Oaklawn’s commitment to boosting its stakes program for older horses was rewarded Jan. 28 when the American Graded Stakes Committee announced three of the track’s races had been elevated to Grade 3 status in 2022 and a fourth issued listed status for the first time this year.

The American Graded Stakes Committee reviewed 891 U.S. stakes races with a purse of at least $75,000 and assigned Graded status to 449 of them and Listed status to 204 races. Additionally, 20 new Listed races and two new Listed-Restricted races were upgraded from non-Listed Black Type status.

Oaklawn’s upgraded races are:

The Essex Handicap Listed to Grade 3

The Oaklawn Mile Listed to Grade 3

The Whitmore Stakes Listed to Grade 3

The Temperence Hill Stakes Non-Listed Black Type to Listed

“We want to thank The American Graded Stakes Committee for upgrading these four deserving stakes,” Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith said. “Oaklawn has set a professional standard for Thoroughbred racing and these upgrades are further evidence of that. We continue to take racing to a whole new level.”

The $500,000 Essex Handicap (G3) and $200,000 Whitmore Stakes (G3) (formerly the Hot Springs Stakes) will be the feature races on Whitmore Day, Saturday, March 19. Whitmore Day will honor the 2020 Champion Sprinter and four-time winner of the Hot Springs.

The $400,000 Oaklawn Mile (G3) and the $150,000 Temperence Hill Stakes will be part of the blockbuster $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) card Saturday, April 2.

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