2019 Graded Stakes

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stark
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Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:26 pm

Committee downgraded six races from grade 1 status, upgraded three to top level.

https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing ... ium=social

The six races were downgraded from grade 1 to grade 2 for 2019:
the Beldame Stakes at Belmont;
Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill;
Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity at Los Alamitos Race Course;
and the Santa Margarita Stakes, Triple Bend Stakes, and Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
Tessablue
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Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:41 pm

A bit sad to see the Stephen Foster and Beldame downgraded, but can't argue it.

Belmont Day gets a boon, two more G1s. Just wish the quality of the fan experience there scaled with the quality of the racing.

And I'm thrilled to see the huge boosts to turf sprinting. It's about time that division gains some recognition.
stark
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:58 pm

Interesting comments from Mike Watchmaker...

https://www.drf.com/news/watchmaker-not ... int-stakes
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
Tessablue
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:45 pm

Watchmaker tends to be a traditionalist who gets very upset when things change (see also: his argument from a few weeks ago that Accelerate getting HOTY would somehow signal the death of the sport). Generally speaking, there are no "true Grade 1 performers" in the turf sprint division because there are no G1 turf sprints... but is he forgetting Undrafted won the freaking Diamond Jubilee? And Disco Partner and Pure Sensation are both excellent horses whose resumes would look a lot more impressive if we actually placed any value in their division.

He has a point about the continued devaluing of fall Belmont preps, and I think the Woody Stephens certainly has the weakest case of those three races. But turf sprinting is well overdue for a boost in this country, and the route divisions are not going to collapse because the Stephen Foster- which has been terrible lately- was downgraded. We can't even get a full BC Sprint field on a consistent basis.
katmandu
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:28 pm

I was struck by the circular reasoning also.
Tessablue
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Sun Dec 02, 2018 11:46 pm

After reading another handwringing article, this time by Haskin (http://cs.bloodhorse.com/blogs/horse-ra ... ittee.aspx), I just need to point out that the Stephen Foster has only been a G1 since 2002, while the Zenyatta/Lady's Secret/etc. was upgraded in... 2007. The sport survived just fine.

Looking at the recent fields, I do think the Spinster, which has not been a G1 race in a long while, should have been downgraded long before the Beldame. But races are more than their winners, and the Beldame hasn't had a field size larger than 8 since... I don't even know when, Equibase doesn't go back further than 1991. Much as I love Belmont races, the Beldame has averaged a field of around 5-6 runners for the past 30 years or so. If anything, it should've been downgraded years ago.
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Flanders
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Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:47 am

I think the US could cut their graded stakes in half and there would still be too many. The projected foal crop is dropping every year yet the number of Graded Stakes is probably still the same as it was when the foal crop was twice the size it is.

The US foal crop is only like 2,000 more than France, Great Britain and Ireland combined, yet there are 3 times as many Graded Stakes as Group races in those 3 countries. I really think eliminating/degrading a large part of them would be a great thing for racing.
peeptoad
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Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:10 am

Flanders wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:47 am
I think the US could cut their graded stakes in half and there would still be too many.
http://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/fo ... w-in-2018/
I completely agree. And, even if not for the foal crop size (which I believe has dropped every year since ~2005) there are still way too many G1 stakes on dirt imho. Almost any race that's either restricted by age, or largely run as a prep race for another race should be a G2 or G3 event. I'm one of the proponents of keeping the TC races G1 (and possible the Travers due to its placement on the calendar) but downgrading all other 3yo restricted races and especially all races that are Derby preps. Eliminating all 2yo G1 stakes except for the BC races would also make sense. It'll keep some horses at the track longer racing, and would have a positive effect on field size I would think.
Even for the older set there are too many on dirt. As already stated some props needs to be given to the turf divisions in this country. I rarely bet dirt stakes anymore unless they are TC, BC, or a random larger competitive fields, but turf racing has and will continue to intrigue me. Just way better betting opportunities and the racing itself is just far more interesting to me.
stark
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Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:31 am

I haven't thought this all the way through yet, but I have a hunch that Stronach's main man Tim Ritvo is thinking along the same lines......too much emphasis on Graded Stakes races. I think he'd prefer to have a full card like the claiming crown at Gulfstream rather than 5 horses in the TV commercial, 3 of which have an actual chance of winning an upcoming G1 event.

Do $2 bettors who wager every day care about Graded Stakes races?
What about the whales that push millions thru the windows, do they like Graded Stakes races?

The Breeding Industry no doubt likes using Graded Stakes races as a foundation for their industry, but what's the real downside to eliminating a whole bunch of 'em?

Just FYI, this excerpt from today's LA TIMES...

So, how are races graded? Think of it this way, it’s like if the College of Cardinals were to use analytics to elect a new Pope. There is some discretion, but there are lots of stats to look at.
It’s done by an 11-member board of six folks from the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Assn. and five industry professionals. Those are:
--Rick Hammerle, up until last week the vice president of racing at Santa Anita.
--Tom Robbins, executive vice president of racing at Del Mar.
--Georganne Hale, vice president of racing development at the Maryland Jockey Club.
--Ben Huffman, racing secretary at Keeneland.
--Martin Panza, senior vice president of racing at NYRA.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/more/la- ... 1-81971101
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
Tessablue
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Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:10 am

peeptoad wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:10 am
Flanders wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:47 am
I think the US could cut their graded stakes in half and there would still be too many.
http://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/fo ... w-in-2018/
I completely agree. And, even if not for the foal crop size (which I believe has dropped every year since ~2005) there are still way too many G1 stakes on dirt imho. Almost any race that's either restricted by age, or largely run as a prep race for another race should be a G2 or G3 event. I'm one of the proponents of keeping the TC races G1 (and possible the Travers due to its placement on the calendar) but downgrading all other 3yo restricted races and especially all races that are Derby preps. Eliminating all 2yo G1 stakes except for the BC races would also make sense. It'll keep some horses at the track longer racing, and would have a positive effect on field size I would think.
Even for the older set there are too many on dirt. As already stated some props needs to be given to the turf divisions in this country. I rarely bet dirt stakes anymore unless they are TC, BC, or a random larger competitive fields, but turf racing has and will continue to intrigue me. Just way better betting opportunities and the racing itself is just far more interesting to me.
I fully agree with all of this, although I do sort of want to keep some emphasis on 2yo stakes because I think 2yo racing is really important for the health and longevity of our horses. There are already too many restricted G1s, and it's absurd that there are any 3yo G1s at all after the Travers. The sooner the Cotillion and PA Derby are downgraded into obscurity, the better.

I also much prefer betting turf to dirt, especially given how large turf fields (especially turf sprint fields) tend to be. I like betting big stakes races because there's generally more information available about each horse, but a six-horse G1 on the dirt vs. a full maiden special weight on turf is just no contest... especially because it's much less likely that I'll have to tear up my program as every rider strangles their horse back and lets some longshot walk on the lead over a speed-favoring surface.
thinair
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Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:46 am

The older F&M races, unfortunately, can't support these Grade 1 races year after year. We have lost three in NY this century....the Ruffian, Go for Wand, and now the Beldame. It wasn't much more than 30 years since the Ladies was a Grade 1 as well, and now it's listed. Adapt or die.


The Spinster should likely be a Grade 2, but do Keeneland races EVER seem to get downgraded?
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Mylute
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Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:47 am

thinair wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:46 am
The older F&M races, unfortunately, can't support these Grade 1 races year after year. We have lost three in NY this century....the Ruffian, Go for Wand, and now the Beldame. It wasn't much more than 30 years since the Ladies was a Grade 1 as well, and now it's listed. Adapt or die.


The Spinster should likely be a Grade 2, but do Keeneland races EVER seem to get downgraded?
The Blue Grass got downgraded last year I think.
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thinair
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Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:12 pm

Mylute wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:47 am
thinair wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:46 am
The older F&M races, unfortunately, can't support these Grade 1 races year after year. We have lost three in NY this century....the Ruffian, Go for Wand, and now the Beldame. It wasn't much more than 30 years since the Ladies was a Grade 1 as well, and now it's listed. Adapt or die.


The Spinster should likely be a Grade 2, but do Keeneland races EVER seem to get downgraded?
The Blue Grass got downgraded last year I think.
You're right....and it probably shouldn't have. They could have at least given them a chance to resurrect it after synthetic turned it into a total mess. Plus, all the TC final preps should be the same Grade. But that would make sense, and we're not big on that in this industry.
WaquoitNBroadBrush
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Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:19 pm

stark wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:31 am
The Breeding Industry no doubt likes using Graded Stakes races as a foundation for their industry, but what's the real downside to eliminating a whole bunch of 'em?
If the breeding industry, already producing fewer foals every year, uses graded stakes as a foundation, will eliminating a bunch of them somehow reverse the trend? Talk about counterintuitive thinking... :?
Grade1
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Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:07 pm

Flanders wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:47 am
I think the US could cut their graded stakes in half and there would still be too many. The projected foal crop is dropping every year yet the number of Graded Stakes is probably still the same as it was when the foal crop was twice the size it is.

For comparison, here are the number of G1 races and number of registered North America foals for a few selected years.

First year US races were graded:
1973: 63 G1; 26,811 Foals; 426 Foals/G1

Highest number of foals:
1986: 115 G1; 51,296 Foals; 446 Foals/G1

Most G1s:
1988: 122 G1; 49,221 Foals; 403 Foals/G1

Now:
2019: 103 G1; 19,925 Foals (2018 Estimate); 193 Foals/G1
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stark
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Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:16 pm

Question for those, like me, who were horse racing fans in the 60-70s before the graded stakes system was implemented....was there something wrong with our sport back then that got corrected?
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
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Diver52
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Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:40 pm

stark wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:16 pm
Question for those, like me, who were horse racing fans in the 60-70s before the graded stakes system was implemented....was there something wrong with our sport back then that got corrected?
1. Europe did it.

2. Apparently American breeders are too stupid to be able to figure out a horse's quality without being told that "He's a grade 1 winner."
I ran marathons. I saw the Taj Mahal by Moonlight. I drove Highway 1 in a convertible. I petted Zenyatta.
stark
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Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:53 pm

I guess Secretariat was pretty lucky, just barely got a Graded Stakes win at 3, but nothing to speak of at 2.
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
WaquoitNBroadBrush
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Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:56 pm

Diver52 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:40 pm
stark wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:16 pm
Question for those, like me, who were horse racing fans in the 60-70s before the graded stakes system was implemented....was there something wrong with our sport back then that got corrected?
1. Europe did it.

2. Apparently American breeders are too stupid to be able to figure out a horse's quality without being told that "He's a grade 1 winner."
Or maybe the American BUYERS are.
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Diver52
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Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:12 pm

WaquoitNBroadBrush wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:56 pm
Diver52 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:40 pm
stark wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:16 pm
Question for those, like me, who were horse racing fans in the 60-70s before the graded stakes system was implemented....was there something wrong with our sport back then that got corrected?
1. Europe did it.

2. Apparently American breeders are too stupid to be able to figure out a horse's quality without being told that "He's a grade 1 winner."
Or maybe the American BUYERS are.
Fair point. :D
I ran marathons. I saw the Taj Mahal by Moonlight. I drove Highway 1 in a convertible. I petted Zenyatta.
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