Posted: Dec. 1, 2017
The American Graded Stakes Committee during its Nov. 28-29 review assigned graded status to 455 stakes for 2018, nine fewer than this year.
No races were upgraded to grade I, but one grade I event—the Delaware Handicap for fillies and mares at Delaware Park—was dropped to grade II status for next year. That makes for 107 grade I stakes in 2018, or 23.3% of the total number of graded events.
The AGSC reviewed 806 U.S. stakes with a purse of at least $75,000. Listed status was granted for 177 races. Seven graded races were upgraded; five new grade III stakes were named; 18 new listed races were upgraded from non-listed black-type status. Sixteen races that carried graded or listed status in 2017 are no longer eligible for grading.
According to the AGSC, stakes upgraded to grade II next year are the Belmont Gold Cup Invitational, Hill Prince, Jaipur Invitational and Miss Grillo at Belmont Park; the Appalachian and JP Morgan Chase at Keeneland; and the Glens Falls at Saratoga Race Course.
Seven stakes were downgraded from grade II to grade III: the Nashua at Aqueduct Racetrack; the Forward Gal, Honey Fox, Royal Delta and Swale S at Gulfstream Park; the Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup at Laurel Park; and the Amsterdam at Saratoga.
Five stakes were upgraded to grade III status for 2018: the Soaring Softly at Belmont; the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint at Kentucky Downs; the West Virginia Governor’s at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort; the Remington Park Oaks at Remington Park; and the Troy at Saratoga.
Eleven races were downgraded from grade III to listed status: the Jerome and Top Flight Invitational at Aqueduct; the Futurity at Belmont; the Colonel E.R. Bradley at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots; the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields; the Carry Back and Miami Mile at Gulfstream; the Betfair.com Pegasus and Cliff Hanger at Monmouth Park; the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino; and the Los Angeles at Santa Anita Park.
Twelve stakes were upgraded to listed status for 2018: the Artie Schiller at Aqueduct; the Allied Forces at Belmont; the Green Flash at Del Mar; the Sand Springs and South Beach at Gulfstream; the Marylander and Richard W. Small at Laurel; the Pennsylvania Derby Champion at Parx Racing; the David M. Vance Sprint at Remington; the Bolton Landing and Caress at Saratoga; and the Lady Jacqueline at ThistleDown Racino.
The AGSC said that for 2018 it has amended its eligibility requirements to make races that have the “non-winners of a sweepstakes condition” eligible for listed status as long as they meet all other requirements.
There will be 129 grade II stakes (28.4% of the total) and 220 grade III stakes (48.4% of the total) in 2018.
(Photo by Tom LaMarra)