By Tom LaMarra
Breed and agriculture development organizations in the four states that will host stakes in the 2018 Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships Series will offer a combined $40,000 in bonuses based upon accumulated points in the 25-race series that returns to the calendar for the first time since 2001.
The MATCH Series will offer almost $3 million in purse money along with $450,000 in owner and trainer bonus money contributed by five horsemen’s organizations. The series will kick off at Pimlico Race Course in Maryland May
18-19 as part of Preakness Stakes week and conclude in mid-September.
Breeders’ organizations were represented at an October 2017 meeting to discuss the return of the MATCH Series. The decision by the organizations to join the series completes the effort to get all of the region’s stakeholders to participate and enjoy the benefits of the championship competition.
The Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey, Maryland Horse Breeders Association and Delaware Certified Thoroughbred Program will each offer $10,000 in bonus money to their respective top point-earners in the series. The breeder–certifier in the case of Delaware–of the top male will get $5,000 and the breeder of top female $5,000.
“I am delighted that we have been able to bring our breeders into the series and showcase our bred-fund programs,” MATCH Series creator Alan Foreman said. “In our efforts to revive the series, we wanted everyone in the region to be able to participate. This is a wonderful step for the series and something we hope we can build on in future years, including competition among the programs.”
“The Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association is glad that we can contribute to making the return of the MATCH Series a big success,” PHBA Executive Director Brian Sanfratello said. “We wanted to make sure that the breeders of these magnificent horses also shared in what will be a fantastic summer of racing.”
New Jersey, which will host seven MATCH stakes at Monmouth Park, was the first to announce the breeder incentive a few weeks ago. It is awaiting final approval by the New Jersey Racing Commission.
“The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey is proud to join Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware in offering a bonus to the breeder of the top New Jersey-bred point earning colt and gelding and filly and mare in the 2018 MATCH Series,” TBANJ Executive Director Mike Campbell said. “This unique and exciting series is sure to generate interest among breeders, horsemen, and racing enthusiasts across the country, and we look forward to watching New Jersey-bred horse compete throughout the series.”
Last year, Maryland-bred runners won four of five Delaware Certified stakes on DTHA Owners’ Day. MHBA Executive Director Cricket Goodall noted MATCH offers participants a chance to double-dip for bonuses.
“We’re happy to join Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the Delaware Certified Program in participating in the MATCH Series,” Goodall said. “Maryland-bred horses did very well in the MATCH Series before, but we didn’t have a way to recognize the breeders. We’re looking forward to this.”
Very few Thoroughbreds are bred in Delaware, but the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, in conjunction with Delaware Park, awards purse bonuses to “certified horses”–those that spent at least 90 days at a farm in Delaware prior to March 31 of their 2-year-old year. For horses that finish first through fifth in most races at Delaware Park this year, the owner and certifier each receive 25% of purse money earned.
“We are excited to offer this bonus to the series for all horses in our program and for the possibility that one horse has the potential to double its bonus earnings because its Delaware Certified if it is Maryland-, New Jersey- or Pennsylvania-bred,” Delaware THA Executive Director Bessie Gruwell said. “These bonuses solidify the potential of extra earnings for breeders to take advantage of in the Mid-Atlantic states by sending their young horses to Delaware to be Delaware Certified.
Under the DCTP, certifiers are considered “breeders” because they are responsible for bringing horses into Delaware to spend time at farms. Gruwell said certifiers would receive the MATCH bonuses.
With the participation from the four organizations, MATCH Series bonuses for owners, trainers, breeders and certifiers now totals $490,000.