Posted: July 2, 2019

By Tom LaMarra

The big-event format for this year’s MATCH Series continues July 13 at Delaware Park, which will host four series stakes as well the grade II, $750,000 Delaware Handicap on the Saturday program.

Eighty-nine nominations were submitted for the four $100,000 MATCH events: the Dashing Beauty Stakes (Filly and Mare Sprint–Dirt Division), Hockessin Stakes (3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Dirt Division), Just a Kiss Stakes (Filly and Mare Long–Turf Division) and the Glasgow Stakes (3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Turf Division). Entries for the program will be taken July 10.

Delaware Park has been part of the MATCH Series since it was inaugurated in 1997.

Horses must start a minimum of three times in one division to qualify for bonus money, which totals $75,000 per division ($45,000 for owners and $30,000 for trainers for the top three horses based on points). Several horses will qualify for bonus money should they start at Delaware.

Three of them are nominated to the six-furlong Dashing Beauty: 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 at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course; Heider Family Stables, Madaket Stables and Michael Kisber’s Cairenn, second in the Primonetta and seventh in the Penn Ladies Dash; and Steve and Debbie Jackson’s Last True Love, sixth at Laurel and fourth at Penn National.

Bronx Beauty, winner of the Penn Ladies Dash for owner 2W Stables, also is nominated to the Dashing Beauty and is expected to stick with the series going forward.

The Hockessin, at six furlongs, attracted 17 nominees including the winners of the first two division legs: Hillside Equestrian Meadows’ Laki, who captured the Frank Whiteley Stakes at Laurel, and Uptowncharlybrown Stud’s Midtowncharlybrown, winner of the Chocolatetown Sprint Stakes at Penn National. Laki would qualify for MATCH bonus money with a start in the Hockessin, in which he finished fifth in 2018.

Also nominated is Stonehedge LLC’s Always Sunshine, a Delaware Park-based gelding who won the Hockessin in 2018 and was an easy winner locally in his first start of 2019. Always Sunshine made two starts in last year’s MATCH Series.

Linda Zang’s Lewisfield, second in the Whiteley, skipped the Chocolatetown but finished third in the grade III Maryland Sprint Stakes at Pimlico and fifth in the Polynesian Stakes at Laurel in his two subsequent outings. The 5-year-old gelding finished second to Laki for the divisional championship in the MATCH Series last year.

Two of the three tied at the top of the division with 10 points each are nominated to the Just a Kiss Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Ballybrit Stable’s Dynatail took the Susquehanna Stakes at Penn National in her first MATCH Series appearance, while Mens Grille Racing’s Enchanted Ghost finished second in the Susquehanna and fourth the Dahlia Stakes at Laurel.

Enchanted Ghost would qualify for MATCH bonus money should she start in the Just a Kiss, which has 25 nominees.

Robert Bone’s Completed Pass, currently the leader of the 3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Turf Division, is entered in the grade III Parx Dash at five furlongs at Parx Racing July 6 and isn’t nominated to the Glasgow Stakes. In order to accommodate scheduling at Parx for this year, the Glasgow and Neshaminy Stakes at Parx Sept. 2 are at 7 1/2 furlongs, which opened the door to multiple newcomers to the MATCH division.

The Glasgow drew 28 nominees including two that have competed once in MATCH competition this year. Gold Square LLC’s Square Shooter finished fourth in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup at Penn National, while Lael Stable’s Tricks to Doo was a close fourth in the King T. Leatherbury Stakes at Laurel.

A few of the nominees have had success going both one turn and two turns on the grass including George Vires’ Mai Ty One On, a Monmouth-based gelding who has been competing at Belmont Park. Versatility could be a determining factor in bonus money payouts in the division, which concludes with the 5 1/2-furlong Rainbow Heir Stakes at Monmouth.

(Photo of Bronx Beauty by B & D Photography)