WILKES-BARRE PA – The Game Of Claims Pacing Series barreled right along at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday afternoon, with the second preliminary round for $25,000- and $15,000-base-priced horses yielding only two repeat winners, one at each level, but seeing 24 more horses change hands to the tune of $538,875.
The repeat winner at the higher level, which here went for a $27,500 base tag in the progressively-priced prelims, was the Changeover gelding Glengarry Knight N, who took one of the seven $25,000 cuts for his group in 1:54.2 for driver Simon Allard. Trainer Eric Ell and owners Ken Wood, Toby Rekoon, Bill Dittmar Jr., and Steve Iaquinta had retained their pacer after the first prelim, but they lost him to a claim here after the front-end triumph.
Before leaving the $25,000 base-priced brigade, mention should be made of the Mach Three gelding Tullow N, who paid $69.80 in closing from fifth at headstretch to win in 1:54.1 when the surface was still good for trainer David Russo and owner Marissa Russo. Driving Tullow N was Eric Goodell, who had taken a hiatus from the sport from last March until last Saturday’s opening day here, and soon found himself back in Victory Lane.
Among the $15,000-base prices, going here for a $17,500 tag before allowances in five $15,000 divisions, the horse making it two straight was the Delmarvalous gelding Fernado, used hard early by driver Matt Kakaley yet holding firmly late to stop the timer in 1:54.2 for trainer Jennifer Bongiorno and owner Evan Katz, However, they, like the connections of fellow repeater Glengarry Knight N, had retained the pacer last week but now saw their horse depart to a different barn after a claim.
In all, eight of the twelve winners in the Game Of Claims races Saturday changed hands despite the uptick in price – and now comes the drama of whether to put them back in next Saturday in the third prelim, or hope their accumulated pointtotals have already earned them a spot in their respective $50,000 and $30,000 finals on March 6.
The driving Napolitano brothers, Anthony and George Jr., and trainer Dan Maier each had three winners on the Saturday card.
Racing resumes Sunday at 5 p.m., with Game Of Claims action for $10,000 and $7500 horses; free past performances for the card can be found at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. A makeup card has also been added for Monday at 12:30 p.m.