Posted: Sept. 27, 2019

By Tom LaMarra

The top three horses by points in this year’s MATCH Series turf sprint division are entered in the final leg Sept. 28 at Monmouth Park, and the championship clearly is up for grabs.

The $100,000 Rainbow Heir Stakes (3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Turf Division) at 5 1/2 furlongs attracted a field of 12 with two on the also-eligible list. It’s one of four MATCH stakes on a 10-race card that begins at 1:15 p.m. EDT at the New Jersey track.

Due to a scheduling issue, the division this year had a pair of two-turn “sprints” at 7 1/2 furlongs. So the Rainbow Heir features an interesting mix as the top three in the division will all be cutting back to one turn.

Stonehedge LLC’s Abiding Star, who leads the division with 17 points after a second-place finish in the Glasgow Stakes at Delaware Park and a victory in the Neshaminy Stakes at Parx Racing, would qualify for MATCH Series bonus money with a start in the Rainbow Heir. The 6-year-old Uncle Mo gelding has three wins and three seconds in eight starts in 2019 and earlier this year finished fourth in a one-turn turf sprint stakes at Belmont Park for trainer Edward Allard.

Robert Bone’s Completed Pass (15 points) has three series starts and two second-place finishes in the 5 1/2-furlong King T. Leatherbury Stakes at Laurel Park and the five-furlong Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. The Claudio Gonzalez trainee trailed throughout in the Glasgow, got some time off, and on Sept. 21 worked at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington, Ky., for his return.

Matthew Schera and Jeffrey Pesot’s Paret, a 5-year-old Harbour Watch gelding with 12 points, was beaten a neck by Abiding Star in the Glasgow and Neshaminy and would qualify for bonus money with a start in the Rainbow Heir. Trained by James “Chuck” Lawrence II, Paret was competitive in turf sprint stakes in his native Australia before his arrival in the United States earlier this year.

Completed Pass would automatically receive 5 bonus points for his fourth MATCH Series start, but the division title still hinges on performance in the Rainbow Heir, which is named for the popular New Jersey-bred turf sprinter who won 14 races, nine of them stakes, and earned $837,395.

The $100,000 Violet Stakes (Filly and Mare Long–Turf Division) at 1 1/16 miles attracted a field of 12 with an also-eligible. It’s a competitive lineup, but for MATCH Series bonus money purposes it’s all about Ballybrit Stables’ Dynatail, who is two-for-two in series competition this year and needs one more start to qualify for the cash and most likely the division championship.

Dynatail, an eight-time winner who has been trained by Monmouth-based Mike Dini for all 30 of her starts, has 20 points in the series. Live Oak Plantation’s Souper Striking, who is second in the division standings, would have to win the Violet–and Dynatail finish worse than fifth–to take the title.

The overall MATCH championship will be decided in the $100,000 Regret Stakes (Filly and Mare Sprint–Dirt Division) at six furlongs as Jim Reichenberg and Cash is King’s Ms Locust Point, the division leader (31 points) trained by John Servis, will face 2W Racing’s Bronx Beauty, who is second (25 points) and based at Monmouth with trainer Anthony Margotta Jr.

The 3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Dirt Division title will go to Hillside Equestrian Meadows’ Laki for a second consecutive year. The Damon Dilodovico trainee is one of eight entered in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes at six furlongs.

The weather forecast for Central New Jersey calls for sunshine and a high near 80 degrees on Saturday. Admission and parking are free at Monmouth for the remainder of the 2019 meet.

Free full-card past performances courtesy of the MATCH Series are available via a link atop the home page.

(Abiding Star defeats Paret at Parx Racing/EQUIPHOTO)