The decision by Colonial Downs to allow older horses to compete in the Colonial Turf Cup Stakes will result in the race losing its grade II status for 2011.
According to an announcement from the American Graded Stakes Committee, changing the conditions of the June 18 race from being restricted to 3-year-olds to make it open to 3-year-olds and upward is a “material change and therefore the committee considers the race a new race for grading purposes.”
The 1 1/16-mile grass race will be ungraded this year and must be run for two years under the new conditions before becoming eligible for being graded.
When Colonial announced the change for the Colonial Turf Cup, it said the decision was an “experimental” initiative led by Virginia horsemen to create an opportunity for past Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) winners to return to Colonial Downs.