Posted: July 10, 2019

By Tom LaMarra

A rematch in the Filly and Mare Sprint–Dirt Division and a chance for several horses to pad their respective divisional leads are among the highlights as the MATCH Series returns to Delaware Park July 13 as part of the Delaware Handicap program.

The four $100,000 MATCH stakes are carded as races 4 through 7, with the grade II, $750,000 Del Cap as race 8 on the nine-race Saturday program. First post time is 1:15 p.m. EDT.

The six-furlong Dashing Beauty Stakes (Filly and Mare Sprint–Dirt Division) attracted Jim Reichenberg and Cash is King’s Ms Locust Point, who won the Primonetta Stakes at Laurel Park and finished second in the Penn Ladies Dash, and 2W Stables’ Bronx Beauty, who won the Penn Ladies Dash in her first MATCH Series start. Ms Locust Point, trained by John Servis, will qualify for bonus money with a start in the Dashing Beauty and currently leads the division with 17 points based on her finishes in the first two of the five series legs.

Bronx Beauty, trained at Monmouth Park by Anthony Margotta Jr., won the Penn Ladies Dash at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in her second start of the year, and last year won a stakes at Parx Racing, where the fourth leg of the MATCH Series will be held Sept. 2. Ms Locust Point is stabled at Parx, where she has won four times.

Steve and Debbie Jackson’s Last True Love, based at Penn National with Flint Stites, has a chance to accumulate more points in the Dashing Beauty, which will mark her third start in the series. Horses need to start in at least three of the five divisional races to qualify for owner and trainer bonus money.

In the Just a Kiss Stakes (Filly and Mare Long–Turf Division), Ballybrit Stable’s Dynatail has a chance to break a three-way tie at the top of the divisional standings. Trained by Mike Dini, Dynatail, who has 10 points, was a handy winner of the Susquehanna Stakes at Penn National in her first MATCH outing and last time out finished sixth in a grade III stakes at Monmouth.

The other two division leaders, Secret Message and Enchanted Ghost, aren’t entered in the Just a Kiss, which will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the grass. Hamilton Smith, who trains Enchanted Ghost, has instead entered Lorian Francesca Peralta-Ramos’ Quick Witted, who will make her second MATCH Series this year on the road to qualifying for bonus money.

Stonehedge LLC’s Always Sunshine will attempt to go back-to-back in the six-furlong Hockessin Stakes (3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Dirt Division) after a powerful allowance win at Delaware Park in his first start of 2019. Trained by Edward Allard, Always Sunshine won last year’s Hockessin and made only more start in the 2018 MATCH Series, so he didn’t qualify for bonus money.

Hillside Equestrian Meadows’ Laki and Uptowncharlybrown Stud’s Midtowncharlybrown, who won the Frank Whiteley Stakes at Laurel and Chocolatetown Sprint at Penn National, respectively–the first two divisional races–were not entered in the Hockessin. Laki needs one more start to qualify for bonus money.

The Hockessin did attract Ohio-based Altissimo, an Ohio-bred who has won 15 of 35 starts for owners Nancy Lavrich and Ronald Zielinksi. Trained by Richard Zielinksi, Altissimo just missed winning the Dave’s Friend Stakes last December at Laurel in a rare East Coast visit; the race was won by Rising Sun Racing Stables’ Colonel Sharp, who won a Delaware Park allowance race in quick time in his last outing for trainer Hugh McMahon, who has a local string this year.

Robert Bone’s Completed Pass, leader of the 3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Turf Division, wasn’t nominated to the Glasgow Stakes at 7 1/2 furlongs but was supplemented for $1,500. The Claudio Gonzalez trainee needs one more start to qualify for bonus money.

Completed Pass, who missed winning the first two division events by a neck each time, would have a quick turnaround as he raced July 6 in the grade III Parx Dash at five furlongs. But he broke poorly and never had a chance in a race won in slow time on a yielding course by Pure Sensation, who barely beat him in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup at Penn National.

The Glasgow and the Sept. 2 Neshaminy Stakes at Parx are both two-turn sprints, while the final MATCH leg at Monmouth is back at one turn.

Gold Square LLC’s Square Shooter, fourth in the Governor’s Cup for trainer Jeremiah Engelhardt, is entered in the Glasgow. Skeedattle Associates’ Just Howard, trained by Graham Motion, will make his MATCH Series debut and has plenty of two-turn experience in grass stakes in the region.

MATCH Series bonus money totals $75,000 per division ($45,000 for owners and $30,000 for trainers for the top three horses based on points).

(Photo of Dynatail by B & D Photography)