Five New Grade I Races in 2007; Two Others Drop to Grade II

California, which has the highest number of graded stakes of any racing state, will have four new grade I races in 2007, as a result of a meeting Nov. 30 of the American Graded Stakes Committee.

The committee meets annually to review the races eligible to receive graded status. This year it looked at 722 unrestricted stakes with a purse of at least $75,000 and graded 474, one less than was graded this year.

Four of the five upgraded to grade I are run in California -- the Goodwood, Breeders' Cup Handicap, Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap, and Norfolk Breeders' Cup Stakes at Oak Tree at Santa Anita, and the Del Mar Futurity at Del Mar. The other race to receive new grade I status is the Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland.

Two races were downgraded from grade I to grade II -- the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs and the Matron Stakes at Belmont Park.

There will be 38 grade I races in New York in 2007 and 37 in California. The only other state in double digits is Kentucky, with 21.

There were 104 grade I races in 2006, and there will be 107 in 2007. The number of grade II races drops from 160 to 157, and the number of grade III races is 210, one less than this year.

Three races were upgraded to grade II and there are five new grade III races for 2007.

Upgraded to grade II are the Mac Diarmida Handicap at Gulfstream Park, Allaire DuPont Breeders' Cup Distaff Handicap at Pimlico, and Cashcall Invitational Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Two races were downgraded from grade II to grade III -- the Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes at Hollywood Park and Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct. The Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs was not eligible for grading in 2007.

Five races were upgraded to grade III status for 2007 -- the Colonial Turf Cup Stakes at Colonial Downs, Alysheba Stakes and Winning Colors Stakes at Churchill Downs, Canadian Turf Handicap at Gulfstream Park, and Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland.

Five races lost their grades, going from grade III to ungraded. They are the Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes at Monmouth Park, Lexington Stakes at Belmont Park, Bay Meadows Derby at Bay Meadows, Fifth Season Stakes at Oaklawn Park, and Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.

View Full List: Graded Stakes for 2007