Definition of Black Type




Black Type Race – Black Type Winner – Black Type Placed


The words “black-type” are the equivalent, in racing, sales terminology and in sales catalogues, of the frequently-used word “stakes.”  A stakes race will not always merit “black” type in a sales catalogue.



Black Type Race or Stakes Race


There are several classes of black type races, which are described in the following information.  A black type race must, by definition, close for entries at least 72 hours before it is run.  Fees must also be paid towards the purse by owners and/or additional (added) money contributed by or through the host racetrack.  In addition, a stakes race must have a total purse value distributed on the day of the race of $50,000 or more.  (This minimum was established in January 2008 and is frequently reviewed.)  Effective January 1, 2014, a race must have a purse value of $50,000 available for distribution on the day of the race and have a Black-Type Race Quality Score (RQS) equal to or above the established minimum Race Quality Score for its age/sex division.  New races with a minimum purse of $75,000 available to all entries may be submitted to North American ICSC for review to determine if the inaugural running will receive black-type status.  A list of stakes races and their non-Listed black-type status by year starting with 2014 is available at  In the more liberal interpretation of “stakes,” the amount of the purse is not always a factor, but a race qualifies for “black type” in sales catalogue following ICSC (International Cataloguing Standards Committee) standards only when it meets the total purse and other criteria.


In pedigrees, a horse’s name, when it is a winner or has placed in a black type race, is indicated in bold (hence “black”) type.  Winners’ names are in upper case (capital) bold letters.  Horses placing 2ndor 3rdare in lower case bold letters.


In addition, further symbols or designators associated with the black type race will indicate the level or quality of the race in question.


It is important to note that changes in entry requirements, restrictions and purse levels for black type races are not retrospective.  Once awarded black type in a pedigree, this information is unchanged and permanently maintained until and unless it is required to be replaced by more current data.



Graded or Group Black Type Races


All around the world, the “graded” or “group” stakes race (G1, G2 and G3) is recognized as being of the highest quality within any racing jurisdiction.  The words “grade” and “group” have identical meaning and qualifications.


The Society of International Thoroughbred Auctioneers (SITA), of which Fasig-Tipton Company, Inc. is a founding member, uses the rulings of the International Cataloguing Standards Committee (ICSC) in its sales pedigrees to recognize grade or group designators for races.


ICSC maintains and monitors the application of guidelines by racing countries around the world.  These countries qualify for several categories for cataloguing purposes as follows:


Part 1 countries will receive black type status and any race designators including grade/group indicators that are applicable.


Part II countries receive black type status, but will not be eligible to carry any designators such as grade/group  indicators. 


Part III countries have races listed for informational purposes only and do not receive any black type status.


In the USA, graded races are classified by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association (TOBA).  This committee meets regularly to insure its standards of purse money and quality of racing are maintained.


Graded races are non-restricted (age and sex qualifications are not considered restrictions).  From January 2003, the minimum value for a graded race has been $100,000.



Listed Black Type Races (L)


Below the quality of graded races, listed races also have a minimum added and/or total purse value, which, in January 2002, was set at $75,000.  For this and for other considerations, they do not qualify as graded black type races.  Effective January 1, 2013, Listed status is assigned by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) for races in the United States and by The Jockey Club of Canada’s Graded Stakes Committee for races in Canada.


The name of the listed black-type race is detailed after the subject horse in the pedigree with the designator (L), and, in parentheses, an abbreviation of the host track and the purse earned specifically in that race.  Up to the end of December 1990, some listed races were also restricted races and carried the designator (LR).  Since that time, listed races may not be restricted.



Restricted Races


Because entry conditions for restricted races are often framed to exclude better horses, these black type races are usually regarded as of lesser quality than graded or listed races.  The name of the restricted black type race is detailed after the subject horse in the pedigree with the designator (R) and, in parentheses, an abbreviation of the host track and the purse earned specifically in that race.


From January 2003, conditions for black type restricted races were refined and the only restrictions now allowed are those for state-bred runners, non-winners of a sweepstakes, sales graduates and stallions’ progeny.  Beginning January 1, 2006, races that contain preference clauses based on criteria other than the quality of the horse in the race shall be considered restricted races and as of January 1, 2007, these races will no longer be allowed black-type.



Other Races Identified in Catalogues


There are some black type races which are not restricted, but do not have sufficient purse money to qualify as listed races.  These races are identified by name but carry NO designator (G, L or R).  The name of the race is detailed after the subject horse and, in parentheses, an abbreviation of the host track and the purse earned specifically in that race.


The amount of purse money to qualify a race for black type status is regularly raised by SITA to insure the quality and integrity of the black type system.



Further Note


In 1985, several other stakes qualified for black type or for inclusion in some form in pedigrees. Subsequent changes have replaced or eliminated these races, but they remain in pedigrees until they are excluded by more current data.  Such races carried designators (O), (N) and (Q).