© Phalaris Project 2013-2017 - Last updated July 8, 2017 In 1973, in response to a perceived need to sort black-type races with more precision, U.S. stakes races were graded for the first time. One of the most important purposes of the project was to aid buyers at auction, particularly foreign buyers, who were spending a great deal of money at U.S. auctions, not necessarily with a deep or fundamental understanding about the relative importance of various black-type stakes. Not all stakes events are equal, of course, and the use of race value to estimate worth is problematic. There are, and were, many stakes races whose purses did not accurately reflect the real worth of the event. The North American Graded Stakes followed the example set by the Europeans and British with the Pattern races system that led to Group 1, 2 and 3 events. In 1973, a total of 353 graded stakes races were run, of which 64 were Grade 1 events. Today, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders' Association's American Graded Stakes Committee is at the helm of the grading procedure, which makes use of a point system based on accomplishment by race participants within a two-year interval, over several years' runnings of each race under consideration. Each year, several races are upgraded or downgraded based on findings from this research; announcements from the Graded Stakes Committee about the next season's graded stakes races typically are issued in about November. To be eligible for consideration by the graded stakes committee, a race must meet a number of requirements. Among the major requirements are meeting purse minimums, not being restricted (except by age or gender) and being run for at least two consecutive years under similar conditions. If a race scheduled for the turf is run on the main track, it is likely to be downgraded one grade for the year, pending review by the committee; if a race is not run for two consecutive years, it is not eligible for grading. Made with MAGIX