIENCE. “I look forward to working with the 1/ST EXPERIENCE team to bring to life nimble and evolved venue, hospitality, and entertainment initiatives that will drive future positive growth for our company’s 1/ST RACING, 1/ST CONTENT, 1/ST TECHNOLOGY and 1/ST PROPERTIES businesses while elevating the guest experience to engage a younger audience in our sport and at our venues.”