Mid-Atlantic Racing Series Gets Another Look

Officials plan a meeting to discuss revitalizing series last held in 2011.

With more stability in racing dates in the Mid-Atlantic region, the chairman of the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association plans to hold a fact-finding meeting to see if there is interest in bringing back the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships racing series.

Alan Foreman, whose THA has affiliates in four Mid-Atlantic states as well as New York, said Sept.6 a meeting this fall will determine whether the idea moves forward. Preliminary talks have indicated interest from some parties, he said.

When last held in 2001, MATCH was a seven-month-long racing series of existing stakes at several racetracks in the Mid-Atlantic region. The races were tied together by division through promotions and bonuses for owners, trainers, and jockeys.

Bonuses were valued at about $500,000 when the series was last held. Purses for the stakes in various divisions totaled about $3.5 million at a time when only two tracks in the region had gaming machines.

"There seems to be more stability now in the region," Foreman said. "We'll be going back to the tracks and horsemen's groups to see if they're willing to put the series together again. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it unless I see a commitment to do this."

There had been years of uncertainty in Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey, all of which participated in MATCH. But tracks in those states appear to have hammered out consistent racing schedules for at least the near future.

In addition, gaming in the region has allowed tracks–Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Parx Racing, for instance–to bolster their stakes schedules and create more races that may lend themselves to a regional bonus series.