The Emancipation Stakes is a Group 2, 1500-metre race for fillies and mares aged three years and above competing under set weight plus penalty conditions at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse in Sydney.
Prize money for the race is $250,000 as a 2023, a $50,000 boost from 2022.
Emancipation Stakes Race Details
Race Distance: 1500m
Prize Money: $250,000
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When Is The Emancipation Stakes: 30-3-24
What Time Is The Emancipation Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Emancipation Stakes: Rosehill Racecourse
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More Details About The Emancipation Stakes
The race was won by Roots in 2023, for which she collected the top prize of $140,000. She was the second favourite in the race and beat the favourite by over five lengths. She and Brenton Avdulla ran a solid tactical race, letting the front runners supply the draft, and then lifted in the final 150 metres to score an easy win by a length and a tail over Atishu.
Roots is a Chris Waller horse that has made 18 jumps for six wins and five placings, good for $633,000 to this stage or her career. She is spelling following a half length loss to Palaisipan in the Group 1 Tatt’s Tiara at Eagle Farm in late June of 2023.
The Emancipation Stakes has been nomadic over the years of it existence. Not in the sense of it being held at various venues; the only time it was ever run anywhere other than Rosehill is in 2022. It was run at Newcastle Racecourse while Rosehill was getting a wash and brush.
Rather, the race has wandered around on the racing calendar and at one time, it jumped at the same meeting that features the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes.
The most recent edition of the Emancipation Stakes jumped on 25 March 2023 alongside The Group 1 Tancred Stakes and the Group 1 Storm Queen Stakes. The other good races on Rosehill’s best day of autumn racing are the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes and four Group 3 races – the Doncaster Prelude (registered as the Royal Parma Stakes), the Neville Sellwood Stakes, the Star Kingdom Stakes and the Schweppervesence (registered as the T. L. Baillieu Handicap).
The winner of the Emancipation Stakes receives a ballot exemption for entry into the Group 1Queen of the Turf Stakes at Randwick two weeks later.
History of the Emancipation Stakes
The race was first run in 1985, when it was held on Easter Monday of the AJC Autumn Carnival (the AJC has since merged with the Sydney Jockey Club to form the Australian Turf Club (ATC).
It is named in honour of the champion mare Emancipation that won 19 of 28 jumps, 15 more wins than her famous sire Bletchingly. Her best win was the 1983 Group 1 Doncaster Handicap. She won 15 major races, including the 1984 All Aged Stakes.
As a breeder, she was not especially successful, but her daughters supplied Group 1 winners Virage De Fortune and Railings.
Some good horses crossed behind her. She seemed to delight in beating the 1983 Golden Slipper Stakes winner Sir Dapper, although he extracted partial revenge when he beat her in the 1984 Group 2 Expressway Stakes. Another of her better wins saw her relegate Strawberry Road to third in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes in 1984.
Her major bragging rights, though, are from beating Manikato in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes in 1983.
The Emancipation Stakes first jumped in 1985 as a Listed Grade race. It was promoted to Group 3 in 1995 and Group 2 in 1999.
The first jump and all subsequent jumps of the race through 2013 were all 1600-metre trips. The race was abbreviated to the current distance of 150 metres in 2014.
Randwick was the venue from inauguration through 2013, it has been at Rosehill since, with the exception of 2022, when Newcastle was used while Rosehill had a redo.
Venue for the Emancipation Stakes
Rosehill Gardens Racecourse in Sydney has been running races since 1885.
The marquee race, in our view, is the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes, the world’s richest two-year-old race, offering prize money of $5 million. In 2019, the venue began hosting the Golden Eagle, a 1500 metre race for four-year-olds with a staggering prize pool of $10 million.
Annually, Rosehill offers nine Group 1 races, 13 Group 2 and 14 Group 3 races.
For 1500 metre races, the horses jump from a chute that leads onto the back straight. They turn on the south side of the course on the tight, continuous sweeper that forms the southern boundary of the track. From there, it is onto the home straight for the final 400 metres, with the finish line in front of the stands at the northwest side of the course.
Racing History of the Emancipation Stakes
As a race that debuted after the Group classification system was put in place, the Emancipation Stakes was never below Listed grade. It attracted strong fields then, fields that only got stronger as the race advanced in grade.
The list of winners has some intriguing names on it, as well as some that have won major races, good prize money and demonstrated the sort of talent that finds them using a Group 2 race as preparation for the major Group 1 races.
We will look through the list to identify the better winners, those that had success at Group 1 level and we hope to find some good breeders as well.
The race supplies an interesting wrinkle that we do not think we have seen previously for a major Thoroughbred race.
Without upward age restrictions, fillies and mares are welcome to participate for as long as desired, just so long as they are aged three when they start.
Thus, there have been some multiple winners, but the first of these did not take place until 2012, when Skyerush won the race and repeated in 2013.
In 2014 and 2015, the winner was Catkins, followed by Zanbagh in 2016 and 2017.
Six races, three winners, all recorded in consecutive years.
The first winner of the Emancipation Stakes was Aspirations. Fitting, if you like rhyming horse names.
Foaled in 1980, Aspirations was by Star Shower and we immediately have our Star Kingdom connection. By the time Aspirations dropped, she was three generations removed from Star Kingdom, so even for us Star Kingdom fans, it is speculative that any of her ability came from him, other than a small fraction.
Aspirations won five races and she did win the Queen of the Turf Stakes, although at that time it was a Group 3 grade race.
She supplied what to us is the current record for progeny.
Her total was 15 named foals; there were eight fillies and seven colts. Nine of her foals won some prize money. The best was a 1988 gelding named Upwards by Clear Choice that won $258,000.
We will examine the rest of the list now, targeting the notable 2005 winner Perfect Promise.
The 1987 winner, Clavell’s Girl, was able to win the Queen of the Turf Stakes after claiming the Emancipation Stakes, but that is about all we can report.
The 1988 winner Balmoral shared Star Shower as sire with the 1980 winner Aspirations. Balmoral supplied nine name foals to the better sires, including Grand Lodge, Canny Lad and Snippets, but her best was the 1996 gelding by Danehill, Grampians, that won above $330,000.
Much as we wanted to pass her up, we could not resist the 1991 winner, Ice Cream Sundae.
That is the sort of name we would punt as soon as we saw the name on the schedule.
She was okay, not great. She had additional wins in the Festival Handicap and the Tristarc Stakes, although we cannot say that she beat anything of top calibre talent.
In 1983, approximately 11 months after being served by Rubiton, she produced Flavour, a 1993 gelding that made 79 jumps and managed to parlay them into more than $1.5 million.
The 1992 winner was Romanee Conti for horse racing tips.
All we will report about her is that she was served by Rhythm and gave birth to 2001 Melbourne Cup winner Ethereal.
The good racer Staging won in 1999.
She had solid Aussie lines on the side of her dam Cinerama, with lines to the Bletchingly, Biscay, Star Kingdom line and she won $1.1 million from 41 jumps for 10 wins and 8 placings. She did not beat anything of true quality, but she was often in the running for good placings against Al Mansour, Bonanova and Chief De Beers.
She supplied five fillies and three colts after racing. All the good sires that served her, including Flying Spur, Encosta De Lago, Danewin and More Than Ready meant that six of her eight progeny would win money by racing, including one colt by Red Ransom that won $862,000 and one by Redoute’s Choice that won $579,000.
We jump ahead to our earlier stated destination, the 2005 winner of the Emancipation Stakes, Perfect Promise.
Perfect Promise stands out a bit as one of the few claiming South African origins that we have observed during our years of covering racing history.
She made 30 jumps for eight wins and nine placings. When she won the Group 1 C. F. Orr Stakes in 2006, she beat Lad Of The Manor and Fields Of Omagh, so for one race at least, she was triumphant.
She was courted by many of the same stallions that had served Staging so effectively, but her best was Hard Promise by Hard Spun that turned four wins and six placings into more than $2.2 million.
The better type Hot Danish won the Emancipation Stakes in 2007.
She won over $2.3 million from 31 jumps for 16 wins and 9 placings. Ger Group 1 wins were in the 2010 Doomben 10,000 and the 2010 All Aged-Stakes. When she won the Doomben 10,000, she was ahead of Whobegotyou and Melito. The win in the All-Aged Stakes saw her beating Melito and Beaded.
She was second to Black Caviar in the Group 2 Schweppes Stakes, but we are being charitable calling it second, because she was more than five lengths behind.
We have to move ahead to 2012, the year the race was won by Skyerush that marked the beginning of three consecutive winners that won the Emancipation Stakes twice.
Skyerush won 11 times and placed in 20 races from 45 jumps. Her earnings were over $966,000. She never won above Group 2 grade, but she was well placed in other major races. Her stud career supplied six mostly forgettable offspring.
Next came Catkins, the dual winner from 2014 and 2015.
She won almost $2 million in prize money from 35 jumps for 16 wins and 13 placings. Like Skyerush, she did not manage to win above Group 2, but most connections would agree that anytime you have a racer that wins almost have their jumps, you have something good. Her foals, two by Medaglia D’ Oro and one by Rubick were undistinguished as racers.
The third and final multiple winner in our look at an exceptional period for any race, where three horses consecutively account for six Emancipation Stakes wins, was Zanbagh, the winner in 2016 and 2017.
Zanbagh was a race mare that made $1.2 million from 45 jumps for seven wins and seven placings. Her sire was Bernardini, a Yank stallion that offered lines to not one but two U.S. Triple Crown winners in Seattle Slew and Secretariat. Another ancestor was Spectacular Bid that came within a win of the Belmont Stakes from being another Triple Crown winner.
When she won the Emancipation Stakes, she beat two better types in Daysee Doom and Dixie Blossoms.
The pedigree database shows that she has dropped one foal, a 2019 filly named Whisker To Whisker sired by Pierro that has yet to show if being connected to Lonhro, Octagonal and Zabeel supplies any advantage.
The familiar name of the 2019 winner, Invincible Gem, beckoned to us.
She was by I Am Invincible and she raced 35 times for 6 wins and 11 placings for earnings just under $1 million. She represents yet another good racer that managed to do just fine despite never winning at Group 1 grade. She won the 2017 Group 2 Missile Stakes by beating Le Romain.
The 2021 winner, Nimalee, did what several others failed to do – winning at Group 1 level - by using her ballot exemption from winning the Emancipation to win the Group 1 Queen of the Turf Stakes.
A 2016 filly by So You Think, Nimalee is listed as spelling. She has a form line of 27 jumps for eight wins and eight placings and over $1.7 million in prize money.
We suspect that Nimalee is done racing. Her last jump was in October of 2022 at Randwick and the fact that she has not jumped in 2023 is the source of our suspicion.
The Emancipation Stakes for 2022 was won by Promise Of Success. The Emancipation Stakes is her best win. She is listed as active and spelling after 25 jumps for five wins and six placings for a bit above $1.4 million in prize money.
She last raced at Eagle Farm in June of 2023, where she could do no better than 12th in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes.
The asterisk by her name and the answer to the trivia question, would be that she won the race the only time it jumped anywhere other than Rosehill, when the race shifted to Newcastle for the one edition.
Races for fillies and mares are exceedingly popular in Australia and the Emancipation Stakes has delivered quality fields and quality winners since 1985, with a marked improvement in the quality of the racers from when the race graduated to Group 2 grade in 1999.
We found some Group 1 winners, but as the connections of any mare will tell you, when those mares go to the sheds and produce million- dollar-plus offspring, winning races is icing on the cake and the list of Emancipation Stakes winners bears that out.
Emancipation Stakes Past Winners
|2022||Promise Of Success|
|2011||Sworn To Secrecy|
|2004||Hec Of A Party|
|2000||Beat The Fade|
|1991||Ice Cream Sundae|