The Let’s Elope Stakes is a Group 2 Graded thoroughbred race that is run at Flemington each year over a distance of 1,400m. The race is currently sponsored by Furphy’s making the current name of the race The Furphy Let’s Elope Stakes.
The Let’s Elope Stakes is a Victorian Racing Club Group 2 for mares that are four years or older and run under set weight with penalty conditions. The race is held at the VRC HQ, Flemington Racecourse, in Melbourne Victoria annually in the month of September.
Total prize money for the Let’s Elope Stakes is set at $200,000 and set to be raised in 2021 as a result of increased VRC Prize Money funding.
History of The Let’s Elope Stakes
The Let’s Elope Stakes had its inaugural running in 1987 where it ran under the banner of the Milady Stakes. The race was named the Milady Stakes up until 1994 when the race was renamed the Let’s Elope Stakes after the 1991 Melbourne Cup Winner.
Let’s Elope started her career on the tracks of New Zealand and as a 3 year old showed only average ability. She had several starts before the ownership group of Dennis Marks and Kevin White transferred her to the ‘Cups King’ Bart Cummings.
The poor form continued on the wet track at Caulfield with Let’s Elope however when the tracks dried and the ground was right the Kiwi runner blossomed and went on an emphatic 7 race winning streak.
What was most impressive about Let’s Elope was that when she won the Melbourne Cup in 1991 she had won the Caulfield Cup just a few weeks earlier. This made her the first mare in 50 years to win the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup double.
That year Let’s Elope also sandwiched those wins between a Turnbull Stakes win and a Mackinnon Stakes win as well as returning in the Autumn to win The CF Orr Stakes, St Georges Stakes (Now the Peter Young Stakes) and The Australian Cup.
Let’s Elope was eventually inducted into the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame in 2007 after having the Milady Stakes renamed in her honour in 1994.
The great Let’s Elope sadly passed away in 2016 in her sleep at the age of 28. In her racing career she had started 26 races winning 11 of those including an emphatic 7 race win streak that included 4 Group 1’s and 3 Group 2 graded races.
The Let’s Elope Stakes was originally graded as a listed race up until 2004. From 2005 to 2008 it was run as a Group 3 race before being upgraded in 2009 to a Group 2 race to be run in September of each year.
One thing that has remained consistent across the years however is the venue of the race, Flemington. The scene of so many of Let’s Elope’s great victorie’s.
Race Venue Of The Let’s Elope Stakes
Flemington has been the home of the Let’s Elope Stakes since its inception in 1987 with the race being dedicated to the Melbourne Cup winning mare after the racecourses most famous race.
Possibly the most famous racecourse in Australia, Flemington is located just outside of Melbourne in Victoria. The racecourse sits next to the Maribyrnong River on the low alluvial flats.
Flemington Racecourse has a long standing history of racing with the first races held in the area over 150 years ago back in 1840. To this day most of its inaugural races are still hosted there with the likes of the Newmarket Handicap, Victoria Derby and of course the Melbourne Cup all first run in the 1800s.
The Melbourne Cup is of course the feature at Flemington and the race Let’s Elope won during her 1991 group race rampage.
To this day the Melbourne Cup is still the world’s richest handicap race and the world’s richest 3200m race. The race takes place at Flemington on the first Tuesday of each year and is hosted in front of crowds that excede 120,000 each year.
A record attendance was set at Flemington Racecourse 5 years before Let’s Elope won the Melbourne Cup when 129,069 fans turned out to watch Efficient win the Victoria Derby in 1986.
The Let’s Elope Stakes is one of many great races held at Flemington in more recent years and actually shares its place on the Victorian Racing Clubs schedule on Makybe Stakes Day. A race named after fellow Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva.
Past Winners Of The Let’s Elope Stakes
Since its inaugural running in 1987 the Let’s Elope Stakes have been won 34 times with the first edition of the race won by Take My Picture.
Betting on the Let’s Elope Stakes has always been hotly contest with the fields packed with amazing talent each year. The race, now at a Group 2 level serves as a great avenue for horse looking to tackle Group 1s further in there prep.
There has only ever been one two time winner of the Let’s Elope Stakes which was Commanding Jewel who won the contest in 2013 and 2014. The success would be only fleeting for the Leon and Troy Corstens trained winner however as she was retired to the breeding barn before the end of 2014.
One of the most notable winners of the Let’s Elope Stakes was Pinker Pinker who won the 2011 edition of the race. It was a huge win for trainer Greg Eurell and was the first win on route to winning the 2011 W.S. Cox Plate where she was ridden by Craig Williams.
More recently and most likely due to the increased grading of the race we have seen more talented runners tackle the Let’s Elope Stakes. The likes of Don’t Doubt Mamma, Sword Of Light and I Am A Star have all won editions of the race.
Most recently however the race showed a real wealth of talent as Pretty Brazen beat home Arcadia Queen, Street Icon and the Godolphin trained Savatiano to win the 2020 running of the race. The race went on to produce 3 Group 1 winners during the same Spring Carnival.
Let’s Elope Stakes Conclusion
This is a race with real momentum. Compared to the long history of Flemington racecourse the Let’s Elope Stakes is a race that has continued to advance since its inception in a relatively short space of time.
Since 1987 The Let’s Elope Stakes has risen from a Listed Grade Race to a Group 2 race and has an impending increase to it’s prize money in 2021. These two factors alone have contributed to high calibre fields and improved level of competition.
Definitely a race to watch during the Spring and has produced many great mares that have gone on to win significant Group 1 titles along the year.
|Year||Lets Elope Stakes Winners|
|2019||I Am A Star|
|2018||I Am A Star|
|2017||Sword Of Light|
|2016||Don't Doubt Mamma|
|2010||No Evidence Needed|
|2003||Ain't Seen Nothin'|
|1996||Rose Of Portland|
|1993||Rose Of Marizza|
|1987||Take My Picture|