Posted: Aug. 19, 2019

By Tom LaMarra

The three winners of stakes in the 3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Dirt Division are among the nominees for the fourth leg of the MATCH Series, which shifts to Parx Racing in Pennsylvania Labor Day, Sept. 2.

The Bensalem Stakes, at six furlongs, is one of four $100,000 MATCH Series stakes on the holiday program. The others are the Roamin Rachel (Filly and Mare Sprint–Dirt Division), Neshaminy (3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Turf Division) and Sal DeBunda PTHA President’s Cup (Filly and Mare Long–Turf Division).

The dirt sprint division remains wide open. Hillside Equestrian Meadows’ Laki, who won the Frank Whiteley Stakes, first leg of the division, at Laurel Park has 13 points; Uptowncharlybrown Stud and Godric LLC’s Midtowncharlybrown, winner of the Chocolatetown Sprint at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, has 10 points; and Nancy Lavrich and Ronald Zielinksi’s Altissimo, who collected 10 points after his victory in the Hockessin Stakes at Delaware Park.

All three are nominated to the Bensalem, which has 15 nominations. Laki needs one more MATCH Series start to qualify for owner and trainer bonus money, while Midtowncharlybrown and Altissimo each need two more starts. The final championship leg will be held Sept. 28 at Monmouth Park.

Stonehedge LLC’s Always Sunshine, a Bensalem nominee, finished third in the Hockessin and needs to start in the final two MATCH Series events to qualify for bonus money. He was an easy winner of the Sen. Robert Byrd Memorial Stakes at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in his last start and has a record of three wins, two seconds and two thirds in nine starts at Parx.

The four Parx events attracted 83 nominations in total. Supplemental nominations are accepted at $1,000 and due at time of entry.

The Roamin Rachel, also at six furlongs, attracted 20 nominations including division leader Ms Locust Point, who is owned by Jim Reichenberg and Cash is King and has 24 points based on a win in the Primonetta Stakes at Laurel and second-place finishes in the Penn Ladies Dash at Penn National and Dashing Beauty Stakes at Delaware Park. With three series starts, Ms Locust Point has already qualified for bonus money, and if she starts at Parx, will automatically earn 5 bonus points on top of any earned by finish position.

2W Racing’s Bronx Beauty, who defeated Ms Locust Point at Penn National and Delaware, has 20 points and needs one more start to qualify for bonus money. Steve and Debbie Jackson’s Last True Love is fourth in the standings with 6 points, but the Roamin Rachel would mark her fourth series start and provide 5 bonus points.

Also nominated to the Roamin Rachel is Heider Family Stables, Madaket Stables and Michael Kisber’s Cairenn (third with 8 points), who needs one more start to qualify for bonus money. She fell a nose short of defeating Ms Locust Point at Laurel.

Danny Chen’s Yorkiepoo Princess has made two series starts and has earned 4 points. She is nominated to the Roamin Rachel.

The 3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Turf Division seems to run through Robert Bone’s Completed Pass, who has accumulated 15 points in his three MATCH Series starts and would pick up bonus points with a start in the 7 1/2-furlong Neshaminy Stakes. Three horses each with 10 points (Dirty, Pure Sensation and Parlor) each have won a leg of the division in their lone series start and aren’t nominated to the Bensalem. Square Shooter (6 points), recent winner of a stakes at Laurel, also isn’t nominated; he needs one more start to qualify for bonus money.

Completed Pass also is nominated to the Bensalem. Should he opt for the dirt race, any points earned wouldn’t count toward his turf division total.

Among the 24 Neshaminy nominees are Stonehedge LLC’s Abiding Star, who has one series start and 7 points; Matthew Schera and Orangella Racing Stable’s Paret, one start and 5 points; Emerald Racing Stable’s Nice Tune, one start and 5 points; and Waldorf Racing Stables’ Fielder, one start and 1 point. Pure Sensation, Nice Tune and Fielder are nominated to the Grade III Turf Monster Stakes at five furlongs on the Labor Day program at Parx.

Ballybrit Stable’s Dynatail, one of four tied with 10 points at the top of the Filly and Mare Long–Turf Division, is one of 14 nominated to the DeBunda PTHA President’s Cup at 1 1/16 miles. She needs to start in the final two legs of the division to qualify for bonus money.

Three nominees need one more start to qualify. They are Lorian Francesca Peralta-Ramos’ Quick Witted (6 points), Live Oak Plantation’s Souper Striking (6 points) and Karen Clark’s Unbridled Escape (3 points). There is no maximum number of points required to qualify for bonus money, so three starts may be all it takes in a division in which the leaders have each made only one MATCH Series start.

Bonus money is awarded based on the top three horses in each division: $20,000 for the owner and $15,000 for the trainer for first-place, $15,000 and $10,000 for second-place and $10,000 and $5,000 for third-place. The owner and trainer of the horses with the most points across all four divisions will receive an additional $50,000 and $25,000, respectively.

Points are awarded based on finish position: 10 for first, 7 for second, 5 for third, 3 for fourth, 2 for fifth and 1 for sixth through last. In addition to the 5 bonus points for a fourth series start, a horse that races in all five MATCH Series will pick up an additional 2 bonus points for a total of 7 points.

(Jim McCue photo)