After a celebrated and highly successful return to the racing calendar last year, the MATCH Series (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships) will return in 2019, featuring a new format designed to encourage more participation from horsemen, brand the series as special event days at the participating racetracks, and make it easier for the racing public to follow the series.
In a change to the historic scheduling of series races and a first for the series, each track will host a MATCH Series day and a race in each of the four MATCH divisions will be contested on the card that day. The 2019 series will debut at Laurel Park April 20. The series will then move to Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course June 1, Delaware Park July 13, Parx Racing Sept. 2, and conclude with Championship Day at Monmouth Park Sept. 28.
There will be four divisions: 3-Year Old & Up Sprint–Dirt Division; 3-Year Old & Up Sprint–Turf Division; 3-Year Old & Up Fillies and Mares Sprint–Dirt Division, and 3-Year Old & Up Fillies and Mares Long–Turf Division. Each division will have five stakes.
The purse for each series race will be $100,000 with a total purse pool of $2 million. Bonuses for owners and trainers will total $375,000 with $75,000 in divisional bonuses, $50,000 to the overall series winning owner and $25,000 to the winning trainer. In addition, there will be breeder’s bonuses totaling $40,000.
“We were thrilled by the successful return of the MATCH Series in 2018,” said Alan Foreman, creator of the MATCH Series and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. “Despite the most challenging weather conditions in Mid-Atlantic history, the series exceeded all of our expectations and we are proud and excited to bring it back. We learned a lot in our return last year and have tried to make changes that are the product of numerous conversations with series participants, horsemen, track management and fans.
“We think the 2019 series will be a credit to Mid-Atlantic racing and generate tremendous interest and enthusiasm throughout the racing industry. MATCH is an enormous undertaking and the remarkable collaborative effort of all of the MATCH partners is unprecedented in the industry.”
Horses competing in MATCH Series divisions earn points per race based on participation and order of finish, and the leading points earners in each of the series divisions, as well as the overall owner and trainer points leaders, win lucrative bonuses. In addition, the breeders of each competing colt/gelding and fillies/mares earn points with the breeders earning bonuses for horses that win their division.
The MATCH Series is a collaboration of racetracks, horsemen and breeder organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region, which comprises the largest daily concentration of Thoroughbred racing in the United States. They each contribute to the marketing, purses and bonus pool.
The participating organizations are the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and its affiliates in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey
and Pennsylvania; Maryland Jockey Club (Laurel Park); Delaware Park; Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment (Parx); Penn National Gaming Inc. (Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course); Darby Development (Monmouth Park); Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association; Maryland Horse Breeders Association; Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association; Thoroughbred Breeders Association of New Jersey; and Delaware Certified Thoroughbred Program.