Posted: July 21, 2021

By Tom LaMarra

The 2021 Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships Series (MATCH) will reach the halfway point in two divisions when the series resumes July 31 at Pimlico Race Course.

Three stakes that afternoon have attracted 67 nominations in total. The $100,000 Challedon Stakes and $100,000 Alma North Stakes, both at six furlongs, will be the third of six legs in the 3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint—Dirt division and Filly and Mare Sprint—Dirt division, respectively. The $100,000 Deputed Testamony Stakes at 1 1/8 miles is the second of six legs in the 3-Year-Olds and Up Long—Dirt division.

Undefeated Chub Wagon, the MATCH Series leader by points in her division and the overall standings with 20, is nominated to the Alma North off of a 5 1/4-length victory—the eighth of her career—in the Dashing Beauty Stakes at Delaware Park July 10. If she competes, the Pennsylvania-bred filly by Hey Chub owned by Daniel Lopez and George Chestnut will have three series starts.

No Guts No Glory Farm’s Anna’s Bandit, who finished second to Chub Wagon in the Dashing Beauty in only her second start off of an 11-month layoff, also is nominated to the Alma North as is Hello Beautiful, who fell a neck shy of defeating Chub Wagon in the Shine Again Stakes, second leg of the division, at Pimlico. Owned by Madaket Stables, Albert Frassetto, Mark Parkinson, K-Mac Stables and Magic City Stables, the 4-year-old Maryland-bred filly passed on the Dashing Beauty but is expected to run in the Alma North.

R. Larry Johnson’s Never Enough Time, who finished fifth in the Skipat Stakes and fourth in the Shine Again, is the only other nominee that would make a third MATCH Series start in her division.

Hillside Equestrian Meadows’ Laki, an 8-year-old Maryland-bred who was the 3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint—Dirt division champion in 2018-19 and is in the hunt once again with 9 points, is the only nominee who would make his third series start if he races the Challedon. Special Reserve and Yaupon, the respective winners of the first two stakes in the division, are not nominated.

Hillwood Stables’ 6-year-old Maryland-bred Cordmaker, fourth in the Grade III Pimlico Special, the first stop for his division, is nominated to the Deputed Testamony has been working at the Maryland State Fair at Timonium in preparation. GMP Stables, Arnold Bennewith and Cypress Creek Equine’s Harpers First Ride, 10th in the Pimlico Special, returned to the barn of Claudio Gonzalez after that race and promptly won a 1 1/16-mile allowance event at Pimlico. Should the 5-year-old Maryland-bred continue racing in the series he figures to be a serious factor.

The MATCH Series points structure in each stakes is as follows: 10 for first, 7 for second, 5 for third, 3 for fourth, 2 for fifth and 1 for sixth through last. Bonus points based on number of starts are designed to encourage participation. With six races in each of four divisions this year, a fourth series start is worth 5 bonus points; a fifth start, 2 points; and a sixth start, 3 points, for a maximum of 10.

Entries for the July 31 stakes at Pimlico will be taken Wednesday, July 28. After Pimlico, the MATCH Series moves to Colonial Downs on Aug. 23, when all four divisional stakes will be held on the same day for the first time this year. The Laurel Park fall meet will host two days on which all four divisional stakes will be run.

Alma North nominations

Challedon nominations

Deputed Testamony nominations

(Jim McCue photo)