The Jockey Club of Canada Graded Stakes Committee’s Annual Review for 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 Canadian International (Grade 1) and the upgrade of one Listed race to Grade 3 status. No Graded Stakes races were downgraded.

The Graded Stakes Committee meeting was conducted by Committee Chair, Ross McKague who was accompanied by the appointed Committee Members David Anderson, Doug Anderson, Jeffrey Begg, Catherine Day Phillips, Bernard McCormack and Jockey Club of Canada’s Chief Steward R. Glenn Sikura. James Bannon was unable to attend, but provided commentary in advance of the meeting. As well, the attending racetrack representatives included Allen Goodsell and Josh Murphy from Alberta, Nichelle Milner and Scott Henson from British Columbia, Ross McKague representing Manitoba, and Julia Bell and Scott Lane from Ontario.

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. 2022 was the first year since 2019 that restricted movement of horses and humans did not hamper field size and, ultimately, race quality. Most races achieved as good or better scores in 2022 and their status was secure. A few races were granted concessions for their slow recovery based on their superior historical references and acceptable current numerical evaluations. After reviewing the NARC figures and the RQS numbers for all Listed and Blacktype races in Canada, the Committee determined that the Grade 3 Seagram Cup Stakes will be upgraded to Grade 2 status and the Listed Belle Mahone Stakes will be upgraded to Grade 3 status. Additionally, the Ontario Damsel Stakes and the Algonquin Stakes (previously run as the Ontario Racing Stakes) will be upgraded to Listed status.