LEXINGTON, Ky - The American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association today presented its listing of U.S. Graded Stakes for 2003, the results of its annual grading session conducted November 25 - 26 in Lexington.
The Committee reviewed 741 unrestricted U.S. stakes races with a purse of at least $75,000, and assigned graded status to 487 of them, one more than were graded in 2002. A total of six graded races were upgraded, including three new Grade I races and three new Grade II races; 10 new Grade III races were identified. Nine races which carried Grade III status in 2002 are no longer graded.
Three races were upgraded to Grade I status for 2002: the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park, the Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park, and the Diana Handicap at Saratoga.
Three races were downgraded from Grade I to Grade II for 2003: the Gulfstream Park Handicap at Gulfstream Park; Oaklawn Handicap at Oaklawn Park; and the Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park.
Three races were upgraded to Grade II status for 2003: the Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar; the Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park; and the Silverbulletday Stakes at the Fair Grounds. The Illinois Derby, originally scheduled for downgrade to Grade III in 2003, will retain its Grade II status.
Three races were downgraded from Grade II to Grade III in 2003: the Pegasus Handicap at The Meadowlands; Philip H. Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park; and the San Bernardino Handicap at Santa Anita Park.
Ten races were upgraded to Grade III status for 2003: the Toboggan Handicap at Aqueduct; Carry Back Stakes, Spend A Buck Handicap, and Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder Race Course; Lecomte Stakes and Whirlaway Handicap at Fair Grounds; Transylvania Stakes, Sycamore Breeders' Cup Stakes, and Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland; and the WinStar Distaff Handicap at Lone Star Park.
Eight races were downgraded from Grade III to Ungraded status for 2003: the Gallant Fox Handicap, Rare Treat Handicap, and Stymie Handicap at Aqueduct; Ascot Handicap at Bay Meadows; Cowdin Stakes at Belmont Park; the Tanforan Handicap at Golden Gate Fields; and the Honeybee Stakes and Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The Laurel Dash Stakes was not eligible for grading in 2003.
Following is a summary breakdown of all grade levels and a complete list of all upgraded and downgraded U.S. races for the 2003 racing season.
|2003 Graded Stakes||Number||% Graded||% Eligible||Change from 2002|
|Grade I||101||20.8%||no change|
|Grade II||155||31.8%||no change|
|All Eligible Races||741|
TOBA American Graded Stakes Committee Summary of Decisions Made at November 25 - 26, 2002 Grading Session
RACES UPGRADED FOR 2003
|Silverbulletday S.||(Fair Grounds)||Grade III to Grade II|
|Older Fillies and Mares|
|Diana H. (T)||(Saratoga)||Grade II to Grade I|
|Delaware H.||(Delaware Park)||Grade III to Grade II|
|WinStar Distaff H. (T)||(Lone Star Park)||Ungraded to Grade III|
|Best Pal S.||(Del Mar)||Grade III to Grade II|
|Carry Back S.||(Calder Race Course)||Ungraded to Grade III|
|Lecomte S.||(Fair Grounds)||Ungraded to Grade III|
|Transylvania S. (T)||(Keeneland)||Ungraded to Grade III|
|Illinois Derby||(Sportsmans Park)||Retains Grade II|
|Suburban H.||(Belmont Park)||Grade II to Grade I|
|Triple Bend Breeders Cup H.||(Hollywood Park)||Grade II to Grade I|
|Toboggan H.||(Aqueduct)||Ungraded to Grade III|
|Spend A Buck H.||(Calder Race Course)||Ungraded to Grade III|
|Smile Sprint H.||(Calder Race Course)||Ungraded to Grade III|
|Whirlaway H.||(Fair Grounds)||Ungraded to Grade III|
|Shakertown S. (T)||(Keeneland)||Ungraded to Grade III|
|Sycamore Breeders Cup S. (T)||(Keeneland)||Ungraded to Grade III|
RACES DOWNGRADED FOR 2003
|Honeybee S.||(Oaklawn Park)||Grade III to Ungraded|
|Older Fillies and Mares|
|Beverly Hills H. (T)||(Hollywood Park)||Grade I to Grade II|
|Rare Treat H.||(Aqueduct)||Grade III to Ungraded|
|Cowdin S.||(Belmont Park)||Grade III to Ungraded|
|Pegasus H.||(The Meadowlands)||Grade II to Grade III|
|Rebel S.||(Oaklawn Park)||Grade III to Ungraded|
|Ascot H. (T)||(Bay Meadows)||Grade III to Ungraded|
|Gulfstream Park H.||(Gulfstream Park)||Grade I to Grade II|
|Oaklawn H.||(Oaklawn Park)||Grade I to Grade II|
|Philip H. Iselin H.||(Monmouth Park)||Grade II to Grade III|
|San Bernardino H.||(Santa Anita Park)||Grade II to Grade III|
|Gallant Fox H.||(Aqueduct)||Grade III to Ungraded|
|Stymie H.||(Aqueduct)||Grade III to Ungraded|
|Tanforan H. (T)||(Golden Gate Fields)||Grade III to Ungraded|
|Laurel Dash S.||(Laurel Park)||not eligible|
From a TOBA press release
The committee's purpose is to maintain the integrity of the sales catalogue page when various graded races are listed. The buyers and sellers of Thoroughbreds need to make sure that Grade I, Grade II and Grade III races consistently represent the competitive field quality their grade indicates.
The AGSC meets every December to review the five-year data on all eligible races. Each of the last five runnings of eligible races are viewed equally, but trends of improvement or decreasing quality are duly noted.
The current members of the AGSC include five TOBA Members: Russell B. Jones, Jr.(Chairman), Gary E. Biszantz, C. Steven Duncker, Dell Hancock, and Barry K. Schwartz, five Racing Official Members: Howard L. Battle, Frank G. Gabriel Jr., Michael S. Lakow, Thomas S. Robbins, and Robert D. Umphrey. Wilson S. Shirley III serves as Secretary to the committee.
From the TOBA website
Photo ©2002 Cindy Pierson Dulay, licensed to About.