Graded stakes system takes cue from Europe's pattern program
The American Graded Stakes Committee has formed a subcommittee to examine the number of grade I stakes as it relates to the current and projected racehorse inventory in the United States.
New systems are in place to monitor the quality of black-type stakes
Swipe, a good third in a June 26 allowance race in his first start since mid-April, wheels back off 13 days' rest for the $500,000 Dwyer Stakes (gr. III) July 9 at Belmont Park.
Two sharp turf sprinters owned by Colts Neck Stables, along with The Jim Stable's Ben's Cat and recent grade III winner Pure Sensation, are among 10 horses entered in the $200,000 Parx Dash (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds and up July 9 at Parx Racing.
Donegal Racing's Donegal Moon, fourth in the Sir Barton Stakes in his last start, broke through for his first stakes victory in the $100,000 Betfair.com Pegasus Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds June 19 at Monmouth Park.
The $250,000 True North Stakes (gr. II), to be run June 11 as part of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) program, has quietly become one of the nation's premier stakes sprints with a rich history of speedy, talented, and memorable winners.
Trainer Mark Casse looks to have a strong one-two punch in the $500,000 Penn Mile (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds June 4 at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' Illuminant got the jump on heavily favored Wekeela on the far turn and pulled away to win the $300,000 Gamely Stakes (gr. IT) May 30 at Santa Anita Park.
Spendthrift Farm and Stonestreet Stables' Cyrus Alexander, a 4-year-old Medaglia d'Oro colt, got his first stakes win when he captured the $200,000 Lone Star Handicap (gr. III) for 3-year-olds and up May 30 at Lone Star Park.
HnR Nothhaft Racing's Living The Life ran her Golden Gate Fields record to two-for-two with a victory over males in the $100,000 All American Stakes (gr. III) on the Tapeta surface May 30.
The addition of blinkers and a dawdling pace may have helped, but in any event the consistent 3-year-old Red Giant colt Surgical Strike finally broke through for his first grade stakes victory May 28 at Arlington International Racecourse.
Gulfstream Park will offer $525,000 in purses over seven stakes June 4 as part of its Summit of Speed Preview Day program.
Trainer Tim Glyshaw called an audible May 21 at Churchill Downs, and it resulted in the first graded stakes victory of his career with Bullards Alley in the Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT).
John Oxley's Noble Bird rebounded from a disappointing effort at Churchill Downs two weeks earlier with a dominant victory in the $300,000 Pimlico Special (gr. III) May 20 at Pimlico Race Course.
Stanford and Page McKenney, the one-two finishers in the $1.25 million Charles Town Classic (gr. II) last time out, are set for a rematch in the $300,000 Pimlico Special (gr. III) May 20 at Pimlico Race Course, if Stanford makes the gate.
Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Susan Magnier's multiple graded-stakes winner Taris will cut back in distance after a strong effort in a 1 1/8-mile grade I stakes in California when she starts in the $300,000 Humana Distaff (gr. I) May 7.
C. R. Trout's Shotgun Kowboy, an Oklahoma-bred who last year showed enough promise to warrant a start in the grade I Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs, will make his third start off a layoff in the May 6 Texas Mile (gr. III) at Lone Star Park.
German-bred Olorda has found new life racing on the lead, as evidenced by a gate-to-wire win the $150,000 Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares April 29, closing day of the spring meet at Keeneland.
In keeping with tradition, California-based horses again populate the list of nominees for the $1.25 million Charles Town Classic (gr. II), which this year will be run April 23.
Earle Mack, Wachtel Stable, and Brous Stable's Take the Stand popped the gate from the rail post position and never looked back in a handy victory in the $300,000 Muniz Memorial Stakes (gr. IIT) March 26 at Fair Grounds.
The Jockey Club March 17 said its Graded Stakes Out-of-Competition Testing Grant Fund program again will be in effect in 2016.
Terry Hamilton's Heart to Heart began 2016 the way his 2015 season ended -- with a victory in a graded stakes, this time the $200,000 Ft. Lauderdale (gr. IIT) for 4-year-olds and up Jan. 9 at Gulfstream Park.
The West Virginia Racing Commission Dec. 23 approved the $1.25 million purse for the 2016 Charles Town Classic (gr. II), but the vote wasn't unanimous.
The American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association Dec. 4 presented its listing of U.S. graded and listed stakes races for 2016.
The third and final Thoroughbred meet of 2015 at Los Alamitos Race Course begins Dec. 3 with an eight-race program. Racing will be conducted on a Thursday-through-Sunday basis through Dec. 20 with first post at 12:30 PST.
The Pizza Man, coming off a good fifth-place finish last out in the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), proved too much for his Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IIT) field, easily capturing the Nov. 26 race in which he was third a year ago.
The $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot, inaugurated in 2002, has come a long way, and a decision made several years ago to move the race to the afternoon has led to strong gains in pari-mutuel wagering.
Big Chief Racing's Exaggerator, a steady fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), was installed the 2-1 morning-line choice for the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (gr. III) Nov. 21.
Matthew Schera's Cyclogenisis, who was on the also-eligible list for an Oct. 3 off-the-turf stakes at Keeneland, won't have that problem Oct. 18.
Skychai Racing hopes to continue to reap dividends on its June 21 claim of Da Big Hoss, one of 11 entered in the $100,000 Sycamore Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland Oct. 15.
The American Graded Stakes Committee has reinstated the grade III status of the Oct. 3 Woodford Stakes, which was originally scheduled for turf but moved to the main track at Keeneland.
Taris, an easy winner of the Rancho Bernardo Stakes (gr. III) at Del Mar in her first start of the year, heads the $100,000 LA Woman Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita Park Oct. 4.
Reddam Racing's Ralis, an easy winner of the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) in his first start outside of California, figures to be favored versus eight other 2-year-olds in the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Oct. 3.
Trainer Chad Brown could have as many as four of the 10 possible runners in the Flower Bowl, but expected rain in the New York area will make this a challenging race to forecast.
Alert Bay, owned by Peter Redekop B.C., rallied late to capture the $200,000 City of Hope Mile (gr. IIT) Sept. 27 at Santa Anita Park.
Two top runners from the Todd Pletcher stable turned in works Sept. 20 at Belmont Park in preparation for starts in grade I stakes Sept. 26 at the New York track.
A Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association committee has renewed talks regarding a proposal to phase out use of race-day furosemide in graded stakes.
Lael Stables' Ageless, who rarely fails to put forth an excellent effort, is scheduled to return to Presque Isle Downs & Casino Sept. 7 for another try in the $400,000 Presque Isle Masters Stakes (gr. II).
If horses on the list of probable starters all show up, the Sept. 5 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course could prove very interesting.
Saratoga Race Course reported record pari-mutuel handle for its Aug. 29 program that featured the Travers Stakes and five other grade I stakes.
Live Oak Plantation's Souper Colossal, a sharp second in the West Virginia Derby (gr. II) in his last start, will attempt to capture his first graded stakes in the Smarty Jones Stakes (gr. III) Aug. 29 at Parx.
Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino's two-time grade I winner Obviously will make his 2015 debut in the Del Mar Mile Handicap (gr. IIT), a race he has won twice, Aug. 23 at Del Mar.
A late rally into second by Watsdachances helped the daughter of Diamond Green to her first grade I victory when she was placed first in the Beverly D. Stakes Aug. 15 at Arlington International Racecourse.
As advertised, Parx Racing will greatly increase purses across the board when it reopens Aug. 29, after a short break that is part of a reduction in racing dates.
Preston Stables' Flashy American, who last raced in the grade I Delaware Handicap, and the lightly raced but ultra-consistent Willow Hills are among those entered for the $100,000 Groupie Doll Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 8.
- By Tom LaMarra
- Thoroughbred Racing, Breeders' Cup, Northeast Region, Midwest Region, Mid-Atlantic Region
Cheyenne Stables and Mac Nichol's Madefromlucky, out of the shadow of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, rallied nicely from off the pace to capture the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. II) Aug. 1 at Mountaineer.
Two colts that have been chasing Triple Crown winner American Pharoah will seek to get back on track when they face nine other 3-year-olds in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. II) Aug. 1 at Mountaineer.
Sheer Drama turned the tables on Frivolous to win the $750,000 Delaware Handicap (gr. I) July 18 at Delaware Park and earn the first grade I victory of her career.
Harold Queen's Sheer Drama will attempt to avenge her loss to Frivolous in the June 13 Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) when those two and five other fillies and mares face off in the $750,000 Delaware Handicap (gr. I) July 18.
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