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 44 there is one notable upgrade for 2016.

The Graded Stakes Committee meeting was conducted by Committee Chair, Jeff Begg with all Committee Members as well as the race secretaries from Hastings Racecourse, Northlands Park and Woodbine Racetrack, on Tuesday, January 26, 2016.

After reviewing the NARC figures for all Graded and Listed races in Canada, the Committee determined that the Grade 2 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine would be upgraded to Grade 1 status in 2016. The status for all other Graded and Listed Stakes in Canada will remain unchanged in 2016 (see listing below). Canada will now host five Grade 1, fifteen Grade 2 and twenty-four Grade 3 races in 2016.

In the past five years some participants and some of the winners of the G2 Natalma Stakes, a turf event for two-year-old fillies, have gone on to achieve awards and multiple Graded wins such as:
2015 Natalma:
Catch a Glimpse – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf 2015 winner – 2015 Sovereign and Eclipse Awards finalist – G1 winner
Gamble’s Ghost and Caren are both 2015 Sovereign Awards 2YO finalists.
2014 Natalma:
Don’t Leave Me – Multiple Graded Stakes winner and Sovereign 3YO finalist for 2015
2012 Natalma:
Spring in the Air – Multiple Graded Stakes winner – Sovereign Award Champion 2YO in 2012- G1 winner – with close to $1million in earnings
Kitten’s Dumplings – Multiple Graded Stakes winner – G1 winner
2011 Natalma:
Dayatthespa – 2014 Eclipse Award Champion Grass Mare – 2014 Breeders’ Cup F&M Turf winner – Multiple Graded Stakes winner – G1 winner
Stephanie’s Kitten – Breeders’ Cup wins 2011&2015 F&M Turf, second to Dayatthespa in 2014 Breeders’ Cup’ F&M Turf – Multiple Graded Stakes winner – G1 winner
Hard Not to Like – Multiple Graded Stakes winner – Millionaire – G1 winner
2010 Natalma:
More than Real – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies 2010 winner
2009 Natalma:
Biofuel – went on to be 2010 Horse of the Year in Canada

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 base their decisions on the cumulative NARC ratings for five consecutive years.

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. (see attached North American Black-Type Requirements from the NAICSC website).

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 the responsibility to inform 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 race 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 2016:
Alberta Premier’s Futurity – Northlands Park
Edmonton Juvenile Stakes – Northlands Park
John Patrick Handicap – Northlands Park
Madamoiselle Handicap – Northlands Park
River Rock Casino Handicap – Hastings Racecourse
Two Year Old Filly Sales Stakes – Northlands Park
Wild Rose Handicap – Northlands Park

The following Black-Type Stakes Races are at risk of losing their black-type status in 2017 if the minimum age/sex RQS and the minimum cumulative RQS is not achieved in 2016:

Birdcatcher Stakes – Northlands Park
Chris Loseth Handicap – Hastings Racecourse
CTHS Sales Stakes – 2YO fillies – Hastings Racecourse
Emerald Downs Handicap – Hastings Racecourse
Princess Margaret Stakes – Northlands Park
Sir Winston Churchill Handicap – Hastings Racecourse

Any new stakes races created and existing races with material changes to their conditions must 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
Graded Stakes for 2016 in Canada:

Canadian International (Pattison) 12T WO 3up
Woodbine Mile (Ricoh) 8T WO 3up
Northern Dancer Turf 12T WO 3up
E.P. Taylor Stakes 10T WO 3up f/m
Natalma Stakes (Upgraded to G1 in 2016) 8T WO 2yof

Summer Stakes 8T WO 2yo
Sky Classic Stakes 11T WO 3up
Nijinsky Stakes 12T WO 3up
Play The King Stakes 7T WO 3up
Nearctic Stakes 6T WO 3up
King Edward Stakes 9T WO 3up
Highlander Stakes 6T WO 3up
Autumn Stakes 8.5 WO 3up
Kennedy Road Stakes 6 WO 3up
Bessarabian Stakes 7 WO 3up f/m
Nassau Stakes 8.5T WO 3up f/m
Dance Smartly Stakes 9T WO 3up f/m
Canadian Stakes 9T WO 3up f/m
Connaught Cup Stakes 7T WO 4up
Eclipse Stakes 8.5 WO 3up

Grey Stakes 8.5 WO 2yo
Mazarine Stakes 8.5 WO 2yof
Marine Stakes 8.16 WO 3yo
BC Premier’s H. 11 Hst 3up
Bold Venture Stakes 6.5 WO 3up
Seagram Cup Stakes 8.5 WO 3up
Dominion Day H. 10 WO 3up
Singspiel Stakes 12T WO 3up
Durham Cup Stakes 9 WO 3up
Valedictory Stakes 14 WO 3up
Vigil Stakes 7 WO 3up
Ballerina Stakes 9 Hst 3up f/m
Maple Leaf Stakes 10 WO 3up f/m
Ontario Fashion Stakes 6 WO 3up f/m
Seaway Stakes 7 WO 3up f/m
Royal North Stakes 6T WO 3up f/m
Ontario Matron Stakes 8.5 WO 3up f/m
Whimsical Stakes 6 WO 3up f/m
Hendrie Stakes 6.5 WO 4up f/m
Ontario Derby 9 WO 3yo
British Columbia Derby 9 Hst 3yo
Canadian Derby 11 NP 3yo
Selene Stakes 8.5 WO 3yof
Ontario Colleen Stakes 8T WO 3yof

The Jockey Club of Canada was founded in 1973 by E.P. Taylor to serve as the international representative of the Canadian Thoroughbred industry. The mission of The Jockey Club of Canada is to promote and maintain a high standard for Thoroughbred racing and breeding in Canada at a level which is recognized internationally for the benefit of all those interested in the sport including the general public by operations and services such as, but not limited to: evaluating all Graded, Listed and Black-type races in Canada annually; conducting the annual Sovereign Awards for outstanding achievement in Thoroughbred racing and breeding in Canada; maintaining a field office in Canada for the Jockey Club of the United States and the Jockey Club Registry Service; and by representing Canada as a Member of the IFHA.