Conditions were favourable for northern hemisphere entrants after Melbourne saw heavy rainfall on Tuesday which saturated the track, creating conditions that favour lighter horses used to softer ground.
The 2014 race claimed the lives of two runners in favourite Admire Rakti and seventh-placed Araldo, while French mare Verema died after breaking her leg in the back straight of the 2013 edition.
Ryan Moore, who was just in the U.S.to ride at the Breeders' Cup, had the riding assignment on the ill-fated horse.
It was a relief for McEvoy, who was blocked when Aidan O'Brien-trained Cliffsofmoher pulled up lame early in the race.
The Melbourne Cup was marred by tragedy on Tuesday when the five-year-old stallion shattered his shoulder mid-race and had to be euthanised.
Racing Victoria's (RV) Executive General Manager - Integrity Services Jamie Stier said the Irish galloper couldn't be saved due to the nature of the injury.More news: The Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes makes all Kepler data publicly available
"Considering Australians hate cruelty to animals, commemorating a day on which horses routinely die in the Melbourne Cup is fundamentally un-Australian", a PETA spokesman said.
But the death of The Cliffsofmoher overshadowed the occasion. "The racing industry has much work to do".
"RSPCA Australia has long voiced its concerns about the welfare of racehorses, including the use of inhumane devices such as whips and tongue ties, as well as the risk to injury and death during races".
The activist group called The Cliffsofmoher "the most recent victim of the cruel annual spectacle". Another lovely horse dead.
The Chairmen and Directors of the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) later extended their sympathies, with Flemington Racecourse tweeting their condolences, "To the Williams family and the connections of The CliffsofMoher, which was euthanised after he went amiss in the Melbourne Cup".
"Before they've even finished maturing, these 500-kilogram [1,102 pounds] animals are forced to race at breakneck speeds while being whipped and pushed past their limits, supported on ankles as small as those of humans".
Veterinarians rushed on to the track as soon as the race was completed as a tarp was erected around the fallen stayer.