Beginning this year, the American Graded Stakes Committee (AGSC) will evaluate and rate the quality of listed stakes. The new rating system would also extend to listed stakes for 2-year-olds the ban on race-day Salix use that will be applied to graded stakes for 2-year-olds when the program is implemented.

"The listed races would be treated the same as graded stakes and have to follow the same policies," said Andy Schweigardt, secretary of the AGSC and director of industry relations and development for the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).

The committee announced in 2011 a pilot program that tied the status of juvenile graded stakes to a ban on all race-day medication, primarily the anti-bleeder medication Salix (also known as Lasix) designed to prevent or lessen the effects of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. The AGSC in the past has tied adoption of various policies to retaining grades for stakes.

The decision to implement the ban followed a decision by the Breeders’ Cup to eliminate race-day medication for all 2-year-old races during the 2012 World Championships at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. The AGSC has not set a definitive date but is monitoring proposed regulatory changes on race-day medication in states, like Kentucky, which have proposed banning race-day Salix in graded stakes for 2-year-olds. New York and West Virginia are also conducting fact-finding initiatives related to similar bans. When the regulatory climate has progressed enough, the AGSC will determine an implementation date.

Evaluating and rating listed stakes came at the request of the International Cataloguing Standards