01/25/2008 12:00AM

Northern Dancer elevated to Grade 1


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Turf, a 1 1/2-mile race for 3-year-olds and up at Woodbine, will be run as a Grade 1 for the first time in 2008.

The Northern Dancer is one of four races that were assigned changes in status by the Canadian Graded Stakes Committee, which met on Wednesday to review 138 open races which offered purses of $45,000 or more in 2007.

The Jockey Club of Canada released the 2008 graded stakes list on Friday.

A total of 37 races, a number unchanged from last year, were graded - four of them classified as Grade 1, nine as Grade 2, and 24 as Grade 3. All of the graded stakes except four Grade 3s at Hastings and one Grade 3 at Northlands Park will be run at Woodbine.

Dates and purses for all of the races are not yet confirmed.

The Northern Dancer, formerly the Niagara, assumed its new name in 2006 with a purse of $700,000.

Sky Conqueror has won both runnings of the Northern Dancer, which joins the Canadian International, E.P. Taylor and Woodbine Mile on Canada's Grade 1 list.

The Autumn, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up, has been raised a notch to Grade 2. The last two

runnings of the Autumn were won by True Metropolitan, who went on to be voted Canada's champion older horse both seasons.

The Singspiel, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up, which formerly was an overnight stakes, gained a guaranteed spot on the Woodbine calendar since it has been elevated to the Grade 3 level.

Pellegrino and Jambalaya won the last two runnings of the Singspiel.

The Lieutenant Governors', a

1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up at Hastings in Vancouver, was run as a Grade 3 stakes last year but will be a listed stakes in 2008.