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Saint Leger Stakes

The English Triple Crown trifecta is 3 very prestigious races that are the origin of the term “Triple Crown”. This extraordinarily difficult series have boasted only 15 Triple Crown wins in the 150 years of annual races. The final leg of the Triple Crown is the St. Leger Stakes. This stakes race is held every September. Each of the three races in the Triple Crown are a test to the ability and skill of both the horse and its jockey, but only a true champion with great stamina can take home the title of all three races.

History of the St. Leger Stakes

It was not until the second annual running of this race that it was named the St. Leger Stakes, named after the army officer who originally devised the running of this race. Originally a grueling 2 mile long race, the Stakes is the oldest and longest of the three Triple Crown races. It remained a 2 mile long race until 1813 when the distance was shortened. The current length is 1 mile, 6 furlongs and 193 yards. The 2011 race will be the 235th annual running of the St. Leger Stakes, which makes it one of the world’s oldest races. While it may not be as popular as the first two legs of the Triple Crown races, horse race betting on this stakes race is still popular world wide. It has been many years since a Triple Crown has been won, or even attempted, but the St. Leger Stakes is ready and waiting for a challenger to take it on.

About the Stakes

The St. Leger Stakes is held relatively late in the racing year. Held every September, this race is run annually at the Doncaster Raceway. Like the other two races, this is a flat turf race. It is restricted to 3 year old fillies and colts. Neutered male horses, called geldings, are excluded from running. In 1853 West Australian powered through all three races and was the first winter of the Triple Crown. In current years however, few have attempted to win the Triple Crown as very lucrative overseas races are scheduled around the same time and many owners prefer to put their best horses in those races instead of risking a loss on the very long and grueling course of the St. Leger Stakes. Any attempt at the Triple Crown usually sparks thousands of people to bet on this rare occurrence. This is a well-loved race, and once held on a Sunday in 1992 with no betting it still boasted 23,000 spectators.

The Trophy

A brand new trophy for the St. Leger Stakes was commissioned in 2007. The new hand wrought trophy took over 5 weeks to create and is worth over 27,000 pounds. Avery large platter shaped like a Yorkshire rose, this solid silver trophy is spectacular to behold. The center of the trophy is decorated with gold plated flames and three rings celebrating not only an old Yorkshire flag that boasted the Yorkshire rose surrounded by flames, but the fact that only 3 year old horses are eligible to enter the Stakes. This trophy is a permanent trophy, with all the previous winners engraved on the rim of the trophy. Every year this trophy is presented to the winner, however unlike other permanent trophies, there are no minature replicas made. Instead, this extraordinary trophy has a small center disk that is removable and is given to the winning horse’s owner to take home. This center disk is recommissioned every year.

The Purse

This race is not only the longest of the classics, but the oldest. It also boasts one of the most impressive purses! The purse for this stakes race is 500,000 pounds. The winner takes home over 300,000 pounds, which is nearly half a million US dollars.