The Jockey Club of Canada’s Graded Stakes Committee held its annual review of the Graded and Listed Stakes in Canada and while the number of Graded Stakes in Canada remains unchanged at 43 there is one notable downgrade for 2014.

The Graded Stakes Committee meeting, conducted by Committee Chair, Jeff Begg with all Committee Members as well as Chief Steward, Jim Lawson and the race secretaries from Hastings Racecourse, Northlands Park and Woodbine Racetrack, was held on Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

After reviewing the NARC and RQS figures for all Graded and Listed races in Canada, the Committee determined that the Grade 1 Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine would be downgraded to Grade 2 status in 2014.  The status for all other Graded and Listed Stakes in Canada will remain unchanged in 2014 (Click Here for Listing).  Canada will host four Grade 1, sixteen Grade 2 and twenty-three Grade 3 races in 2014.

The Jockey Club of Canada Graded Stakes Committee evaluates and reviews the Graded Stakes in Canada annually and determines whether races should be upgraded, downgraded or remain the same. The Committee bases their decisions on the cumulative NARC ratings for five consecutive years along with the new Race Quality Score (RQS) figures introduced last year by the North American International Catalogue Standards Committee (NAICSC).

Graded Stakes in North America must carry the following minimum purses and minimum cumulative NARC: $250,000 and 112 NARC for Grade 1; $150,000 and 105 NARC for Grade 2 and $100,000 and 100 NARC for Grade 3.

In 2013 the Jockey Club of Canada Graded Stakes Committee was made responsible for evaluating all Listed Stakes in Canada using the same evaluation process mentioned above.  All Listed races in North America must have a minimum purse of $75,000 and a minimum cumulative NARC of 90.

Changes to the requirements for stakes in North America to receive non-listed black type in SITA catalogues (those compliant with guidelines required by the Society of International Thoroughbred Auctioneers) were implemented by the North American International Catalogue Standards Committee (NAISCS) on January 1, 2014. (click here for North American Black-Type Requirements)

The primary change to the requirements was the implementation of the Race Quality Score (RQS) as an additional quality control for non-listed black-type races in North America.

The RQS is the average of the Annual Race Quality Score for each of a race’s last three renewals.  The Annual Race Quality Score is the combination of the speed figures assigned to a race by Bloodstock Research Information Services (BRIS), Daily Racing Form (Beyer), Equibase and Thoro-Graph and is calculated within 30 days after the date of the race. The speed figure assigned to a race is the average of the speed figure assigned to each of the top four placed horses in the race.

Non-Listed black-type races that receive an RQS below the minimum age/sex requirements and have a three-year cumulative RQS below the minimum requirements will automatically lose their black-type status without evaluation.  The Jockey Club of Canada Graded Stakes Committee has been made responsible for informing host racetracks of any black-type races that do not meet the RQS requirement and subsequently have lost their black-type status.  The Committee will also communicate a warning to host tracks if a stakes is at risk of losing their black-type status in any given year.

The Jockey Club of Canada Graded Stakes Committee reports that the following Stakes races in Canada have lost Black-type status effective 2014:
Alberta Oaks – Northlands Park
Beaufort Stakes – Northlands Park
Bird of Pay Stakes – Northlands Park
Buffalo Stakes – Assiniboia Downs
Chariot Chaser Handicap – Northlands Park
CTHS Sales Stakes – 3YO Filly Division – Hastings Racecourse
Duchess of York Handicap – Northlands Park
Fall Classic Distaff Handicap – Northlands Park
J. W. Sifton Stakes – Assiniboia Downs
Matron Stakes – Assiniboia Downs
R.C. Anderson Stakes – Assiniboia Downs
R.K. (Red) Smith Handicap – Northlands Park
Red Diamond Express Handicap – Northlands Park
Sturgeon River Stakes – Northlands Park
Sun Sprint Championship Handicap – Northlands Park
Three and Four Year Old Filly Sales Stakes – Northlands Park
Three and Four Year Old Sales Stakes – Northlands Park
Two Year Old Sales Stakes – Northlands Park
With Approval Stakes – Woodbine Racetrack

The following Black-Type Stakes Races are at risk of losing their black-type status in 2015 if the minimum age/sex RQS and the minimum cumulative RQS is not achieved in 2014:
Assiniboia Oaks – Assiniboia Downs
CTHS Sales Stakes – 2YO Male division – Hastings Racecourse
New Westminster Stakes – Hastings Racecourse
Northlands Oaks – Northlands Park
Rainbow Connection Stakes – Fort Erie Race Track
Sonoma Hanidcap – Northlands Park
Western Canada Handicap – Northlands Park

Any new stakes races created and existing races with material changes to their conditions must now be submitted to the NAICSC for review and black-type approval no less than 30 days prior to the day the new race or changed race is to be run.   New stakes races with a purse of less than $75,000 available to all entries must run twice under essentially the same conditions before being evaluated for black-type status.

For complete information on the RQS Black-Type requirements (see attached) and/or for Black-type race status updates go to or contact Jeff Begg, Graded Stakes Committee Chair at The Jockey Club of Canada  416-675-7756 or