St. Leger Stakes Horse Race
The St. Leger Stakes is a major horse race in Great Britain that takes place annually in September. It's the last of the Triple Crown horse races to be run each year and is also run over the longest distance. The St. Leger Stakes is one of the oldest horse races in the world, dating back to the 18th century. Although considered very prestigious, many owners choose to leave their horses out of this tough race because of the distance. Nonetheless, the race still attracts a high standard of horse. More details on the St. Leger Stakes are found below.
The St. Leger Stakes takes place in September every year at the Doncaster Racecourse in England. It's a flat race on grass, open to three-year-old Thoroughbreds. Geldings are excluded from the race: only colts and fillies are allowed to enter. As mentioned, it's a long race and the official distance is 1 mile, 6 furlongs and 132 yards. This equates to 2937 meters, and the St. Leger Stakes is over 2 furlongs longer than the Belmont Stakes: the longest of the US Triple Crown races. The prize pool is over £500,000, and the winner is awarded around £300,000.
History of the St. Leger Stakes
The St. Leger Stakes was founded by Charles Watson-Wentworth, the 2nd Marquess of Rockingham. It was his horse that won the inaugural race in 1776. At that time, he had not named the horse (it was later named Allabacullia) and had not formally named the race either. It was suggested to the Marquess that the race should be named the Rockingham Stakes after him. However, he declined the suggestion and instead named it after Anthony St. Leger: an army officer who had first proposed the idea of the race.
The race was originally run over a full two miles, held at Cantley Common. It was moved to its current location after just two years, but the distance was not cut until 1813. Not much has changed since then. The race has been moved to different locations on a few occasions, notably during the First World War when it was switched to Newmarket and briefly renamed the September Stakes. The event was cancelled in 1939 when the Second World War broke out; between 1940 and 1945, it was held at a variety of courses including Manchester Racecourse and Thirsk Racecourse. 1939 remains the only year the race was not run at all.
There are a number of other races held throughout the world inspired by the St. Leger Stakes, which use the same name. These include the Irish St. Leger, the French St. Leger, the New Zealand St. Leger, and the VRC St. Leger.
Betting on the 2016 St. Leger Stakes
The St. Leger Stakes attracts a lot of interest from horse racing bettors around the world, and there's usually plenty of speculation about which horse will win. Although there's usually ante-post (or futures) betting markets open well in advance of the race, it's usually best to wait until nearer the time before placing any bets. In the run up to the 2016 St. Leger Stakes, we will take a look at the runners and riders and put up a betting preview on this page. Please check back a week or two before the race.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: March 2016
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