Pimlico gets MATCH opener April 18 Expectations again high as 35-race competition enters its second year

March 10, 1998|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Following an inaugural season that boiled down to the last race on the last day, the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships (MATCH) are back this year with 35 races at seven tracks in five states.

Last year, the innovative series made history when, for the first time, track managements and horsemen's groups from different states banded together to create a regional racing competition.

Released yesterday, this year's schedule will be nearly identical to last year's arrangement: seven races in five divisions that will begin April 18 at Pimlico and will end Oct. 3 with finales in each division.

Other tracks involved are Delaware Park, Monmouth Park, The Meadowlands, Philadelphia Park, Penn National and Colonial Downs.

"For a first-year effort, last year exceeded everybody's expectations," said Alan M. Foreman, a Baltimore lawyer and founder of MATCH.

"I expect this year to be even more successful. We're already receiving calls and requests for schedules."

In addition to purses totaling $3,575,000, MATCH is offering $600,000 in bonuses to owners and trainers of horses who earn the most points overall and in each division.

That includes a bonus not offered last year: $150,000 to trainers of the top three finishers in each division.

"We're giving horsemen a road map from April through October for their horses," Foreman said.

Last year, American Champ won the series that became a down-to-the-wire battle with Cat Be Nimble.

The championship meant $120,000 in bonuses to American Champ's owner, Arthur I. Appleton, who lives in Florida, and $40,000 to the horse's trainer, Bob Camac, who was stabled at Delaware Park.

Laurel's week

Post times: Tomorrow through Sunday, 12: 35 p.m.

Simulcast: Monday

Dark: Today

Information: 410-792-7775

Out-of-town simulcasts: For results, scratches, call 410-792-7464.

Pub Date: 3/10/98

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