Posted: Aug. 4, 2022

By Tom LaMarra

Horses near or at the top of their respective divisions in the 2022 Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships Series (MATCH) are among the more than 130 nominees for the four stakes that make up the fourth leg of the series at Colonial Downs Aug. 16.

The four stakes on the Tuesday afternoon card at the Virginia racetrack are each valued at $150,000. They are the Chesapeake (3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Dirt division), Seeking the Pearl (Filly and Mare Sprint–Dirt division), Buckland (3-Year-Olds and Up Long–Turf division) and Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Old Nelson (Filly and Mare Long–Turf division).

Chesapeake Stakes

St. Omer’s Farm and Christopher Feifarek’s Beren is the division leader with 17 points after a second-place finish in the Chocalatetown Stakes at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course and most recently a victory in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park. The 4-year-old Pennsylvania-bred colt by Weigelia needs one more MATCH Series start to be eligible for bonus money.

Trainer Butch Reid has indicated he plans to run Parx Racing-based Beren at his home track Oct. 3 in the fifth and final leg of the series. Beren was nominated earlier for a $100,000 sprint stakes for Pennsylvania-breds on Pennsylvania’s Day at the Races at Parx Aug. 22 and also is nominated to the six-furlong Chesapeake.

Threes Over Deuces, owned by Pocket 3’s Racing and trained by Gary Capuano, is in a three-way tie for second in the standings with 10 points. The 7-year-old Flat Out gelding has started in the first three legs of his division and already is eligible for bonus money. Should he start in the Chesapeake, Threes Over Deuces would pick up 5 bonus points for a fourth start on top of points earned for finish position.

Disco Pharoah and Ny Traffic, who each have 10 points after winning MATCH Series legs in the division, have been racing in New York and are not nominated to the Chesapeake.

Seeking the Pearl Stakes

Division leader Kaylasaurus, owned by Bush Racing Stable, Liberty House Racing, BlackRidge Stables and George Saufley, is the division and overall series leader with 22 points after three starts and is eligible for bonus money. The 6-year-old Pennsylvania-bred mare by Munnings would earn 5 bonus points on top of points for finish position with a start in the seven-furlong Seeking the Pearl.

Like Beren, Kaylasaurus also is nominated to a $100,000 sprint stakes on Pennsylvania’s Day at the Races. The Tim Kreiser-trained Kaylasaurus in MATCH competition this year has won the Primonetta Stakes and finished second in the Alma North Stakes, both at Laurel, and finished third in the Susquehanna Valley Stakes at Penn National.

CJI Phoenix Group and No Guts No Glory Farm’s Fille d’Esprit, second in the division standings with 12 points, won the Susquehanna Valley and finished fifth in the Alma North after a less-than-ideal trip. The 7-year-old Maryland-bred mare by Great Notion would become eligible for bonus money with a start in the Seeking the Pearl.

Daniel Lopez and George Chestnut’s Chub Wagon, who won the Alma North and is third 10 with points, is a Seeking the Pearl nominee but Lopez after her win at Laurel the 5-year-old Pennsylvania-bred mare by Hey Chub would be pointed to the Aug. 15 Satin and Lace Stakes at Presque Isle Downs & Casino. Chub Wagon is on the Satin and Lace nominations list released Aug. 4.

Buckland Stakes

Mark Grier’s Eons, who won the Buckland in 2021, is nominated this year and leads the division with 20 points after victories in the Bensalem Stakes at Parx and Prince George’s County Stakes at Laurel for trainer Arnaud Delacour. A start in the 1 1/8-mile Buckland, which is expected, would make Eons eligible for MATCH Series bonus money.

Eons, a 6-year-old Giant’s Causeway horse, finished a nose behind English Tavern in the Prince George’s County but the result was flipped after English Tavern was disqualified for interference with Eons. English Tavern, owned by Jerry Romans Jr., Franklin Smith Sr. and trainer Hamilton Smith, is fourth in the division standings with 7 points after one MATCH division outing and is nominated to the Buckland.

Runnymoore Racing’s Beacon Hill, trained by Michael Matz, is third with 8 points and needs one more start to be eligible for bonus money. The 5-year-old Blame gelding finished second only a nose behind Eons in the Bensalem and then checked in sixth in the Prince George’s County as the favorite.

The Delacour-trained Chez Pierre, second in the standings with 10 points after winning the Henry Clark Stakes at Laurel, is not nominated to the Buckland.

Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Old Nelson

William Pape’s Deciding Vote, with starts in the first three legs of her division, leads the way with 20 points and would garner 5 bonus points with a start in the 1 1/8-mile Old Nelson. Deciding Vote, a 5-year-old Mr. Speaker mare trained by Edward Graham, won the Dahlia Stakes at Laurel, finished fourth in the Neshaminy Stakes at Parx and in her last start was second in the Big Dreyfus Stakes at Laurel behind Bellagamba, who also is an Old Nelson nominee.

Stuart Janney III’s In a Hurry (12 points in the division) was second to Deciding Vote in the Dahlia and third in the Big Dreyfus in her two MATCH Series starts. The 5-year-old Blame mare is an Old Nelson nominee as is Timory Ridall’s Tic Tic Tic Boom, a Parx-based mare who became eligible for bonus money in the Big Dreyfus and would earn 5 bonus points if she races at Colonial. The Alan Bedard-trained filly mare has 9 division points and remains in striking range.