02/02/2010 12:00AM

Nearctic rises to Grade 1 status

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The Canadian Graded Stakes Committee has announced two changes for its 2010 schedule, with the Nearctic being elevated a notch to Grade 1 status and the Highlander a notch to Grade 2.

The Nearctic and Highlander, both six-furlong turf races at Woodbine, were among 35 races given graded status by the committee following its annual meeting last Saturday. The list was released Tuesday by the Jockey Club of Canada.

Woodbine will host all of Canada's five Grade 1 and nine Grade 2 races, plus 17 of the 21 Grade 3's.

Three Grade 3 stakes will be run at Hastings in Vancouver, and one at Northlands Park in Edmonton.

To qualify for graded status in Canada a Grade 1 must offer a minimum purse of $250,000, a Grade 2 $150,000, and a Grade 3 $100,000.