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 seven-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, the first in 16 years, was contested among five divisions, each of which had five races from mid- May through mid-September.
The 2019 series featured four divisions under a new format: Each of the five partner racetracks held all four divisional races on the same day in an effort to bring clarity to the schedule, foster more participation from horsemen and make it easier for the public to follow.
For 2020, two more tracks were scheduled to join the series, and a fifth division was added. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the MATCH partners opted to cancel the 2021 edition of the series.
In order to bridge the gap to 2022, when a more tracks are expected to participate, stakeholders in Maryland and Virginia worked to fashion a two-state schedule that begins at Pimlico Race Course May 14 and concludes Dec. 26 at Laurel Park.
The first-, second-, and third-place points-earning owners in each division will earn $20,000, $15,000, and $7,500. The top three points-earning trainers in each division will earn $10,000, $7,500 and $3,000. The owner and trainer of the MATCH Series overall top points-earning horse will win $20,000 and $10,000, respectively.
The Maryland Horse Breeders Association will offer $6,000 in bonus money, $3,000 each to the breeder of the top points-earning male and female in the series.
The series partners as follows: Charles Town HBPA, Delaware THA, Maryland THA, New Jersey THA, Pennsylvania THA, Pennsylvania HBPA and Virginia HBPA; Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Colonial Downs, Delaware Park, the Maryland Jockey Club (Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course), Monmouth Park, Parx Racing and Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course; and the Delaware Certified Thoroughbred Program, Maryland Horse Breeders Association, Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey, Virginia Thoroughbred Association and West Virginia Thoroughbred Breeders Association.