The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s American Graded Stakes committee released its 2016 list of U.S. Graded and Listed Stakes Friday. Following a review of 788 unrestricted races with purses of $75,000 or more, the committee granted 464 races Graded status–one more than in 2015–and named 173 Listed races. Six already Graded races were upgraded, while eight new Grade III races were named. Thirty-one races were granted new Listed status. Twenty races that were Graded or Listed in 2015 lost eligibility for grading.
The Fourstardave H. at Saratoga was the lone race upgraded from Grade II to Grade I status for 2016, while the Eddie Read S. at Del Mar and the Las Virgenes S. at Santa Anita were downgraded from Grade I to Grade II.
The Eight Belles S. at Churchill Downs, Rachel Alexandra S. at Fair Grounds, Shakertown S. and Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix S. at Keeneland and Hillsborough S. at Tampa Bay Downs were upgraded from Grade III to Grade II. Aqueduct’s Distaff H., Belmont’s Futurity S. and Matron S., Hawthorne’s Hawthorne Gold Cup H., Keeneland’s Adena Springs Beaumont S., and the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs were downgraded from Grade II to Grade III.
Eight races were upgraded from Listed to Grade III: Belmont’s Pennine Ridge S., Churchill’s Locust Grove S., Gulfstream’s Harlan’s Holiday S., Sam Houston’s Houston Ladies Classic S., Keeneland’s Buffalo Trace Franklin County S., Laurel’s Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial S., and Santa Anita’s Megahertz S. and Thunder Road S. Four races lost Grade III status in 2016: the Dogwood S. and Jefferson Cup S. at Churchill, Obeah S. at Delaware and Azalea S. at Gulfstream.