graded stakes

The Week In Review: A Wayne Lukas Renaissance

As Hall of Famer Wayne Lukas entered his mid-eighties, his longevity and his persistence became one of racing's best feel-good stories. A trainer who belongs in the conversation as one of the best of all time, he was still out there every day, physically active, mentally sharp. There didn't seem to be anything stopping him. But there was a missing ingredient. Lukas, now 87, simply wasn't winning many races, especially important ones. Lukas won the 2018 GII Risen Star S. with Bravazo (Awesome Again) on Feb. 17, 2018. He didn't...

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Medaglia d'Oro's Ballet Dancing Perfectly En Pointe In Santa Ana

Ballet Dancing earned her first stakes victory in style, skipping clear to an authoritative victory in the GIII Santa Ana S. at Santa Anita Sunday. Stretching out to a 1 1/4 miles for the first time, the bay filly was away well and was in hand while stalking pacesetting longshot Annaghlasa (Ire) (Estidhkaar {Ire}) through fractions of :24.01, :47.22 and 1:12.07. Finally let loose into the far turn, she ricocheted to the lead off the turn and was quickly beyond the reach of all pursuers. Favored Australia Mia (Street Sense),...

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Number of Graded Stakes in Canada to Increase to 42 in 2023

The Jockey Club of Canada's Graded Stakes Committee held its annual review of the graded and listed stakes races in Canada. The number of graded stakes in Canada will increase to 42. The increase is due to the return of the GI Canadian International and the upgrade of one listed race to Grade III status. No graded stakes races were downgraded. The Committee reviewed the North American Race Committee (NARC) figures and the Race Quality Scores (RQS) for all graded, listed, and potentially listed races in Canada. Last year was...

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Derby Preps Headline Weekend Slate

A pair of 20-point GI Kentucky Derby preps headline Saturday's stakes action in the U.S. Aqueduct's GIII Withers S.--pushed back a week due to cold weather--was helped slightly from a field size perspective by the delay and a group of seven are now set to line up. Gary and Mary West's Hit Show (Candy Ride {Arg}) invades from Oaklawn and will look to provide trainer Brad Cox with a first Withers trophy. A dominant debut winner going seven panels at Keeneland in October, he could only manage fourth as the...

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Woodward, Cigar Mile Among Races Downgraded

The American Graded Stakes Committee released its list of graded stakes for 2023 Friday and it includes five races that were downgraded from Grade I status to Grade II races, including two of NYRA's more prestigious races for older dirt horses, the Woodward and the Cigar Mile H. Also dropping down from the Grade I to the Grade II level were the Clark S. at Churchill Downs, the Starlet S. at Los Alamitos and the Rodeo Drive S. at Santa Anita. The Woodward was, perhaps, the most surprising inclusion on...

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Juveniles Headline Saturday Graded Stakes Action

Curly Jack (Good Magic) looks to return to winning ways at a venue at which he is already two-for-two in Saturday's GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. at Churchill Downs. A debut winner at this oval in June, he was off the board in Saratoga's GIII Sanford S. in July, but missed by just a head in the Ellis Park Juvenile S. in August. Rallying to victory in this oval's GIII Iroquois S. Sept. 17, the bay was fifth at odds of 55-1 in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Keeneland...

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Sophomore Turf Fillies Enjoy Saturday Spotlight

Trainer Chad Brown will saddle the top two choices on the morning-line for Saturday's GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S. at Keeneland, one of three graded stakes races on the afternoon. McKulick (GB) (Frankel {GB}), the even-money choice to become Brown's fifth winner in this prestigious affair, broke through with a career high in the GI Belmont Oaks Invitational S. July 9 and added the GIII Jockey Club Oaks Invitational S. at Aqueduct Sept. 17 two starts later. She cuts back in trip to 1 1/8 miles here. McKulick...

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Rosario Set For Record-Breaking Saratoga Meet

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY - It's not your imagination that jockey Joel Rosario is having a big summer at Saratoga. Rosario, 37, is very much in the hunt for the overall title, a competition led by Irad Ortiz, Jr. Through Thursday's program, Ortiz had 37 wins, eight more than Rosario. However, in graded stakes races, Rosario is far and away the leader with 10 victories from 19 starts, a remarkable 53% win rate. Ortiz is next with five. With the 10, Rosario is in position to smash the current record of...

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Big Day of Racing on 'Tap' Whitney Saturday

Hall of Famer Todd A. Pletcher, currently sitting in second place in the Saratoga trainer standings, will be locked and loaded in a pair of Grade I events at the Spa Saturday, led by the 'Win and You're In' GI Whitney S. With the unbeaten sensation and 'TDN Rising Star' Flightline (Tapit) awaiting the GI TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar Sept. 3, a pair of New York-based heavyweights in the handicap division will throw down in the 12-race card's feature. The uber-talented 'TDN Rising Star' Life Is Good (Into...

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Number of Graded Stakes in Canada Decreased

The Jockey Club of Canada's Graded Stakes Committee held its annual review of the graded and listed stakes races in Canada and the number of graded stakes in Canada will decrease to 40. The decrease is due partially to individual racetracks choosing to place selected races on hold for the 2022 season and other races that have felt the repercussions of the pandemic. Additionally, two graded stakes races were downgraded. After reviewing the NARC figures and the RQS numbers for all listed and black-type races in Canada, the committee determined...

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TOBA: Blue Grass Back to Grade I

The American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association Friday announced the results of its annual grading session conducted Jan. 26 and 27 to determine U.S. Graded and Listed stakes races for February 2022 through January 2023. The Committee reviewed 891 U.S. stakes races with a purse of at least $75,000, and assigned Graded status to 449 of them--four more than were graded in 2021, and Listed status to 204 races. Eight Graded races were upgraded and three new Grade I, five new Grade II races and...

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Weather Forces Oaklawn to Again Reschedule Graded Stakes

Oaklawn, beset by frigid weather which necessitated the cancelling of live racing Friday-Monday, has further altered its stakes schedule to accommodate the extended weather forecast. The featured graded black-type events of Presidents' Day weekend--the GIII Bayakoa S., GIII Razorback H., and GIII Southwest S.--all originally rescheduled for Saturday, Feb. 20, have all been moved again to Sunday, Feb. 21, to take advantage of the best conditions available. In addition, the Dixie Belle S., which was set for Feb. 13, has now been rescheduled to Saturday, Feb. 20, the same day...

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