Posted: June 10, 2022
By Tom LaMarra
The Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships Series (MATCH) returns to Parx Racing June 14 with two turf events that are part of the second leg of the 2022 series.
The pair of $100,000 stakes–the Neshaminy and Bensalem, both at 1 1/16 miles–are part of an 11-race Tuesday program that includes the third leg of two starter allowance sprint series tied to points and bonus money. The Neshaminy and Bensalem are races eight and 10, respectively. First post time is set for 12:55 p.m.
The Neshaminy (Filly and Mare Long–Turf division) attracted Deciding Vote, who won the Dahlia Stakes (above), first leg of her division, in April at Laurel Park. Owned and bred by William Pape and trained by Edward Graham at Fair Hill, Deciding Vote won the Dahlia in her first start of the year to run her career record to 4-2-2 in 10 starts on grass.
The 5-year-old mare by Mr. Speaker will be ridden again by Angel Suarez. The Dahlia was her first start in stakes company.
Also entered in the Neshaminy are Respect the Valleys’ Out of Sorts (above), a Brittany Russell trainee who finished a troubled fifth in the Dahlia; Dede McGehee’s Gladys, who was third in the Grade II Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in March and exits an allowance victory at Churchill Downs; and Timory Ridall’s Tic Tic Tic Boom, who is trained by Alan Bedard and overcame traffic to finish a good second in a May 31 allowance race at Parx, where she is based.
The Neshaminy drew a field of 10 that includes one main-track-only runner.
Bruno Schickedanz’ Mandate (above), second in the Henry Clark Stakes at Laurel in his last start in April, is one of 11 (two main-track-only) horses entered the Bensalem (3-Year-Olds and Up Long–Turf division). Based at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course with trainer Robert Johnston, Mandate is second in the MATCH division standings given his strong performance in the Henry Clark behind the highly-regarded Arnaud Delacour trainee Chez Pierre.
Mandate, a 5-year-old Blame gelding, last fall won the Artie Schiller Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack at 44-1 under Andrew Wolfsont, who was aboard for the Henry Clark and is named again for the Bensalem.
Delacour, a regular participant in MATCH Series events, has entered Mark Grier’s Eons, a five-time winner on turf with earnings thus far of more than $430,000. Also entered in the Bensalem are Runnymore Racing’s Beacon Hill, a close fourth last time out in the Grade II Dinner Party Stakes at Pimlico Race Course; and Wind N’ Leaves Farm’s Parx-based Mt. Suribachi, who is four-for-eight with a pair of seconds on grass and prepped for the Bensalem in a Monmouth Park allowance test in late May in his first start of 2022.
Parx will host all four divisions of MATCH action this year on Monday, Oct. 3, which is the fifth and final leg of the series. The June leg was split between Parx and Penn National, which will offer two dirt-sprint division stakes the evening of Friday, June 14.
The MATCH Series bonus money distribution for 2022 offers up to $92,500 per division and $30,000 for the overall champion by points. For each division, first place pays $30,000 to the owner and $15,000 to the trainer; for second, $20,000/$10,000; and for third, $10,000/$7,500. For the overall champion, the owner receives an additional $20,000 and the trainer $10,000.
The Maryland Horse Breeders Association, Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association and Virginia Thoroughbred Association have each agreed to offer $5,000 bonuses to breeders based on the performances of horses in the series for a potential total of $30,000. Pennsylvania and Virginia will recognized the top male and female state-bred runners by overall points earned, while Maryland will award bonuses to the top Maryland-bred and Maryland-sired runners by overall points earned.
The MATCH Series originally debuted in 1997 and ran for five years. It returned with great success in 2018 and was held in 2019 and 2021. The innovative regional racing series–the only one of its kind in horse racing–combines rich stakes and bonuses for participating owners and trainers who compete over a five- to 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 owner and trainer of the overall points leader, win lucrative bonuses.