After a two-day meeting in Lexington, Ky., the American Graded Stakes Committee on Thursday released the list of stakes races that will have graded status in 2002.
As a result of the committee's review, which uses a five-year formula to assess races and assign graded status, there is a net gain of eight graded races in 2002, bringing to 486 the number of races assigned graded status from the 751 eligible races. This year, 478 races were graded. Eligible races are those that are unrestricted and carry a purse of at least $75,000.
The number of grade I races for 2002 remains unchanged at 101, which 20.8% of all the graded races. There was a loss of two grade II races, with 155 (13.9% of total graded races) assigned that status next year. At the lowest level of graded stakes, there will be eight more grade III races next year, with a total of 2230 such events (47.3% of total graded races).
Based on the upgrades and downgrades, California had a net loss of four graded races and Kentucky had a net gain of five graded stakes for 2002. Three of the four races moved up to grade I from grade II are run at Kentucky tracks; the other is in New York.
The committee, chaired by Russell Jones, was formerly called the North American Graded Stakes Committee when Canadian races were in the mix. The panel was formed in 1973 and operates under the auspices of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. The grades it assigns are of particular use to breeders for sale catalog pages, but also are used for point or earnings systems that determine eligibility for the top Thoroughbred races.
Included among the nine races were upgraded for 2002 are four new grade I races and five new grade II races. Five races run as grade III in 2001 are no longer graded, while five have been upgraded to grade II from grade III; 13 races that were ungraded in 2001 have grade III designation for 2002.
The four races upgraded to grade I for 2002 are the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct, the Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes at Keeneland, and the Stephen Foster Handicap and Humana Distaff Handicap at Churchill Downs.
The four races downgraded from grade I to grade II for 2002 are the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita, Super Derby at Louisiana Downs, and the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park. The Gulfstream Park Handicap is scheduled for grade II status in 2003.
The five races upgraded to grade II status for 2002 are the Falls City Handicap and Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs, the Lazaro S. Barrera Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park, the Princess Rooney Stakes at Calder Race Course, and the Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont.
The seven races downgraded from grade II to grade III in 2002 are the Bel Air Handicap, Hawthorne Handicap, and Railbird Stakes at Hollywood Park, the Arlington Washington Futurity at Arlington Park, the Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs, the Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct, and the Kentucky Cup Sprint at Turfway Park. The Illinois Derby at Sportsman's Park and San Bernardino Handicap at Santa Anita are scheduled for downgrade to grade III in 2003.
Thirteen races upgraded to grade III status for 2002 are the Memorial Day Handicap and Miami Mile Handicap at Calder Race Course, the Floral Park Handicap at Belmont, the Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park, the Leonard Richards Stakes at Delaware Park, the Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park, the Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park, the Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs, the Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, the Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland, the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds, the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs, and the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park.
Three races were downgraded from grade III to ungraded status for 2002: the Laurel Turf Cup Stakes at Laurel Race Course; Reeve Schley Jr. Stakes at Monmouth Park; and Round Table Stakes at Arlington Park. The Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park and Stymie Handicap at Aqueduct are scheduled for downgrade to ungraded status in 2003.
Following is a summary breakdown from the committee of all grade levels and a complete list of all upgraded and downgraded U.S. races for the 2002 racing season.RACES UPGRADED FOR 2002:3-Year-Old Fillies
Raven Run S., (Keeneland), Ungraded to grade III
Miss Preakness S., (Pimlico), Ungraded to grade IIIOlder Fillies and Mares
Humana Distaff H., (Churchill Downs), grade II to grade I
Falls City H., (Churchill Downs), grade III to grade II
Fleur de Lis H., (Churchill Downs), grade III to grade II
Princess Rooney S., (Calder Race Course, grade III to grade II
Vagrancy H., (Belmont), grade III to grade II
Floral Park H., (Belmont), Ungraded to grade III3-Year-Olds
Wood Memorial S., (Aqueduct), grade II to grade I
Lazaro S. Barrera Memorial H., (Hollywood Park), grade III to grade II
Indiana Derby, (Hoosier Park), Ungraded to grade III
Leonard Richards S., (Delaware Park), Ungraded to grade III
Lone Star Derby, (Lone Star Park), Ungraded to grade III
Long Branch S., (Monmouth Park), Ungraded to grade III
Risen Star S., (Fair Grounds), Ungraded to grade III
Tampa Bay Derby, (Tampa Bay Downs), Ungraded to grade III
West Virginia Derby, (Mountaineer Park), Ungraded to grade IIIOlder Horses
Stephen Foster H., (Churchill Downs), grade II to grade I
Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile (T), (Keeneland), grade II to grade I
Louisville H. (T), (Churchill Downs), Ungraded to grade III
Memorial Day H., (Calder Race Course), Ungraded to grade III
Miami Mile Breeders' Cup H. (T), (Calder Race Course), Ungraded to grade IIIRACES DOWNGRADED FOR 2002:2-Year-Old Fillies
Oak Leaf S., (Santa Anita), grade I to grade II3-Year-Old Fillies
Railbird S., (Hollywood Park), grade II to grade III
Reeve Schley Jr. S. (T), (Monmouth Park), grade III to Ungraded
Sweetest Chant S. (T), (Gulfstream Park), discontinuedOlder Fillies and Mares
Hawthorne H., (Hollywood Park), grade II to grade III2-Year-Olds
Arlington Washington Futurity, (Arlington Park), grade II to grade III
Bashford Manor S., (Churchill Downs), grade II to grade III3-Year-Olds
Jim Dandy S., (Saratoga), grade I to grade II
Super Derby, (Louisiana Downs), grade I to grade II
Swaps S., (Hollywood Park), grade I to grade II
Kentucky Cup Sprint S., (Turfway Park), grade II to grade III
Round Table S., (Arlington Park), grade III to UngradedOlder Horses
Bel Air H., (Hollywood Park), grade II to grade III
Fall Highweight H., (Aqueduct), grade II to grade III
Laurel Turf Cup S. (T), (Laurel Race Course), grade III to Ungraded
William P. Kyne H., (Bay Meadows), ineligibleRACES DOWNGRADED AT 2001 SESSION, TO GO INTO EFFECT IN 2003:
Gulfstream Park H., (Gulfstream Park) grade I to grade II
Illinois Derby, (Sportsmans Park) grade II to grade III
San Bernardino H., (Santa Anita), grade II to grade III
Honeybee S., (Oaklawn Park), grade III to Ungraded
Stymie H., (Aqueduct), grade III to Ungraded