01/23/2014 8:44PM

Woodbine: Nearctic loses Grade 1 status for 2014


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Woodbine’s Nearctic Stakes has been downgraded to a Grade 2 event for 2014, the Jockey Club of Canada’s graded stakes committee announced Thursday. The move was the only change among the 43 graded stakes that will be run in Canada this year.

The Nearctic, contested over six furlongs on turf at Woodbine, has traditionally been part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In Challenge Series, granting the winner a fees-paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

The Nearctic was first run on turf in 1995. It was awarded Grade 2 status from 1999-2009 and was upgraded to a Grade 1 in 2010. The $300,000 race was won by Phil's Dream in 2013.

Woodbine will host 39 of the 43 graded stakes races to be run in the country, including all four Grade 1 races – the Canadian International, Woodbine Mile, E. P. Taylor, and Northern Dancer.

Woodbine has yet to announce its 2014 stakes schedule.

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

Minimum purse levels for graded stakes races in Canada are $250,000 for Grade 1 races, $150,000 for Grade 2 races, and $100,000 for Grade 3 races.