MATCH Won't Strike This Year; 2003 Series Planned

The seven-month racing series known as Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships (MATCH) will not take place this year because of turmoil in two key racing states.

Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association chief executive officer Alan Foreman, who created the series, said April 24 that uncertainty over stakes schedules in Maryland and racing dates in New Jersey prompted a one-year suspension of the series.

"When you're trying to bring the region together to plan a racing series," Foreman said, "it's absolutely impossible to do the scheduling under the unusual circumstances that exist this year."

This would have been the sixth year for MATCH. It coordinates stakes in various categories at tracks throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Trainers, owners, and jockeys compete for $520,000 in bonuses, and purses for the stakes totaled more than $3.5 million.

"The series had become so successful, that if we had thrown something together this year, we would have taken a step back," Foreman said. "We didn't want to do that. We'll wait and bring it back next year."