The Group 3 Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Flemington during the autumn racing season around the middle of March is a 1200-metre sprint for two-year-old fillies competing under set weight and penalty conditions.
Prize money for the race is $200,000.
Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes Details
Race Distance: 1200m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes: 30/3/24
What Time Is The Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes: TBA
Where Is The Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes: Flemington Racecourse
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More Details About The Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes
The winner’s share of $120,000 for the 2023 jump of the race was claimed by Bossy Nic.
She last raced in April 2023, as of early July 2023, where she finished fourth in the Group 2 Percy Sykes Stakes.
Her other jump in the Listed Cinderella Stakes at Morphettville provided a second-place finish. Her comfortable 2.5 length win in the Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes earned her the top prize of $120,000, along with another $9,700 in bonus funds.
The race jumped alongside the Group Newmarket Handicap in 2023. The meeting also featured the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes and the A. V. Kewney Stakes, both Group 2 grade, and the Group 3 grade races Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap and the Matron Stakes.
The race is run on the Straight Six, Flemington’s 1200-metre straight that allows for races of up to 1200 metres to be run without any turning needed.
History of the Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes
The race was first run in 1971.
It was known as the Bloodhorse Breeders Plate until it became the Bloodhorse Breeders Stakes in 1991. Possibly out of a sense of squeamishness on the part of the Victorians, the word blood was removed in 2001 and the race has since been known as the Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes.
The trip for the race was 7 furlongs until metrication altered it slightly to 1400 metres in 1973. The distance was further and seemingly permanently reduced to 1200 metres in 1996.
Until the Group classification system came along in the late 70s, the race was Principal grade. It was lifted to Group 2 in 1980, where it remained until 1999, when it was reduced in grade to Group 3.
The 2007 jump of the race was shifted to Caulfield while work was being done on Flemington.
Venue for the Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes
Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria is synonymous with Australia and with horse racing.
Racing at the site first commenced in 1840 as a natural outgrowth of horse owners gathering along the flood plain of the Maribyrnong River to match their horses against each other.
The venue is known as the home of the Melbourne Cup, the ‘Race that Stops a Nation’ and host other prestigious legacy Thoroughbred flats races, such as the Victoria Derby, Australian Cup and Newmarket Handicap.
As of mid-2023, Flemington is home to 14 Group 1 races, 9 Group 2 and 14 Group 3s.
For sprint races of 1200 metres, the horses jump from the back of a chute that connects to the home straight. With no turning necessary, the only necessary strategy, other perhaps than to find the best turf, is to go as fast as possible.
Racing History of the Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes
Looking back at the history of a juvenile race such as the Thoroughbred Breeders Classic offers a glimpse into two-year-olds that went on to distinguish themselves by winning major races as three, four and five-year-olds or older.
In the case of this race, though, there does not seem to be many that would put together impressive racing resumes.
Of course, since these are all fillies, we will be looking for those mares that contributed notable offspring and those that accumulated better prize money.
The winner of the first jump in 1971 was Gossiper.
Rumour has it, as does actual fact, that Gossiper was second in the 1973 Blamey Stakes and the 1972 Caulfield Stakes. The problem she had in both of those races that prevented her from winning was that Gunsynd was also in the race.
She did win the AJC Oaks in 1972 over Better Gleam and Kiss Me Cait. She had good wins in the 1972 Kewney Stakes and the Craiglee Stakes.
After racing, she supplied seven named foals, including three by Kaoru Star, so straight away we have the almost obligatory connection to Irish super sire Star Kingdom. Two offspring by Denizen, along with two others produced nothing exceptional or even adequate.
We will now move ahead in time, using our discretion to select which winners seem worth the space and research.
The next winner was Sabot. Her 1972 victory was that of a racer that had the misfortune to jump in races having Toltrice in the field. She supplied four fillies and one colt and even one she foaled as a result of being served by Vain failed to launch.
Although she was not a particularly distinguished racer, 1972 winner Hunza left a solid form line of six wins from 10 jumps, before being converted to broodmare, where she supplied the filly Courtza by Pompeii Court that would win $1.8 million by capturing the Group 1 races the Golden Slipper Stakes and the Blue Diamond Stakes.
Hunza’s other top stakes producer was Our Pompeii, the diligent gelding that used 89 jumps to earn above $1 million.
The 1975 winner, Denise’s Joy, more than deserves mention here.
One solid reason is that she beat Hyperno to win the 1977 Craven Plate. She was often trading placings with the remarkable Toy Show. She had 13 wins and 17 placings from 51 jumps, but in the era when she raced, all that winning and placing was worth was $298,000. That despite the fact that she won races such as the VRC Oaks, Australian Derby, Turnbull and Underwood Stakes.
After 51 jumps, it would be valid to think Denise’s Joy sauntered off into the sunset, but she produced 10 offspring, served by the royalty of the stables by the likes of Mighty Kingdom, Vain and Bletchingly. The best was Joie Denise by Danehill that won above $300,000.
Vivarchi, the 1976 winner of the Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes, offers further proof of the paltry prize money of the 70s.
She made 23 jumps for seven wins, yet only won $170,000 despite winning the 1976 Golden Slipper Stakes and the Champagne Stakes that same year. Those same two wins in 2023 prize money would be over $3 million.
Vivarchi was a good breeder that supplied offspring to top stallions in Australian and the USA, but while some won money, we see only minor wins for minor money.
The 1979 winner, Lowan Star, was a good one.
She was by Biscay; hence her grand sire was Star Kingdom.
Lowan Star had Group 1 wins in the AJC Oaks and the QTC Queensland Oaks, so she was a strong racer. No progeny record for her was located.
The first true notable we find on the list of Thoroughbred Breeders Plate winners is that of Rose Of Kingston from 1981.
She won the Group 1 AJC Derby the following year by beating Our Planet and Gurner’s Lane. Her other Group 1 win was the 1981 VRC Oaks.
She was served by the U.S. Triple Crown winner Secretariat to supply Kingston Rule that won over $1.5 million.
So far, we are finding handy mares that delivered solid racing and proficient offspring, so we are assuming more of the same and forging ahead to the modern era, where we will begin with the 1992 winner, Love Comes To Town.
She won the race when it was Group 2 grade and added the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes that same year. She left no progeny record.
As soon as we saw the lines, we knew we were onto a good one in the 2000 winner, Crowned Glory.
She was by the U.S. sire Danehill, a name that appears prominently in the pedigrees of many better Australian gallopers. That line traces back through significant names such as Danzig, Northern Dancer and Nearctic.
The equally impressive ancestors on the side of the Aussie dam Significant Moment include Bletchingly, Biscay and Star Kingdom.
Crowned Glory, unsurprisingly, won over $603,000 while only racing seven times. The bulk of her prize money was the result of running second in the 2000 Golden Slipper Stakes. Her only other win was a 2YO Maiden at Mornington.
Crowned Glory proved her worth in the sheds, where Encosta De Lago was found loitering three times, while the Street boys, Cry and Sense, contributed. A 2011 colt by Street Sense named Hallowed Crown earned almost $1.4 million.
Crowned Glory supplies a nearly ideal scenario of a filly/mare that wins nice money for little investment, and then supplies major dividends through stud efforts.
The Snippets filly Dama De Noche was the winner in 2002.
She passes muster not for her four wins or $215,000 prize money, but for supplying an offspring that out-earned her. She certainly had her pick of the stallions, with the likes of Encosta De Lago, Sebring, Testa Rossa and Exceed And Excel having chances, but only Elusive Quality was able to contribute to a 2008 filly named Nocturnelle that would win $345,000.
Leveller by Redoute’s Choice was the winner in 2005.
Like many of the fillies in the race, she was racing to prove her worthiness as a breeder, so she made only nine jumps for two wins and four placings. Her other win was the 2005 Listed Grade Silver Jubilee Stakes at Moonee Valley.
She returned the investment in her purchase and maintenance by supplying nine named foals, including the 2014 filly Frolic that won just below $1 million from eight jumps. Like 2000 winner Crowned Glory, Frolic won a big chunk of her bank by running second in the Golden Slipper Stakes in 2017.
Both 2007 winner Rose Ceremony and 2008 winner Oval Affair were of the same sire, King Of Roses. Oval Affair did have some intriguing lines, including connections to U.S. Triple Crown winner Secretariat on both sides of the genealogy table, along with sprinkles of Bletchingly, Marscay, Biscay and Star Kingdom in the mix.
Neither Rose Ceremony nor Oval Affair were able to supply notable progeny.
The 2009 winner, My Emotion, won the Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes in her first jump, and then added the Group 2 Moonee Valley Fillies Classic in 2010.
She was a Kiwi racer sired by Savabeel. Any time we see that name, we know we will find Zabeel, while on the side of her dam Midnight Rock, we observe the name of Baguette, so it might have been expected that My Emotion would do better, but her racing pattern seems to suggest that she was always intended for the breeding sheds.
A significant notable name appears in the 2012 winner, Snitzerland.
She won nearly $2 million from her 20 jumps for eight wins and six placings. She was the daughter of Snitzel and she did the old man proud, along with earlier ancestors that included Redoute’s Choice, Snippets, Danehill and Canny Lad. There was a lot of top quality northern hemisphere blood in Snitzerland.
She is the third winner of the race to produce a second place run in the Golden Slipper Stakes. Snitzerland had Group 1 glory in the 2014 VRC Lightning Stakes, beating Shamexpress and Samaready. When she won the 2012 Group 3 San Domenico Stakes in 2012, she was ahead of two horses, with one of them being All Too Hard.
She would later be served by All Too Hard to supply the 2017 colt Hard Landing that won about $225,000.
A true champion, the 2017 winner Shoals managed to parlay 15 jumps for seven wins and five placings into over $2.5 million in prize money. She notched Group 1 wins in the 2017 Myer Classic, the 2018 Surround Stakes and the 2018 Robert Sangster Stakes.
As is often the case with the good racers, Shoals was a desultory breeder, supplier of just two fillies that accomplished nothing of note.
As improbable as it might seem, the Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes produced a dead heat between Flit and Ready Set Sail in 2019.
Flit was a handy type that managed to win above $1.6 million from 21 jumps for four wins and five placings. Her best win was the Group 1 Thousand Guineas in 2019. She beat the good galloper Alligator Blood to win the 2020 Silver Eagle at Randwick.
Now retired to breeding at the age of six, Flit has not yet supplied any foals.
The other winner, Ready Set Sail, is worth mentioning only because she dead-heated Flit.
Now aged five, as of early July 2023, the 2020 winner was the Exceed And Excel daughter Minhaaj. Her 14 jumps supplied five wins and two placings. Her prize money exceeded $459,000.
The 2021 winner, La Rocque, is the granddaughter of Exceed And Excel, for whatever that is worth. She made just eight jumps before being retired, with her other win being a maiden at a country track.
The New Zealand filly Ruthless Dame won in 2022.
She is spelling after running 10th in the Group 1 Tatt’s Tiara at Eagle Farm after a fifth place finish earlier in the month when she jumped in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap. She has managed to earn over $645,000 from eight jumps for three wins and two placings.
The Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes is the realm of handy fillies that are often lightly raced before being sent to stud.
There were a few exceptions, such as Shoals, Flit and Snitzerland, but most winners of the race are never going to be mentioned in the same breath as the top echelon racers that compete in similar races for much larger stakes.
Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes Past Winners
|2019||Dead Heat Flit and Ready Set Sail|
|2016||Thyme For Roses|
|2002||Dama De Noche|
|1997||It's A Giggle|
|1992||Love Comes To Town|
|1981||Rose Of Kingston|