TORONTO, January 25 - The Jockey Club of Canada’s Graded Stakes Committee held its annual review of the Graded Stakes in Canada, and has announced there will be a total of 42 Graded Stakes in 2012, up from 37 in 2011.

The five Grade 1 races for 2012 are unchanged.

Three Grade 3 races, the Summer Stakes for two-year-olds on the turf, the Natalma Stakes for two-year-old fillies on the turf, and the Hendrie Stakes for fillies and mares three and up have each been upgraded to a Grade 2 race for 2012, increasing the total number of Grade 2 races to 13 in 2012.

Five listed stakes have received an upgrade to Grade 3 status, bumping the number of Grade 3s to 24 in 2012. The Mazarine Stakes for two-year-old fillies at Woodbine in Toronto and the BC Premier’s Handicap for three-year-olds and up at Hastings in British Columbia have regained their Grade 3 status for 2012.

The new Grade 3 races for 2012 include: the Bold Venture Stakes, a sprint race for three-year-olds and up; the Ontario Fashion Stakes, a sprint race for fillies and mares three-year-olds and up; and the Ontario Derby, for three-year-olds. All three races are run at Woodbine in Toronto and carry purses of $150,000 each.

The Canadian Graded Stakes Committee evaluates and reviews the Graded Stakes annually and determines whether races should be upgraded, downgraded or remain the same, based on a number of criteria including the performance of the races based on the NARC and BRIS ratings for the previous years. Also, to be eligible for consideration for Graded status in Canada, races must carry the following minimum purses: $250,000 for Grade 1; $150,000 for Grade 2 and $100,000 for Grade 3.

The Jockey Club of Canada was founded in 1973 by E.P. Taylor to serve as the international representative of the Canadian thoroughbred industry and to promote improvements to thoroughbred racing and breeding, both in Canada and internationally. The Jockey Club of Canada also operates as a field office of The Jockey Club (New York), organizes the Sovereign Awards, administers the Canadian Graded Stakes program, liaises with foreign Jockey Clubs, promotes thoroughbred ownership, and represents Canada at international racing conferences.