Match Series Gaining Steam For A Revival

Racetracks and horsemen’s groups in the Mid-Atlantic region have met twice over the past few months in an attempt to fashion a series of races that would lead to the return of the widely acclaimed Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships, commonly referred to as the MATCH Series.

MATCH, created by the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association in the mid 1990s, was last held in 2001. It featured five divisions, each with six stakes at tracks in the region, and offered up to $500,000 in bonus money for participating owners and trainers.

There have been discussions over the years to revive the series, which in its last season offered $3.125 million in purses from existing stakes that were scheduled from mid-April through mid-September. Participating tracks varied from year to year, and horsemen’s groups affiliated with the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association also provided bonus money for MATCH in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

MATCH is based on points accrued via the order of finish in each stakes in the series to encourage participation in as many races as possible. The owners and trainers of the top finishers in each division earn bonus money, as do the overall point-getters.

Discussions thus far have involved six racetracks and their respective horsemen’s groups. Five divisions, each with five stakes, have been identified to maximize participation in the series, which would run from the third weekend in May through the third weekend in September and offer up to $450,000 in bonus money provided by participating horsemen’s groups.

The talks on the MATCH Series have had another benefit in that racing directors and racing secretaries are working to coordinate stakes in the competitive Mid-Atlantic region with a goal of maximizing field size and increasing pari-mutuel revenue for participating tracks.

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