Posted: Sept. 25, 2019

By Tom LaMarra

A filly and a mare with a combined 16 wins–all of them in the Mid-Atlantic region–and $1.05 million in earnings will decide the 2019 MATCH Series overall championship when they meet in the $100,000 Regret Stakes Sept. 28 at Monmouth Park.

Both were entered in the six-furlong Regret (Filly and Mare Sprint–Dirt Division), one of four MATCH stakes on the final championship day at the New Jersey racetrack. First post time for the final Saturday card of the Monmouth meet is 1:15 p.m. EDT.

The MATCH Series stakes are carded as races six through nine on a 10-race program.

Jim Reichenberg and Cash is King’s Ms Locust Point, trained by John Servis and based at Parx Racing, is the leader of the division with 31 points after four series starts. 2W Racing’s Bronx Beauty, who has three series starts for Monmouth-based trainer Anthony Margotta Jr., is second with 25 points.

Bronx Beauty will pick up 5 bonus points for her fourth start in the series, while Ms Locust Point will earn 2 extra points in her fifth series start on top of those earned for finish position: 10 for first, 7 for second, 5 for third, 3 for fourth, 2 for fifth and 1 for sixth through last.

Hillside Equestrian Meadows’ Laki, who tops the 3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Dirt Division, would have a series total of 33 points should he win the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes on the card. That’s one less than the minimum Ms Locust Point would have for a start in the Regret, so the championship goes through the Regret Stakes.

In their last meeting in the Roamin Rachel Stakes at Parx, Bronx Beauty was third and Ms Locust Point fifth behind Chalon, whose connections hope starts in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, a race she missed winning by a head in 2018.

The Roamin Rachel already has proved productive. Yorkiepoo Princess and Mess’n Around, fourth and second, respectively, returned to the races in the Pink Ribbon Stakes at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races Sept. 21; Yorkiepoo Princess won and Mess’n Around was a close third.

“She’s coming up to the race fantastic,” Margotta said of Bronx Beauty, a 4-year-old Pennsylvania-bred filly by Liaison. “I think she was compromised by the inside post in the Roamin Rachel, and she came out of the race really well. She’s on her home court here, and we’re just really happy to be in it.

“This has been like a football game. We’ve been behind (Ms Locust Point) in every quarter but have never really been out of it. The series has been a lot of fun. We’re just going for the win now. The series was the right fit for her this year, and (owner Richard Woll) is a New Jersey resident–this is good for him.”

Bronx Beauty in 13 career starts has won seven times with a third-place finish for earnings of $402,420. She is a six-time stakes winner and has three fourth-place finishes in Grade II and III stakes at Keeneland, Gulfstream Park and Charles Town. She won the Colleen Stakes at 2 in her only start at Monmouth. This year she has two wins–both in MATCH competition–and one third for earnings of $129,650.

Margotta has trained Bronx Beauty since her debut, and such is the case with Servis and Ms Locust Point, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Dialed In.

Ms Locust Point in 19 career outings has nine wins, four seconds and a third for earnings of $655,975. She is a five-time stakes winner, including the Grade II Barbara Fritchie at Laurel Park in 2018.

This year she has three wins and two seconds in seven starts for earnings of $178,540. In MATCH competition, Ms Locust Point won the Primonetta Stakes at Laurel and finished second behind Bronx Beauty in the Penn Ladies Dash at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course and the Dashing Beauty Stakes at Delaware Park.

After her win at Laurel in the first of five MATCH Series legs, her connections committed to racing Ms Locust Point in the series in the hope of a championship.

“I’m just glad to have this mare; it has been a dream the whole time, and we have a great trainer in John Servis,” co-owner Reichenberg said earlier in the series. “Programs like this create opportunities for owners like us, and we need those opportunities.”

The overall champion, determined by the most points accumulated in any division, will win $50,000 in bonus money for the owner and $25,000 for the trainer. Division titles pay out as follows: The winning owner and trainer get $20,000 and $15,000, respectively; the bonuses for second place are $15,000 and $10,000, and for third place $10,000 and $5,000.

Stephen and Debbie Jackson’s Last True Love, based at Penn National with trainer Flint Stites and entered in the Regret, would be the only other horse in the 2019 MATCH Series to start five times. With 12 points going in, the 4-year-old Yes It’s True filly is guaranteed third place in the Filly and Mare Sprint–Dirt Division.

(Bronx Beauty defeats Ms Locust Point at Delaware Park/Hoofprints Inc. photo)