01/22/2003 1:00AM

British listed races increased


Twenty-three new listed races will be run in Britain this year, the British Flat Pattern Panel said on Tuesday.

The announcement comes on the heels of last week's upgrading of 19 British group races by the European Pattern Race Committee. The net increase in British listed races will be 13, as 10 former listed races have been upgraded to Group 3 status.

The move to increase the number of listed races coincides with plans of the British Thoroughbred Breeders Association to add to the number of black-type races for older fillies and mares. Fourteen of the new listed races will be for them.

But Ruth Quinn, newly appointed as the British Horseracing Board's controller of programs, revealed that there is another reason behind the increase: The board is attempting to stop what Quinn termed "the mass exodus" of fillies to the United States at the end of their 3-year-old careers.

Europe has traditionally run relatively few stakes restricted to older filly and mares. In 2002, the number of such group races in Europe was 20 - seven in Britain, six in France, three in Italy, and two each in Ireland and Germany. In the United States, there are 103 graded races for older fillies and mares.