The South Australian Derby is a Gr 1 Australian race for three
year old thoroughbreds contested at set weights over 2500m in April
every year at Adelaide's Morphettville Racecourse. Currently the
race offers a purse of AUD$325,400 and, prior to 2006, was run in
Inaugurated in 1860, the race will celebrate its 150th year
anniversary in 2010. The South Australian Derby should not be
confused with the Australian Derby, which is a different Gr 1 race
contested by three-year-old thoroughbreds in either late March or
early April at Sydney's Randwick Racecourse.
Like many of Australia's older races, the South Australian Derby has
undergone some changes over the years. For example, from 1860 right
up until 1971 it was contested over 12 furlongs (approximately
2400m). Then in 1972, 1978, 1979 and from 1986 until 2000 it was run
over a distance of 2400m.
From 1973 until 1977, from 1981 until 1985, and from 2001 until the
present, the South Australian Derby has been raced over its current
distance of 2500m. For some unknown reason, in 1980 the race was run
over 2600m, but was presumably found to be too great a distance for
the field that year.
In 2003 the South Australian Derby was won by a talented gelding
called Mummify trained by Lee Freedman. His promising career was
tragically cut short when he had to be euthanized after breaking a
leg during the 2005 Caulfield Cup. 2008 winner, Zarita, has gone on
to forge a solid career for herself.