01/24/2012 2:36PM

Summer, Natalma Stakes among races upgraded in Canada for 2012


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Woodbine’s Summer Stakes for 2-year-olds and Natalma Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, both one-mile turf races which have been part of the Breeder’s Cup challenge series, have been elevated to Grade 2 status for 2012.

The Hendrie, a 6 1/2-furlong stakes for fillies and mares at Woodbine, also was bumped up from Grade 3 to Grade 2 following a recent meeting of the Jockey Club of Canada’s graded stakes committee.

The JCC also announced Tuesday that five stakes which were ungraded last year will be run as Grade 3’s in 2012 to bring the total number of Canadian graded stakes to 42.

The added Grade 3s are Woodbine’s 1 1/16-mile Mazarine for 2-year-old fillies, 1 1/8-mile Ontario Derby for 3-year-olds, 6 1/2-furlong Bold Venture for 3-year-olds and upward, and the six-furlong Ontario Fashion for fillies and mares, and the 1 3/8-mile B.C. Premiers for 3-year-olds and upward at Hastings.

Canada’s five Grade 1 races, all run on the turf at Woodbine, are the Canadian International, Woodbine Mile, Northern Dancer, and Nearctic for 3-year-olds and upward and the E.P. Taylor for fillies and mares.

All 13 races ranked Grade 2 and 20 of the 23 Grade 3 stakes also are hosted by Woodbine.

The minimum purse requirements for graded status are $250,000 for Grade 1, $150,000 for Grade 2, and $100,000 for Grade 3.