Saratoga Derby Intern’l Prep for Cox Plate

July 5, 2023

In 2021, Joseph O’Brien’s colt State of Rest won the Saratoga Derby before winning the Cox Plate (Elsa Lorieul)

2023 G1 Saratoga Derby Invitational Announced as Next International Qualifier for Ladbrokes Cox Plate

NYRA Press Office

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) today announced the Grade 1, $600,000 Saratoga Derby Invitational, slated for Saturday, August 5 at Saratoga Racecourse, will offer the winner an automatic berth into the Group 1, $AUD5million Ladbrokes Cox Plate. 

The new lucrative partnership will provide the winner of the Saratoga Derby, a 1 3/16-mile [1900 meters] test for sophomores, a place in the starting gate for the Ladbrokes Cox Plate on October 28, 2023 at Moonee Valley in Victoria, Australia, with winning connections afforded generous subsidies for transportation and accommodation.

The Saratoga Derby is the second leg of an important three-race turf invitational series for 3-year-olds on the NYRA circuit that includes the Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Derby and the 11-furlong Grade 3, $500,000 Jockey Club Derby.

The first leg of the series, the Grade 1 Belmont Derby over 1 1/4-miles [2000 meters], runs this Saturday, whereby the winner will be invited to run in the Grade 1 Saratoga Derby.

In 2021, Joseph O’Brien’s colt State of Rest (IRE) won the Saratoga Derby before coming to Melbourne to win the Ladbrokes Cox Plate, defeating subsequential 2022 winner Anamoe in a thrilling finish.

State of Rest later returned to Europe and won the Group 1 Prix Ganay in France and the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, achieving the incredible feat of winning four Group 1 races in four different countries. State of Rest is now a resident stallion at Newgate. 

Aidan O’Brien followed a similar pathway in 2014 when training the first ever international winner of the W.S. Cox Plate – Adelaide (IRE). Adelaide finished second in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby and won the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes in the US before famously winning the W.S. Cox Plate with champion jockey Ryan Moore on board.

NYRA Senior Vice-President, Racing Operations, Frank Gabriel, said NYRA was pleased to partner with Moonee Valley Racing Club to offer horsemen an added incentive to compete in a marquee race at the historic Saratoga summer meet.

“The Saratoga Derby Invitational has proven to be a strong race, attracting both top North American horses as well as well-regarded international shippers. The added bonus of a potential berth in one of the world’s top races should only increase the strength of field.”

MVRC Head of Racing, Charlotte Mills, said the MVRC was excited to make the Saratoga Derby an international qualifier race for the 2023 Ladbrokes Cox Plate, following the success of State of Rest in 2021.

“We feel there is still significant growth to come with the Saratoga Derby and it will continue to attract some of the best 3-year-olds in the world.

“The Ladbrokes Cox Plate has long been a stallion making race, and this connection between the two races also presents a wonderful opportunity for colts to secure a breeding career beyond racing, with recognition in both hemispheres eminent.”

The final field for the 2023 Grade 1 Saratoga Derby will be drawn on Wednesday, August 2.

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