Updated on 03/06/2013 5:52PM

Woodbine: Maple Leaf restored to Grade 3 status


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The Jockey Club of Canada’s graded stakes committee has released its list of 43 graded stakes races that will be run in Canada this year, up from 42 in 2012.

The addition to the list, announced on Wednesday, is the Maple Leaf Stakes, a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares, which has been restored to Grade 3 status after being dropped to listed in 2007.

Upgraded to Grade 2 from Grade 3 for 2013 are the Kennedy Road, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward; the Bessarabian, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares; and the Eclipse, a 1 1/16-mile race for 4-year-olds and upward.

The Hendrie, a 6 1/2-furlong stakes for fillies and mares that was run as a Grade 2 last year, has been downgraded back to Grade 3.

Woodbine will host 39 of the graded stakes, including the five Grade 1 events – the Canadian International, Woodbine Mile, E.P. Taylor, Northern Dancer, and Nearctic, all run on the turf course.

The other graded races are the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby, B.C. Premier’s, and Grade 3 Ballerina hosted by Hastings, and the Grade 3 Canadian Derby, run at Northlands Park.

Purses for graded stakes in Canada must be at least $250,000 to be classified Grade 1, $150,000 for Grade 2, and $100,000 for Grade 3.

Woodbine has yet to announce the dates and purses for this year’s stakes races.

The Canadian Graded Stakes Committee has been grading the country’s stakes races since 1999 after Canada defected from the North American Graded Stakes program. Canadian gradings are recognized internationally, and restricted races do not qualify.

A previous version of this article misstated the number of graded races that will be run at Canadian tracks in 2013 and the changes in grades of several races. There will be 39 graded races at Woodbine, three at Hastings Park, and one, the Grade 3 Canadian Derby, at Northlands Park. Also the Kennedy Road and Bessarabian were upgraded to Grade 2 from Grade 3.