See the 2021 Lightning Stakes Preview and Results.
The Lightning Stakes was first run in 1955 over a distance of 5 furlongs (about 1006 metres) when it was won by Gay Vista. The distance changed to 1000 metres in 1973 when Australia adopted metric measurements.
The race was classified as a Principal race from 1955 to 1979, then became a Group 2 in 1980. In 1987 it was upgraded to a Group 1 race and has a special place as Australia’s shortest Group 1 race. It is normally run at Flemington, but in 2007 it was held at Moonee Valley due to major track renovations at Flemington.
Top class sprinters often tackle the Lightning Stakes as part of their preparation for the Newmarket Handicap over 1200 metres, which is usually run 3 weeks later. In between many of the best sprinters will also run in the Oakleigh Plate over 1100 metres which is held at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, one week after the Lightning Stakes. Only two horses have ever won the Lightning Stakes, Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Melbourne sprint treble and they were Schillaci in 1992 and Placid Ark in 1987.
When Black Caviar won the race for the third consecutive year in 2013, her time of 55.42 seconds, took .08 of a second from a track record that had stood for 25 years. It was set by Special in the 1988 edition of the event.