December 4, 2020

Three races upgraded to Grade 1, six downgraded to Grade 2 status in 2019

Limousine Liberal and jockey Jose Ortiz were on top of a three-horse blanket finish in the Churchill Downs Stakes (G2) on Kentucky Derby Saturday, May 5, 2018, at Churchill Downs (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

Plenty of movement on the Grade 1 front for 2019 as the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) announced the results of their annual grading session on Friday.

A pair of stakes on the Belmont Stakes (G1) undercard in recent years – the Jaipur and Woody Stephens – and the Churchill Downs Stakes on the Kentucky Derby (G1) undercard were upgraded to Grade 1 status for 2019.

Six races were downgraded from Grade 1 to Grade 2s: the Beldame at Belmont Park; Stephen Foster H. at Churchill Downs; Los Alamitos Futurity at Los Alamitos Race Course; and Santa Margarita, Triple Bend and Zenyatta at Santa Anita Park.

The Stephen Foster has featured Horse of the Year winners Gun Runner and Curlin; champion Blame; and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Fort Larned in the last decade.

The downgrading of the Beldame and Zenyatta leaves the Spinster Stakes at Keeneland as the only non-restricted Grade 1 prep race for Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) contenders in the fall.

A total of 807 U.S. stakes with a purse of at least $75,000 were reviewed by the Committee, who assigned graded status to 450 races, five fewer than were graded in 2018, and listed status to 187 races.

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint; Twin Spires Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs; Gallant Bob at Parx Racing; Eddie D at Santa Anita Park; and Amsterdam at Saratoga were all upgraded to Grade 2 events.

Dropping from Grade 2 to Grade 3 were the Chilukki at Churchill Downs; Barbara Fritchie at Laurel Park; Bayakoa at Los Alamitos Race Course; and Honeymoon, La Canada and Santa Ana at Santa Anita Park.

Nine races were upgraded to Grade 3: the Forbidden Apple and Futurity at Belmont Park; Green Flash H. at Del Mar; Franklin-Simpson at Kentucky Downs; Chick Lang at Pimlico; Astra, Joe Hernandez and Sweet Life at Santa Anita Park; and Quick Call at Saratoga.

The Committee also revealed created a new division for three-year-olds and up turf sprints in 2019 that includes races for both sexes.  Previously, dirt and turf sprints were combined into one division for each sex.

2019 Graded Stakes Number % Graded % Eligible  Change from 2018
Grade I 103 22.90% -3
Grade II 131 29.10% 2
Grade III 216 48.00% -4
All Graded 450 55.80%
Listed 174 21.50%
Listed – Restricted 13 1.60%
Non-Listed Eligible 170 21.10%
All Gr., L & NLE Races 807

Races Upgraded for 2019:

Two-Year-Old Fillies – None

Three-Year-Old Fillies
Sweet Life S. (T) (Santa Anita Park) Listed to Grade III
Beverly J. Lewis S. (Los Alamitos Race Course) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
Black Pearl S. (T) (Santa Anita Park) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
Christiecat S. (T) (Belmont Park) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
Riskaverse S. (T) (Saratoga) non-Listed Black Type to Listed – Restricted
Older Fillies and Mares
Astra S. (T) (Santa Anita Park) Listed to Grade III
Pumpkin Pie S. (Belmont Park) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
River Memories S. (T) (Belmont Park) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
Osunitas S. (T) (Del Mar) non-Listed Black Type to Listed – Restricted
Two-Year-Olds
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (T) Listed to Grade II
Futurity S. (T) (Belmont Park) Listed to Grade III
Three-Year-Olds
Woody Stephens S. (Belmont Park) Grade II to Grade I
Amsterdam S. (Saratoga) Grade III to Grade II
Gallant Bob S. (Parx Racing) Grade III to Grade II
Chick Lang S. (Pimlico) Listed to Grade III
Franklin-Simpson S. (Kentucky Downs) non-Listed Black Type to Grade III
Quick Call S. (Saratoga) Listed to Grade III
Steel Valley Sprint S. (Mahoning Valley Race Course) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
William Walker S. (Churchill Downs) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
Woodchopper S. (Fair Grounds) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
Curlin S. (Saratoga) non-Listed Black Type to Listed – Restricted
Older Horses
Churchill Downs S. (Churchill Downs) Grade II to Grade I
Jaipur Invitational S. (T) (Belmont Park) Grade II to Grade I
Eddie D S. (T) (Santa Anita Park) Grade III to Grade II
Twin Spires Turf Sprint S. (T) (Churchill Downs) Grade III to Grade II
Forbidden Apple S. (T) (Belmont Park) Listed to Grade III
Green Flash H. (T) (Del Mar) Listed to Grade III
Joe Hernandez S. (T) (Santa Anita Park) Listed to Grade III
Belmont Turf Sprint Inv. S. (T) (Belmont Park) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
Buddy Diliberto Memorial S. (T) (Fair Grounds) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
Challenger S. (Tampa Bay Downs) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
Danger’s Hour S. (T) (Aqueduct) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
Dave’s Friend S (Laurel Park) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
Henry S. Clark S. (T) (Laurel Park) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
Queens County S. (Aqueduct) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
Stymie S. (Aqueduct) non-Listed Black Type to Listed
Alydar S. (Saratoga) non-Listed Black Type to Listed – Restricted
John Call S. (T) (Saratoga) non-Listed Black Type to Listed – Restricted
Old Friends S. (T) (Kentucky Downs) non-Listed Black Type to Listed – Restricted
Wickerr S. (T) (Del Mar) non-Listed Black Type to Listed – Restricted

Races Downgraded for 2019:

Two-Year-Old Fillies
Tempted S. (Aqueduct) Grade III to Listed
Delta Downs Princess S. (Delta Downs) not eligible
My Trusty Cat S. (Delta Downs) not eligible
Three-Year-Old Fillies
Honeymoon S. (T) (Santa Anita Park) Grade II to Grade III
Commonwealth Oaks (T) (Laurel Park) Grade III to Listed
DRF Bets Bourbonette S. (Turfway Park) Grade III to Listed
Any Limit S. (Gulfstream Park) Listed to non-Listed Black Type
Boiling Springs S. (T) (Monmouth Park) Listed to non-Listed Black Type
Wide Country S. (Laurel Park) Listed to non-Listed Black Type
Older Fillies and Mares
Beldame S. (Belmont Park) Grade I to Grade II
Santa Margarita S. (Santa Anita Park) Grade I to Grade II
Zenyatta S. (Santa Anita Park) Grade I to Grade II
Barbara Fritchie S. (Laurel Park) Grade II to Grade III
Bayakoa S. (Los Alamitos Race Course) Grade II to Grade III
Chilukki S. (Churchill Downs) Grade II to Grade III
La Canada S. (Santa Anita Park) Grade II to Grade III
Santa Ana S. (T) (Santa Anita Park) Grade II to Grade III
Groupie Doll S. (Ellis Park) Grade III to Listed
My Charmer S. (T) (Gulfstream Park) Grade III to Listed
Violet S. (T) (Monmouth Park) Grade III to Listed
Lady Jacqueline S. (Thistledown) Listed to non-Listed Black Type
Treasure Chest S. (Delta Downs) Listed to non-Listed Black Type
Two-Year-Olds
Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity (Los Alamitos Race Course) Grade I to Grade II
Clever Trevor S. (Remington Park) Listed to non-Listed Black Type
Sapling S. (Monmouth Park) Listed to non-Listed Black Type
Delta Downs Jackpot S. (Delta Downs) not eligible
Three-Year-Olds
Arlington Classic S. (T) (Arlington Park) Grade III to Listed
Dania Beach S. (T) (Gulfstream Park) Grade III to Listed
Betfair.com Long Branch S. (Monmouth Park) Listed to non-Listed Black Type
Tom Ridge S. (Presque Isle Downs) Listed to non-Listed Black Type
Illinois Derby (Hawthorne Racecourse) not eligible
Spectacular Bid S. (Gulfstream Park) not eligible
Older Horses
Stephen Foster H. (Churchill Downs) Grade I to Grade II
Triple Bend S. (Santa Anita Park) Grade I to Grade II
Aristides S. (Churchill Downs) Grade III to Listed
Lone Star Park H. (Lone Star Park) Grade III to Listed
Skip Away S. (Gulfstream Park) Grade III to Listed
WV House of Delegates Speaker’s Cup S. (T) (Mountaineer Park) Listed to non-Listed Black Type
El Prado S. (T) (Gulfstream Park) not eligible
Hawthorne Gold Cup H. (Hawthorne Racecourse) not eligible
Majestic Light S. (Monmouth Park) not eligible
PTHA President’s Cup S. (Parx Racing) not eligible
Precisionist S. (Santa Anita Park) not eligible

1 Comment on Three races upgraded to Grade 1, six downgraded to Grade 2 status in 2019

  1. 7 so cal races downgraded, 1 ny race downgraded, no bias here!!!!!! with small % of stabled horses, it amazes me that so cal horses have dominated the triple crown the last decade,

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