JC / Railbird

American Graded Stakes Committee

Grading Process

The American Graded Stakes Committee released the list of 2011 graded stakes on Thursday, and aside from a slight contraction in overall numbers (13 races were dropped, a reduction of 2.7% from 2009), the most notable change was that the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf was bumped from Grade 2 to Grade 1. Its companion race, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf remained a Grade 2, prompting Steven Crist to write, “it makes you wonder if that race is a permanent part of the BC program,” and owner Bobby Flay — who won the 2010 Fillies Turf with More Than Real — to opine in today’s TDN that, “Clearly, this is a short-sighted mistake that can only be labeled as sexist.” It’s not. And it most likely means nothing as far as the BC’s future program. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf was first run in 2007, first graded in 2009, and run as a Grade 2 for two years. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Fillies was first run in 2008, first graded in 2010, and has been run only one year as a graded race. There seems no reason to doubt that, true to pattern, the Fillies Turf will made a Grade 1 in 2012, after two runnings as a Grade 2.