York Stakes Betting

Held on the last Friday and Saturday of July each year, York’s acclaimed Music Showcase Weekend offers two full days of exciting concerts and horse racing. As the featured event on Day Two, the £100,000 York Stakes attracts a field of superb middle distance runners from the top stables, as it shares the card with six other races, including the £50,000 sky bet Dash, a six-furlong handicap for three-year-olds and up.

Also sponsored by sky bet, the York Stakes is a Group 2 flat race covering one mile, two furlongs and 88 yards on the left-handed turf of the York Racecourse. The event is open to all Thoroughbreds ages three years and older. The younger horses carry eight stone six pounds, while the older entrants bear nine-stone-two.

There is a three-pound allowance for fillies and mares, and penalties are applied for winners of races held since 1 November of the previous year, amounting to six pounds for Group 1 victors and three pounds for those who succeeded in Group 2 events. Races won as two-year-olds, however, are exempt from the penalties.

The York Stakes was establishing only quite recently, in 2006, as a replacement for the discontinued Scottish Derby previously held at Ayr. Many bookmakers see this as potential trial for August’s International Stakes, which takes place as part of the Yorkshire Ebor Festival over the same distance and course.

To date, no horse has succeeded here twice. The winner of the inaugural meeting was the 2/5 favourite Best Alibi trained by Sir Michael Stoute. The following year, favoured Eagle Mountain, trained by Aiden O’Brien, failed to deliver on his 6/5 promise, and the Godolphin-owned Stage Gift took the honours at 8/1.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor followed up on Stage Gift’s victory with a second win in 2009, as Kirklees won as the favourite at even odds. Between those two triumphs, another favorite, Pipedreamer, delivered for trainer John Gosden at 2/1 odds.

All age groups have been represented at the winner’s enclosure at the York Stakes and in strict ascending order. Best Alibi was three when he won, Stage Gift and Pipedreamer were both four, and Kirklees was five. It should have come as no surprise, then when the 2010 edition was taken at 8/1 odds by a six-year-old, Summit Surge, trained by Italy’s Luca Cumani for Newmarket’s Bedford House Stables and ridden by Kieren Fallon.

No jockey has dominated during the first five years of the York Stakes. Like Fallon, Ryan Moore, Jamie Spencer, Seb Sanders and Frankie Dettori each have a victory apiece. Given so little history to go on and no long-odds winners seen yet, handicappers might be wise to concentrate on Trifecta and Perfecta combinations to claim enhanced payouts. To date, there have never been more than nine starters from which to choose, and the average number is eight.

York’s Music Showcase Weekend offers only “integrated events,” meaning admission on a concert-only basis is not available. In fact, the tracks gates are closed at the time of the last race and prior to acts taking the stage. Recently scheduled performers have included members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, such as the iconic band Blondie with Debbie Harry, as well as groups hot off the charts like Scouting for Girls.

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