Nine stakes were upgraded and four achieved graded status for 2012 after a review by the American Graded Stakes Committee Nov. 30-Dec. 1.
The committee, which falls under the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, reviewed 659 unrestricted stakes in the United States with a purse of at least $75,000, the minimum amount required for grade III status. The AGSC assigned grades to 465 stakes, nine fewer than were graded in 2011.
There will be four new grade I stakes, five new grade II races, and four new grade III events for 2012. Eleven races that carried graded status in 2011 are no longer eligible for grading.
There will be 112 grade I stakes, 151 grade II stakes, and 202 grade III stakes, according to statistics provided by the AGSC. About 70% of eligible stakes will carry grades.
The four races upgraded to grade I are the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, which will be run at Santa Anita Park next year; the Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing; and the Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland.
The five races upgraded to grade II are the Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs; Charles Town Classic Stakes at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races; Monmouth Stakes on turf at Monmouth Park; and Pan American Stakes and Honey Fox Stakes, both on grass at Gulfstream Park.
The four new grade III races are the Smarty Jones Stakes, Greenwood Cup Stakes, and Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap, all at Parx, and the James Marvin Stakes at Saratoga.
Four races were downgraded from grade I to grade II: the Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes and Ruffian Invitational Handicap at Saratoga; the Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes at Hollywood Park; and the Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar.
Five races were downgraded from grade II to grade III: the American Derby at Arlington Park, Carry Back Stakes at Calder Casino & Race Course, Swale Stakes at Gulfstream, Providencia Stakes at Santa Anita, and Shuvee Handicap at Belmont Park.
The Colonial Turf Cup Stakes at Colonial Downs and First Flight Handicap at Belmont were not eligible for grading in 2012, the committee said.
Two races were downgraded from grade III to ungraded: the Ouija Board Distaff Stakes at Lone Star Park and Endine Stakes at Delaware Park.
Not eligible for grading for 2012 are the Bryan Station Stakes and Perryville Stakes at Keeneland; Will Rogers Stakes, Round Table Handicap, and Ack Ack Handicap at Hollywood Park; Golden Gate Fields Turf Stakes at Golden Gate Fields; El Conejo Handicap and Tuzla Handicap at Santa Anita; and the Nassau County Stakes at Belmont.