The Charles Town Oaks is one of three stakes elevated to graded status for 2014 by the American Graded Stakes Committee, which announced the changes in early December.
The committee reviewed 713 unrestricted U.S. stakes races with a purse of at least $75,000, and assigned graded status to 455, two fewer than in 2013. The $400,000 Charles Town Oaks, inaugurated in 2009 and won last September by So Many Ways, is now Grade 3, and one of 46 graded races at regional tracks.
Offsetting the addition was the loss of grade for Monmouth Park’s historic Sapling Stakes, which was run for the 79th time in 2013. One of the first juvenile races in the nation to be designated Grade 1 in 1976, it had been downgraded to Grade 2 in 1984 and Grade 3 in 1997.
Mid-Atlantic tracks card five Grade 1 stakes in 2014: the Delaware Handicap (Delaware Park), Haskell Invitational and United Nations (Monmouth Park), Cotillion (Parx Racing) and Preakness (Pimlico).