Revived Regional Racing Series MATCH Returns
The Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) returns following 16 years on the sidelines. The MATCH Series, with $450,000 in owner and trainer bonuses covering five thoroughbred divisions, will take place at tracks in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey starting Preakness weekend May 18. The series will run all summer and conclude Sept. 15-16 with races at Laurel Park, and PARX and Presque Isle in Pennsylvania.
Alan Foreman, general counsel for the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the creator of the concept, said horsemen have asked him about the series since it ended in 2002 following a five year run. The MATCH series is funded by horsemen’s groups from each of the participating states.
“I am delighted that the series is returning,” said MATCH creator and THA Chairman Alan Foreman. “The Mid-Atlantic region has been working cooperatively on so many levels during the past five years, and the renewal of MATCH is a further testament to this cooperation. I am pleased that we are able to tell the horsemen who have asked about MATCH so many times over recent years that it is back, and we are looking forward to a great competition.”
Horses competing in the MATCH series will earn points based on participation and order of finish, and the leading points earners in each of the divisions, as well as the overall owner and trainer points leaders, earn bonus money.
The 2018 series will be contested among five divisions, with five races for each division.
- 3+ Year Olds Long (Dirt)
- 3+ Year Olds Sprint (Dirt)
- 3+ Year Olds Turf Spring
- 3+ Year Fillies & Mares Turf Sprint
- 3+ Year Fillies & Mares Dirt Sprint
The purses for the stakes will be paid out of each track’s respective purse accounts. Total purse money is $2.9 million. Horsemen have agreed to put up $450,000 for the bonus pool. Tracks will be responsible for the administration and advertising costs. The exact amount that each entity contributes is based on a sliding scale, Foreman said.
The first, second and third-place owners, respectively, in each division will earn $20,000, $15,000, and $10,000. The top three earning trainers will earn $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively. The MATCH series overall top-earning owner will win $50,000, while the top-earning trainer will earn $25,000.
“[The tracks are] doing it at different levels. It’s not ‘same size fits all,’” Foreman said. “And on the horsemen’s side, it’s the [various regional] THA groups and the Pennsylvania HBPA, and each group is contributing at a different level because we’re not all similarly situated insofar as our purse accounts are concerned. At Delaware and Monmouth, the horsemen are far more challenged than they might be in Maryland or Pennsylvania. But that $450,000 bonus pool is coming from the horsemen’s organizations, and that’s the engine that drives the series.”