Posted: July 8, 2022

By Tom LaMarra

The Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships Series (MATCH) will reach its midpoint July 16 when Laurel Park hosts stakes in all four 2022 divisions.

The Saturday program will feature the $150,000 Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash (3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Dirt division), $100,000 Alma North Stakes (Filly and Mare Sprint–Dirt division), $100,000 Prince George’s County Stakes (3-Year-Olds and Up Long–Turf division) and $100,000 Big Dreyfus Stakes (Filly and Mare Long–Turf division).

The four stakes attracted a total of 104 nominations pending late mail.

With five series legs this year, the third leg offers those with starts in the first two legs of their respective divisions an opportunity to qualify for bonus money. A minimum of three starts is required.

The bonus money distribution offers up to $92,500 per division and $30,000 for the overall champion by points. For each division, first place pays $30,000 to the owner and $15,000 to the trainer; for second, $20,000/$10,000; and for third, $10,000/$7,500. For the overall champion, the owner receives an additional $20,000 and the trainer $10,000.

The Maryland Horse Breeders Association, Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association and Virginia Thoroughbred Association have each agreed to offer $5,000 bonuses to breeders based on the performances of horses in the series for a potential total of $30,000. Pennsylvania and Virginia will recognized the top male and female state-bred runners by overall points earned, while Maryland will award bonuses to the top Maryland-bred and Maryland-sired runners by overall points earned.

Kaylasaurus, owned by Bush Racing Stable, Liberty House Racing, Blackridge Stables and George Saufley, currently leads the overall standings with 15 points based on a first and a third in the first two legs of the Filly and Mare Sprint–Dirt division. She is expected to compete in the Alma North.

William Pape’s Deciding Vote, who has a first and a fourth in the first two legs of the Filly and Mare Long–Turf division, is second in the overall standings with 13 points. Others with two starts so far in the series include HnR Nothhaft Racing’s Prodigy Doll (9 points in the Filly and Mare Sprint–Dirt division) and Timory Ridall’s Tic Tic Tic Boom (8 points in the Filly and Mare Long–Turf division).

There are six horses with 10 points after one start: Eons, High Opinion, Ny Traffic, Fille d’Esprit, Disco Pharoah and Chez Pierre. At least a few are expected for the Laurel stakes. Eons, Ny Traffic and Fille d’Esprit are nominated to the stakes in their respective divisions.

Expected to make a return to the MATCH Series is Daniel Lopez and George Chestnut’s Chub Wagon, who has 11 wins and one second in 12 career starts. Chub Wagon, who was two-for-two in the Filly and Mare Sprint–Dirt division in 2021 but did not return to the series, won her 2022 debut in a Pennsylvania-bred stakes June 27 at Parx Racing.

Entries for the July 16 program at Laurel will taken Wednesday, July 13.