The American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association released Tuesday its listing of U.S. graded stakes for 2004, the results of its annual grading session conducted Nov. 24 in Lexington, Ky.The committee reviewed 759 unrestricted U.S. stakes races with a purse of at least $75,000, and assigned graded status to 480 of them, seven less than were graded in 2003.A total of 12 graded races were upgraded, including four new grade I races and eight new grade II races; six new grade III races were identified. Three grade II races and 11 races which carried grade III status in 2003 are no longer graded.Four races were upgraded to grade I status for 2004: the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, the Citation Handicap and American Oaks at Hollywood Park, and the Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar.Five races were downgraded from grade I to grade II for 2004: the Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park; Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park; San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap and San Carlos Handicap at Santa Anita Park; and Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga. Eight races were upgraded to grade II status for 2004: the Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park; Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park; La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar; Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park; Stonerside Forward Gal Stakes at Gulfstream Park; Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland; Just A Game Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park; and the Honorable Miss Stakes at Saratoga. Three races were downgraded from grade II to grade III in 2004: the Appleton Handicap at Gulfstream Park; Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar; and the Astarita Stakes at Belmont Park. The Hialeah Turf Cup Handicap and Black Helen Handicap at Hialeah Park and Princess Stakes at Hollywood Park were not eligible for grading in 2004.Six races were upgraded to grade III status for 2004: the Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes at River Downs; Northern Dancer Stakes at Churchill Downs; Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs; Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows; Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap at Fair Grounds; and the Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
Four races were downgraded from grade III to ungraded status for 2004: the Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park; Baltimore Breeders' Cup Handicap at Pimlico; Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park; and the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs.The Flamingo Stakes, Everglades Stakes, Widener Handicap, and Bougainvillea Handicap at Hialeah Park; Bel Air Handicap and Fastness Handicap at Hollywood Park; and Honey Bee Handicap at The Meadowlands were not eligible for grading in 2004.Following is a summary breakdown of all grade levels and a complete list of all upgraded and downgraded U.S. races for the 2004 racing season.2004 Graded Stakes -- Number--% Graded--%Eligible--Change from 2003
Grade I -- 100--20.8%--Decrease of 1
Grade II -- 159--33.1%--Increase of 4
Grade III -- 221--46.0%--Decrease of 10
All Graded -- 480--63.2%--Decrease of 7
Ungraded -- 279--36.8%
All Eligible Races--759Related Story: Stakes, Well Done After 30 Years