- Published: Sunday, 01 July 2018 10:02
Horses based or bred in Maryland have put in strong showings during the first two rounds in the five divisions that make up the 2018 MATCH Series.
As of July 1, the overall leader by points with 17 was Adam Staple and Jalin Stable’s 8-year-old Pennsylvania-bred gelding Page McKenney, who is trained at Pimlico Race Course by Mary Eppler. Oak Bluffs, an 8-year-old New Jersey-bred gelding owned and trained by Eppler, was second with 15 points.
Maryland-bred Lewisfield, who was bred and is owned by Linda Zang of Maryland and trained by Jeff Runco, was third with 12 points. They all have one thing in common: Each raced in the first two stakes in their respective division and also top the standings in their respective “state-bred” division, separate bonuses for which will be paid to breeders and certifiers from participating organizations.
July marks an important point in the four-month-long series, because in order for a horse and its connections to qualify for a share of the $450,000 in bonus money, it must participate in at least three MATCH Series events. Bonus points are then awarded for horses that participate in four or all five races in each division.
Page McKenney won the grade III, $100,000 Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park May 26 and returned to the New Jersey track June 30 to finish second in the grade III, $100,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes; Oak Bluffs finished third in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint May 18 and then won the $150,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup June 2; and Lewisfield finished third and second, respectively, in the grade III, $150,000 Maryland Sprint Stakes May 19 and the $75,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes June 17. Page McKenney competes in the 3-Year-Olds and Up Long—Dirt Division, Oak Bluffs in the 3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint—Turf Division and Lewisfield in the 3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint—Dirt Division.
Horses in each MATCH Series race earn points accordingly: 10 for first, 7 for second, 5 for third, 3 for fourth, 2 for fifth, and 1 for sixth through last. Bonus points, which are awarded regardless of finish position, are 5 for a fourth start in a series race and 7 for a fifth start. The owners and trainers of the top three horses (by points) in each of the five divisions will earn bonus money. For owners: $20,000, $15,000 and $10,000. For trainers: $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000. The owner and trainer of the overall top points-earning horse will get $50,000 and $20,000, respectively.