01/30/2015 11:36AM

Woodbine’s Marine Stakes elevated to Grade 3

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Michael Burns
Asserting Bear (left) won the Marine Stakes last year at Woodbine. The Marine will be run as a Grade 3 race this year.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The upgrade of Woodbine’s Marine Stakes to Grade 3 status was the only change to Canadian graded stakes races for 2015 made by The Jockey Club of Canada’s graded stakes committee. The move means that 44 graded stakes races will be run in Canada this season, up from 43 in 2014.

The Marine Stakes, a major prep for the Queen’s Plate, is for 3-year-olds and is contested over 1 1/16 miles on Woodbine’s main track. First run in 1956 at Greenwood Raceway, the Marine Stakes last held Grade 3 status in 2008 and was won in 2014 by Asserting Bear, who subsequently finished third in the Queen’s Plate.

The Jockey Club’s graded stakes committee also recommended that the base purse for the Marine be increased to be consistent with the other Grade 3 races at Woodbine. The base purse for the Marine in 2014 was $125,000.

Of the 44 graded stakes races that will be run in Canada this year, four will hold Grade 1 status, 16 will hold Grade 2 status, and 24 will hold Grade 3 status.

Woodbine will hold 40 of the graded stakes races, including all the Grade 1 races – the Canadian International, Woodbine Mile, E.P. Taylor, and Northern Dancer.

Hastings will hold three Grade 3 events – the British Columbia Derby, Ballerina Stakes, and BC Premier’s – while Northlands Park will host the Grade 3 Canadian Derby.