The Kennedy Mile is a Group 1 Quality race run over a mile on the first day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival: Victoria Derby Day. The Kennedy Mile is one of four Group Ones contested on what the purists say is the best day of racing in Australia.
A race with a long history and run under many names, the Kennedy Mile was first contested back in 1881 as the Coburg Stakes. The race has also been named the George Adams Handicap, the Emirates Stakes and since 2017, the Kennedy Mile. The race is perhaps better known by its official registered name of the Cantala Stakes, that was used in every edition between 1919 and 1961.
Along with the Epsom at Royal Randwick, the Kennedy is the highlight mile race during the spring carnival. The handicap conditions ensure that every horse has a chance of winning, leading to an open betting race. In fact, in the last ten editions of the race, the average winning price has exceeded the thirteen dollar mark.
Unlike many of the other minor Group One races during the Spring Carnival, the Kennedy Mile is typically not used as a lead-up for a bigger and better race. Instead, the race is the Grand Final for all the horses contesting, with their trainers sure to have them peaking at just the right moment.
And with a prize purse of a million dollars up for grabs, the Kennedy Mile has become a very profitable race to win for all connections involved.
2017 Kennedy Mile
Last year, the Chris Waller-trained Shillelagh got the better of his stablemate and second-place specialist Tom Melbourne in the narrowest of finishes.