Bronx Beauty
Bronx Beauty won the Regret Stakes at Monmouth Park to secure the 2019 MATCH Series title. Photo by Ryan Denver/EQUI-PHOTO.

Anticipation is building as the Mid-Atlantic Championships Series (MATCH) prepares for its return May 14-15 at Pimlico Race Course after a one-year hiatus.

This year’s MATCH Series, to be run at racetracks in Maryland and Virginia only, will extend through Dec. 26, 2021. It will offer 24 stakes valued at $2.75 million and $282,000 in bonus money for owners and trainers.

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There will be six races in each of four divisions: 3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint—Dirt; Fillies and Mares, 3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint—Dirt; 3-Year-Olds and Up Long—Dirt; and Fillies and Mares, 3-Year-Olds and Up Long—Dirt. The minimum purse for all the stakes is $100,000.

The first four stakes in the Series will be held Preakness weekend:

  • $150,000 (Grade III) Allaire DuPont for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles (Friday, May 14)
  • $250,000 (Grade III) Pimlico Special for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles (Friday, May 14)
  • $100,000 Skipat Stakes for fillies and mares at six furlongs (Saturday, May 15)
  • $150,000 (Grade III) Maryland Sprint Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs (Saturday, May 15)

Nominations for all the MATCH Series events at Pimlico close Tuesday, May 4. Horses are nominated to each Series stakes; there is no overall nomination process for the Series.

Owners and trainers will compete for $63,000 in divisional bonuses and the overall MATCH Series champion will net $30,000 in bonuses for its owner and trainer. In addition, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association will pay a $3,000 bonus to the breeder of the top points-earning Maryland-bred and $3,000 for the top points-earning Maryland-sired horse. If the top points-earner is both Maryland-bred and -sired, the breeder would get $6,000.

There will be three days with all four division stakes on the same program: Aug. 23 at Colonial Downs, Sept. 18 at Laurel Park and Dec. 26 at Laurel. The July 4 and July 31 programs at Laurel will each have three MATCH Series races. The remainder will be run on different days.

The complete schedule is available here.

The 2020 MATCH Series, which included eight racetracks in the region, was canceled because of the COVID-19 shutdown. The partners late last year opted not to participate in 2021 because of lingering issues but indicated a desire to offer a full schedule in 2022.