Graded stakes race

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A graded stakes race is any thoroughbred horse race in the United States or Canada that derives its name from the stake, or entry fee, owners must pay. The term has been applied since 1973 by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. These fees, to which the track adds an additional amount, constitute the total amount from which prize money is paid to the first, second, third, and usually fourth place finishers.


Levels[edit]

There are three different levels of stakes races, the top ranking, and therefore purse, being a Grade I Stakes. They are higher-class races for bigger prizes and often involve competitors that belong to the same gender, age and class. These races may, though, be "weight-for-age", with weights adjusted only according to age, and also there are 'set weights' where all horses carry the same weight. Furthermore, there are "conditions" races, in which horses carry weights that are set by conditions, such as having won a certain number of races, or races of a certain value. Finally, some graded stakes are "handicaps", in which an official handicapper assigns weights to each horse in an attempt to equalize the competition.

Criteria[edit]

The American Graded Stakes Committee uses as some of its criteria for the grading:

  • Purse Requirement: That the race has a purse of more than $75,000.
  • Longevity: That the race has been run for two years under the same conditions.
  • Drug Testing: That post race drug testing is managed by a governmental authority.
  • Restrictions: That the race may be restricted only in age and gender.
  • Anabolic Steroid Testing : Only Boldenone, Nandrolone, Stanozolol, and Testosterone are allowed to be used.
  • Toe Grabs: Cannot be more than two millimeters long.

In the United States and Canada, a graded race can be dormant for one year without losing its grade.

As long as the race meets these requirements, the Committee grades on the overall quality of the previous fields and the performance of horses in the previous fields in stakes both prior to and after the race. For example: if the winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic raced in the Santa Anita Handicap then the race would almost certainly be a Grade One.

Graded stakes races are referred as Group Races in horse-racing in Europe.

U.S. graded stakes races[edit]

Grade I (2012)[edit]

Race Track Furlong Track Age Sex Purse
Acorn Stakes Belmont Park 8 Dirt 3 F $250,000
Alabama Stakes Saratoga 10 Dirt 3 F $600,000
Alcibiades Stakes Keeneland 8.5 Dirt/Polytrack 2 F $500,000
Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap Saratoga 6 Dirt 3+ F/M $250,000
American Oaks Invitational Stakes Hollywood Park 10 Turf 3+ F $750,000
Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Stakes Oak Tree at Santa Anita 6 Dirt/Pro-Ride 3+ F/M $300,000
Apple Blossom Handicap Oaklawn Park 8.5 Dirt 4+ F $500,000
Arkansas Derby Oaklawn Park 9 Dirt 3 F/M $1,000,000
Arlington Million Stakes Arlington Park 10 Turf 3+ F/M $1,000,000
Ashland Stakes Keeneland 8.5 Dirt/Polytrack 3 F $400,000
Ballerina Stakes Saratoga 7 Dirt 3+ F/M $250,000
Beldame Stakes Belmont Park 9 Dirt 3+ F/M $600,000
Belmont Stakes Belmont Park 12 Dirt 3 F/M $1,500,000
Beverly D. Stakes Arlington Park 9.5 Turf 3+ F/M $750,000
Bing Crosby Handicap Del Mar 6 Dirt/Polytrack 3+ F/M $300,000
Blue Grass Stakes Keeneland 9 Dirt/Polytrack 3 F/M $750,000
Breeders' Cup Classic (Rotates location) 10 Dirt 3+ F/M $5,000,000
Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (Rotates location) 8 Dirt 3+ F/M $1,000,000
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (Rotates location) 7 Dirt 3+ F $1,000,000
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (Rotates location) 11 Turf 3+ F $2,000,000
Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Rotates location) 8.5 Dirt 2 M $2,000,000
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (Rotates location) 8.5 Dirt 2 F $2,000,000
Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (Rotates location) 9 Dirt 3+ F $2,000,000
Breeders' Cup Mile (Rotates location) 8 Turf 3+ F/M $2,000,000
Breeders' Cup Sprint (Rotates location) 6 Dirt 3+ F/M $2,000,000
Breeders' Cup Turf (Rotates location) 12 Turf 3+ F/M $3,000,000
Breeders' Futurity Stakes Keeneland 8.5 Dirt/Polytrack 2 F/M $500,000
Carter Handicap Aqueduct 7 Dirt 3+ F/M $300,000
Champagne Stakes Belmont Park 8 Dirt 2 F/M $400,000
Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap Hollywood Park 10 Turf 3+ F/M $350,000
Cigar Mile Handicap Aqueduct 8 Dirt 3+ F/M $300,000
Clark Handicap Churchill Downs 9 Dirt 3+ F/M $400,000
Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship Stakes Oak Tree at Santa Anita 10 Turf 3+ F/M $250,000
Coaching Club American Oaks Saratoga 10 Dirt 3 F $300,000
Del Mar Debutante Stakes Del Mar 7 Dirt/Polytrack 2 F $300,000
Del Mar Futurity Del Mar 7 Dirt/Polytrack 2 F/M $300,000
Del Mar Oaks Del Mar 9 Dirt/Polytrack 3 F $400,000
Diana Handicap Saratoga 9 Turf 3+ F/M $500,000
Donn Handicap Gulfstream Park 9 Dirt 4+ F/M $500,000
Eddie Read Handicap Del Mar 9 Turf 3+ F/M $400,000
First Lady Stakes Keeneland 8 Turf 3+ F/M $400,000
Florida Derby Gulfstream Park 9 Dirt 3 F/M $1,000,000
Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes Belmont Park 10 Turf 3+ F/M $600,000
Forego Stakes Saratoga 7 Dirt 3+ F/M $250,000
Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap Santa Anita Park 8 Turf 4+ F/M $300,000
Frizette Stakes Belmont Park 8 Dirt 2 F $400,000
Gamely Stakes Hollywood Park 9 Turf 3+ F/M $250,000
Garden City Stakes Belmont Park 9 Turf 3 F $250,000
Gazelle Stakes Belmont Park 9 Dirt 3 F $250,000
Goodwood Handicap Oak Tree at Santa Anita 9 Dirt 3+ F/M $500,000
Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap Gulfstream Park 11 Turf 4+ F/M $300,000
Haskell Invitational Handicap Monmouth 9 Dirt 3 F/M $1,000,000
Hollywood Derby Hollywood Park 10 Turf 3 F/M $500,000
Hollywood Futurity Hollywood Park 8.5 Dirt/Cushion Track 2 F/M $750,000
Hollywood Gold Cup Stakes Hollywood Park 10 Dirt/Cushion Track 3+ F/M $750,000
Hollywood Starlet Stakes Hollywood Park 8.5 Dirt/Cushion Track 2 F $300,000
Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes Hollywood Park 12 Turf 3+ F/M $250,000
Hopeful Stakes Saratoga 7 Dirt 2 F/M $300,000
Humana Distaff Handicap Churchill Downs 7 Dirt 4+ F/M $300,000
Jamaica Handicap Belmont Park 9 Turf 3+ F/M $300,000
Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes Belmont Park 10 Dirt 3+ F/M $1,000,000
Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes Belmont Park 12 Turf 3+ F/M $600,000
Just A Game Handicap Belmont Park 8 Turf 3+ F/M $500,000
Kentucky Derby Churchill Downs 10 Dirt 3 F/M $2,000,000
Kentucky Oaks Churchill Downs 9 Dirt 3 F $500,000
King's Bishop Stakes Saratoga 7 Dirt 3 F/M $250,000
La Brea Stakes Santa Anita Park 7 Dirt/Pro-Ride 3 F $250,000
Las Virgenes Stakes Santa Anita Park 8 Dirt/Pro-Ride 3 F $250,000
Maker's Mark Mile Stakes Keeneland 8 Turf 4+ F/M $250,000
Malibu Stakes Santa Anita Park 7 Dirt/Pro-Ride 3 F/M $250,000
Man o' War Stakes Belmont Park 11 Turf 3+ F/M $500,000
Manhattan Handicap Belmont Park 10 Turf 3+ F/M $400,000
Matriarch Stakes Hollywood Park 8 Turf 3+ F/M $500,000
Metropolitan Handicap Belmont Park 8 Dirt 3+ F/M $600,000
Mother Goose Stakes Belmont Park 9 Dirt 3 F $250,000
Norfolk Stakes Oak Tree at Santa Anita 8.5 Dirt/Pro-Ride 2 F/M $300,000
Oak Leaf Stakes Oak Tree at Santa Anita 8.5 Dirt/Pro-Ride 2 F $300,000
Ogden Phipps Handicap Belmont Park 8.5 Dirt 3+ F/M $300,000
Pacific Classic Stakes Del Mar 10 Dirt/Polytrack 3+ F/M $1,000,000
Pat O'Brien Handicap Del Mar 7 Dirt/Polytrack 3+ F/M $300,000
Personal Ensign Stakes Saratoga 10 Dirt 3+ F/M $400,000
Pimlico Special Pimlico 9.5 Dirt 3+ F/M $250,000
Preakness Stakes Pimlico 9.5 Dirt 3 F/M $1,500,000
Princess Rooney Handicap Calder 6 Dirt 3+ F/M $500,000
Prioress Stakes Belmont Park 6 Dirt 3 F $250,000
Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes Keeneland 9 Turf 3 F $500,000
Ruffian Handicap Belmont Park 8.5 Dirt 3+ F/M $350,000
Santa Anita Derby Santa Anita Park 9 Dirt/Pro-Ride 3 F/M $750,000
Santa Anita Handicap Santa Anita Park 10 Dirt/Pro-Ride 4+ F/M $1,000,000
Santa Anita Oaks Santa Anita Park 8.5 Dirt/Pro-Ride 3 F $300,000
Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap Santa Anita Park 9 Dirt/Pro-Ride 4+ F/M $300,000
Santa Monica Handicap Santa Anita Park 7 Dirt/Pro-Ride 4+ F $250,000
Secretariat Stakes Arlington Park 10 Turf 3 F/M $400,000
Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes Keeneland 8 Turf 3+ F/M $600,000
Shoemaker Mile Stakes Hollywood Park 8 Turf 3+ F/M $300,000
Spinaway Stakes Saratoga 7 Dirt 2 F $250,000
Spinster Stakes Keeneland 9 Dirt/Polytrack 3+ F/M $500,000
Stephen Foster Handicap Churchill Downs 9 Dirt 3+ F/M $600,000
Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes Saratoga 12 Turf 3+ F/M $500,000
Test Stakes Saratoga 7 Dirt 3 F $250,000
Travers Stakes Saratoga 10 Dirt 3 F/M $1,000,000
Triple Bend Invitational Handicap Hollywood Park 7 Dirt/Cushion Track 3+ F/M $300,000
Turf Classic Stakes Churchill Downs 9 Turf 3+ F/M $500,000
United Nations Stakes Monmouth 11 Turf 3+ F/M $750,000
Vanity Invitational Handicap Hollywood Park 9 Dirt/Cushion Track 3+ F/M $300,000
Vinery Madison Stakes Keeneland 7 Dirt/Polytrack 4+ F $200,000
Vosburgh Stakes Belmont Park 6 Dirt 3+ F/M $400,000
Whitney Handicap Saratoga 9 Dirt 3+ F/M $1,500,000
Wood Memorial Stakes Aqueduct 9 Dirt 3 F/M $750,000
Woodward Stakes Saratoga 9 Dirt 4+ F/M $500,000
Yellow Ribbon Stakes Oak Tree at Santa Anita 10 Turf 3+ F/M $400,000

See also[edit]

References[edit]