The Vanity is a Group 3 race held at Flemington during February. It is a gender-restricted race for three-year-old fillies under set weight plus penalties conditions.
The race is 1400 metres in length and is run at the same meeting as the equivalent race for male Thoroughbreds, the C S Hayes Stakes.
Prizemoney as of 2021 is $160,000.
The feature race of the day is the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes, so this meeting and The Vanity is one that punters will look at in hopes of fattening their banks for a healthy plunge on the feature.
Using bookie money to punt is the scenario that sweetens punters’ dreams and The Vanity is an opportunity to do just that.
History of The Vanity
Just as with the C S Hayes Stakes, The Vanity had its first running in 1987, as it seems the Victorian Racing Club had some sort of plan to separate the three-year-olds into male and female divisions, except that while some of the colts in the C S Hayes Stakes were eunuchs, it is hard to recall an instance of a female horse being deprived of its reproductive equipment.
The distance of the race has been more or less constant, almost alternating between 1200 and 1400 metres, except for a few years that offered some unusual variations. In 1994, it was 1420 m, the next year it was 1432 m and for reasons that elude, it was 1433 m in 1996. The last time it went to some odd distance was in 2012, when it was 1410 m.
Of the 34 times, as of 2021, just ahead of that year’s race, it has been run at Flemington, with the exceptions of 1997, when it shifted to Sandown Racecourse and 2007, when it used Moonee Valley Racecourse.
The race was Listed quality from 1987 through 1999 and has been Group 3 since 2000.
Ignoring the two times The Vanity was run away from Flemington, the course sometimes referred to as “headquarters” needs little in the way of explanation, similar to it being unnecessary to explain the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Flemington Racecourse, however, compared to MCG, enjoys the distinction of never having moved its synonymous race, the Melbourne Cup, to a different venue, something MCG can no longer claim after the 2020 AFL Grand Final was played in the hinterlands of Queensland.
Flemington does not suffer from overuse abuse. There are about 13 Group 1, 10 Group 2 and 14 Group 3 races held across the year, with the heaviest concentration coming along during the spring and autumn racing carnivals.
Racing History of the Group 3 The Vanity
The list of winners of The Vanity is replete with fillies that do not seem to have entered the race with impressive credentials or gone on to compile an impressive racing resume.
The first winner in 1987 was Pseudonym Miss. We are assuming that that was her real name. As best we could determine, she won three races and The Vanity was her best. The Vanity was a Listed quality race at the time. Her sire was New Zealand’s So Called, a stallion that made some noise back in the late 70s in some mile and staying races. He won the Group 1 Underwood Stakes in 1978 and his high water mark was winning the Group 1 Cox Plate that same year.
The purchasers of Pseudonym Miss might have expected more, but they received less with this filly.
The winner in 1999 was a filly named Rose O’ War. Tracing her lines, we saw some impressive names. Her sire was the U.S. champion Danehill. Danehill was better at stud than he was at racing. He was by Canada’s Northern Dancer. Danehill was Leading Sire in Australia nine times, Leading Sire in Great Britain and Ireland three times and Leading Sire in France twice. The name Rose O’ War was the clue we used to trace her back to one on the greatest U.S. horses of all-time, Man O’ War. Rose O’ War was a decent sort and she won nearly $1 million, but beyond the Group 2 Crawford Stakes a Moonee Valley, her racing did not make much impact.
Since we invoked the name of Man O’ War, we thought it necessary to mention the winner of The Vanity in 1990, Dancer’s Choice. She also traces lines back to Man O’ War. Her sire was Bletchingly, sire of the immortal Kingston Town. Star Kingdom was Dancer’s Choice’s grandsire and like Rose O’ War’s predecessors, Star Kingdom was a prolific sire.
Dextrous, the 2003 winner of The Vanity, never won again, but in her limited career of 10 jumps, she never finished worse than fifth two times, a Listed race in 2002 and her last race in March of 2003 in the Group 2 Kewney Stakes. She was never tried at Group 1 level. Her best win was the Sandown Guineas in November of 2002.
A New Zealand horse named Universal Queen was the best winner our research revealed. She won The Vanity in 2007 first up after leaving Bede Murray to be trained by Lee Freedman. Her only prior win at Group level was the Group 3 Equal Sweet Embrace Stakes in 2006. She took part in the Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill after that win in the year the Slipper was won by Miss Finland.
Universal Queen won the Group 2 Yallambee Classic at Morphettville and apparently found South Australia to her liking, hanging about until a month later to win the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes. Her career concluded with a fifth place run in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley.
The 2011 winner was Southern Speed. When she won The Vanity, it was her third consecutive win. She had some nice runs in Group 1 races, but without doubt, her best win was the 2011 Caulfield Cup, which accounted for more than half of her $2.8 million earnings from 25 jumps.
After winning The Vanity in 2014, Solicit backed by winning the Group 2 Kewney Stakes at Flemington. She would go on to win a couple Group 2s and a couple Group 3s. She was a consistent horse and managed to win almost $1.2 million.
Don’t Doubt Mamma was The Vanity winner is 2016. She won at Group 2 level, but her two tries at Group 1 found her seriously outclassed.
Kenedna won in 2017 and went on to have a good career. She had multiple high finishes in Group races and her shining accomplishments were winning the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf at Randwick in 2019 in April and in her second race after, she won the Group 1 Doomben Cup.
The Vanity has produced a few notable winners, but beyond a few Group 1s and one Caulfield Cup, the winners’ list does not hold any names that resonate with any other than those outside racing circles.
The race is often used to move three-year-olds beyond the sprint distances, with some going on to be solid milers and a few doing all right in some of the longer trips.
|Year||The Vanity Stakes Winner|
|2016||Don't Doubt Mamma|
|2015||Sweet And Speedy|
|2001||Lan Kwai Fong|
|1999||Rose O' War|
|1994||Balm In Gilead|