The MATCH Series, which originally debuted in 1997 and ran for five years, is an innovative regional racing series, and the only one of its kind in horse racing, that combines rich stakes and bonuses for participating owners and trainers who compete over a five-month span. Horses competing in MATCH earn points based on participation and order of finish in each series race, and the leading point earners in each of the series divisions, as well as the overall owner and trainer point leaders, win lucrative bonuses.
The 2018 series renewal will be contested among five divisions: 3-Year-Olds & Up Long–Dirt; 3-Year-Olds & Up Sprint–Dirt; 3-Year-Olds & Up Fillies and Mares Sprint–Dirt; 3-Year Olds & Up Sprint–Turf; and 3-Year-Olds and Up Fillies and Mares Sprint–Turf. Each division will have five races from mid- May through mid-September.
The series will be contested throughout the summer beginning on Preakness weekend at Pimlico Race Course and continuing at Delaware Park, Laurel Park, Monmouth Park, Parx, Penn National and Presque Isle. The series will culminate with Championship Weekend, Sept. 15-16 at Laurel, Parx and Presque Isle. The participating tracks have all agreed to support the MATCH Series divisions and not run races in competition with them. As a result, the races are spanned so that participating horsemen will have a regional road map of stakes for their horses from May to September.
Total purse money is $2.9 million. Horsemen will compete for $450,000 in bonus money, all contributed by the participating horsemen’s organizations. The first-, second-, and third-place points-earning owners in each division will earn $20,000, $15,000, and $10,000. The top three points-earning trainers in each division will earn $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000. The MATCH Series overall top points-earning owner will win $50,000, while the top points-earning trainer will earn $25,000.
New to the series this year: State breeder organizations are each contributing $10,000 in bonus money, and the breeder of the top points-earning colt/gelding and filly/mare from each program will receive $5,000.
The series partners are the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and its affiliates in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania; the Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association; the Maryland Jockey Club (Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park); Delaware Park; Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment (Parx); Penn National Gaming (Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course); Darby Development (Monmouth Park); Eldorado Resorts (Presque Isle Downs & Casino); Maryland Horse Breeders Association; Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association; Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey; and Delaware Thoroughbred Certified Program.