The Underwood Stakes is a Gr 1 Australian thoroughbred horse
race contested annually in late September at Caulfield Racecourse in
Melbourne over 1800m at weight-for-age conditions. This prestigious
race currently carries a purse of AUD$350,000 and is the first
Spring race to be run at a distance longer than 1 mile.
Inaugurated in 1924, the Underwood Stakes was originally hosted by
the Werribee Racing Club at Werribee Racecourse. From 1948 until
now, the Underwood Stakes has been run every year at Caulfield
Racecourse, although over a variety of distances. For instance, from
1949 until 1953 it was run over 9 furlongs.
From 1954 until 1971 it was run over 10 furlongs, from 1972 until
1993 over 2000m and from 1994 until now over 1800m. Interestingly,
1800m is a very unusual distance in Australian horseracing circles,
which is why trainers use the Underwood Stakes to 'gap' the more
common distances of 1600m and 2000m/2400m.
Over the years the Underwood Stakes has hosted and been won many
notable Australian horses, including legendary gelding Phar Lap, who
won the race in 1931. Phar Lap was eventually inducted into the
Australian Racing Hall of Fame and named number 22 out of the Top
100 Racehorses of the 20th Century.
Other notable winners of the Underwood Stakes include Ajax in 1938,
1939 and 1940, Lord in 1958, Big Philou in 1970, Bonecrusher in
1986, The Phantom in 1990, Octagonal in 1996, Mummify in 2003, El
Segundo in 2006 and champion runner Weekend Hussler in 2008.