01/26/2011 2:19PM

Connaught Cup gets upgrade as part of 2011 changes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The Connaught Cup, a seven-furlong turf race for 4-year-olds and upward at Woodbine Racetrack, has had its status upped to Grade 2 for this year’s running.

The change was one of several announced on Wednesday following the recent annual meeting of the Jockey Club of Canada’s graded stakes committee.

Thirty-seven graded stakes will be run in Canada this year, an increase of two from 2010. Five of the stakes are Grade 1, 10 are Grade 2, and the rest Grade 3.

To be eligible for consideration, Grade 1 stakes must offer a minimum purse of $250,000, Grade 2’s $150,000, and Grade 3’s $100,000.’

Woodbine’s 1 3/4-mile Valedictory for 3-year-olds and upward along with the seven-furlong Bessarabian, six-furlong Ontario Fashion, and 1 1/16-mile Ontario Matron for fillies and mares were listed stakes last year but now will be Grade 3.

The Mazarine, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies at Woodbine, and the B.C. Premiers, a 1 3/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward at Hastings, have lost their Grade 3 status.