Established in 1971 by racing organizations in Britain, France, Germany and Italy to classify select stakes races outside North America. Collectively called "pattern races." Equivalent to North American graded races. Always denoted with Arabic numerals 1, 2, or 3. Capitalized when used in race title (the Group 1 Epsom Derby). See graded race.
From the most important, Group 1, which includes the Epsom and Kentucky Derbys, through Group 2 to Group 3. Races with Group status have been designated the most prestigious in their country and the best horses compete for them. They form a pyramid within each racing country in that there are few Group 1 races, slightly more Group 2 events and more again of the Group 3 contests. See also 'Black Type'.
the nation's highest quality races are graded in to three levels of importance with group one being the principal events.