Posted: April 20, 2022

By Tom LaMarra

The first leg of the 2022 Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships (MATCH Series) concludes April 23 at Laurel Park with some of the best filly and mare sprinters in the region and the return of turf racing in two divisions.

The $100,000 Primonetta Stakes (Filly and Mare Sprint–Dirt division), $100,000 Henry S. Clark Stakes (3-Year-Olds and Up Long–Turf division) and $100,000 Dahlia Stakes (Filly and Mare Long–Turf division) are among five stakes on the Saturday card at Laurel. The first turf races of the year at Laurel were held April 16.

The Primonetta, at six furlongs, attracted the 6-year-old Munnings mare Kaylasaurus, who has delivered on a claim for $25,000 in late November 2021 at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, where she is based with trainer Tim Kreiser. Though she entered the 2021 MATCH Series too late to pick up bonus money, Kaylasaurus won the Willa On the Move Stakes at Laurel in late December in her first start off the claim.

In three 2022 starts–all at Laurel–Pennsylvania-bred Kaylasaurus, owned by Bush Racing Stable, Liberty House Racing, BlackRidge Stables and George Saufley, finished second in the What A Summer Stakes, was a close fourth in the Grade III Barbara Fritchie Stakes and finished second in an open allowance sprint. Horacio Karamanos, who was aboard for the Willa On the Move and the most recent allowance race, has the call in the seven-horse field.

Kaylasaurus, a winner of seven of 22 starts with earnings in excess of $264,000, also has wins at Penn National and Parx Racing, both of which will offer stakes in her MATCH Series division this year.

Trainer John Robb has entered two in the Primonetta: Lucky 7 Stables’ Street Lute, a two-time Maryland-bred champion who will make her 2022 debut, and Eric Rizer’s Princess Kokachin, who has 10 wins in 16 starts and defeated Kaylasaurus by three-quarters of a length in their last meeting March 13. Xavier Perez, who has exclusively ridden both fillies for Robb, was named on both fillies at time of entry.

The one-mile Henry S. Clark drew a field of seven including the undefeated Chez Pierre, who won his first three races in France in 2020-21 and was victories in his United States debut March 9 at Tampa Bay Downs for owner Lael Stables and trainer Arnaud Delacour. The 4-year-old Mehmas gelding, who has won on soft, heavy and firm grass courses, will be ridden by Daniel Centeno, who was aboard at Tampa.

Maryland-bred turf champion Field Pass, a multiple graded-stakes winner based at the Churchill Downs Training Center with trainer Mike Maker, hasn’t raced since a 10th-place finish in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational at Gulfstream Park Jan. 29. Victor Carrasco, who piloted Field Pass to victory in the Grade III Baltimore Washington Turf Course last year at Pimlico Race Course, is named to ride the 5-year-old Lemon Drop Kid horse. Field Pass is owned by Three Diamonds Farm.

A field of 12 has been entered for the one-mile Dahlia. Though Deciding Vote, a 5-year-old Mr. Speaker mare, has not competed in a stakes, she has run very well on the Laurel turf course in all of her outings and has been prepping at Fair Hill Training Center for her 2022 debut. Angel Suarez, back in the Mid-Atlantic region after riding in Louisiana this past winter, has the call for owner-breeder William Pape and trainer Edward Graham.

Trainer Brittany Russell has entered a pair of fillies owned by Respect the Valleys LLC. Adelaide Miss and Out of Sorts (Jevian Toledo named on both fillies at time of entry) spent the winter in Louisiana competing in stakes. Both of them have posted strong efforts on the turf at Pimlico but have not competed on the grass at Laurel.

With one race in books for the 2022 MATCH Series, the leader is Perrine Time Thoroughbreds and Blue Lion Thoroughbreds’ Disco Pharoah, who won the Frank Y. Whiteley Stakes (3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Dirt division) at Laurel April 16. After a break in May, the second leg of the MATCH Series will be held in Pennsylvania June 14 at Parx (turf races) and June 17 at Penn National (dirt races).