The American Graded Stakes Committee announced Aug. 12 it will raise for 2014 the minimum purse required for a stakes race to be eligible for grade I or grade II status.
Minimum purse levels will be increased by $50,000 for both grade levels to $300,000 for grade I stakes and $200,000 for grade II stakes races. Minimum purses for grade III, listed, and grade-eligible stakes races will remain at $100,000, $75,000 and $75,000, respectively, for 2014.
"There had been no raise in the purse minimum for graded stakes for several years and the committee felt it was important to have higher purses for our top tier races," said Dr. J. David Richardson, chairman of the AGSC, which is part of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. "Many non-stakes races now have purses comparable to graded races and we believe our best races should be set apart from the rest. With the declining foal crops we may see a movement toward somewhat fewer but more valuable graded races."
The AGSC expects to increase the minimum purse level on U.S. grade III races to $150,000 in 2015. An analysis of listed and grade-eligible races will determine if an adjustment to their minimum purse amount also will be made.