From a Maryland Jockey Club release
The Maryland Jockey Club announced today the prestigious $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash has been upgraded to a Grade 3 race for 2016 by the American Graded Stakes Committee.
The De Francis, first contested in 1990, has played host to champions Housebuster, Safely Kept and Cherokee Run. Thor’s Echo, in 2006, was the last horse to win the De Francis and go on to be Eclipse champion sprinter. The race lost its graded status when it wasn’t run in 2008 and 2010.
Gentlemen’s Bet was placed first in this year’s De Francis due to the disqualification of Trouble Kid. The field this year included multiple Grade 1 winner Palace and the Grade 1-placed Stallwalkin’ Dude.
Along with the De Francis, three other Maryland Jockey Club races were upgraded from non-Listed Black Type to Listed. All three were for distaff runners, and two were turf sprints.
The Very One, a turf sprint for older fillies and mares won the past two years at Pimlico by the multiple graded-stakes winner Ageless, was upgraded, as was the Stormy Blues at Pimlico, a turf sprint for three-year-old fillies won this year by another multiple graded-stakes winner in Lady Shipman. Laurel’s Wide Country Stakes, for three-year-old fillies on the main track won by Gypsy Judy over Grade 3 winner Hot City Girl, was also upgraded.