The 2013 Melbourne Cup, Australia's major thoroughbred horse race, begins Tuesday at 3:00 pm AEDT.
Called "the race that stops a nation," the Melbourne Cup is a 3,200 meter race conducted by the Victoria Racing Club on the Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday in November.
The first race was over two miles (about 3,218 meters), but was shortened to 3,200 meters in 1972 when Australia adopted the metric system. Kingston Rule holds the record for fastest time at 3 minutes and 16.3 seconds.
Fiorente is the favorite to win this year's race (7.5), having placed second behind Green Moon in the 2012 Melbourne Cup. Fiorente is trained by Gai Waterhouse and raced by jockey Damien Oliver. The 6-year-old thoroughbred has a career winnings of over $1.57 million.
Rounding out the top five favorites are Mount Athos (9.0, trainer Luca Cumani, jockey Craig Williams), Dandino (10.0, trainer Marco Botti, jockey Ryan Moore), Verema (13.0, trainer Alain De Royer-Dupre), and Sea Moon (15.0).
Brian Jenkins, who trained 1998 winner Jezaebeel, said Dear Demi (19.0) had beaten the handicapper.
"She has a remarkable number of similarities to Jezabeel in the same weight, jockey, barrier and saddlecloth," he said. "Whether she will be able to push forward then come back under Chris Munce like Jezabeel did is the unknown."
British-bred and Australian-trained mare Makybe Diva became the first horse to win the Melbourne Cup three times, winning the race in 2003, 2004, and 2005. She was one of only five horses to have won the Cup more than once in the race's history. The others are Archer, who won in 1861 -- the first year the cup was run -- and 1862, Peter Pan in 1932 and 1934, Rain Lover in 1968 and 1969, and Think Big in 1974 and 1975.
Bart Cummings has the most wins by a trainer at 12 (1965, 1966, 1967, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1990, 1991, 1996, 1999, 2008).
[Photo credit: Charlievdb / Flickr]