WILKES-BARRE PA – The third and final preliminary leg for Game Of Claims Series pacers carrying basic pricetags of $30,000 and $20,000 respectively on Saturday as The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono finally caught a break in the weather after two series’ postponements, and the action on the racetrack and at the claiming box should ensure competitive fields for the two series’ Championships next Saturday.
Four previous Game of Claims winners met in one of the six divisions for higher-priced horses ($20,000 purses), with one of them, Go West Go Fast, proving an easy wire-to-wire winner in 1:52.1 for driver Matt Kakaley, who kept up his early-season Pocono heroics with seven winning drives Saturday, trainer Jared Bako and the Buck N Tuck Stable. Bako and Buck N Tuck claimed this horse out of his last start, and were able to bring him home to their barn after the race.
The three fastest winners after Go West Go Fast all moved to a different barn after their successes: Lincoln James (driver Anthony Napolitano), two-for-two since coming from Florida and in the GOC after a 1:52.2 score; Western Tyrant (Jim Pantaleano), a double winner after being taken out of the first prelim, in 1:52.3; and Won Last Feeling, overcoming a month layoff to be a double series winner with a 1:53 win for Kakaley. The other winner, Shamma Lamma (George Napolitano Jr.) in 1:53.3, was not claimed.
In the five races for $20,000-priced horses, going for $12,500, the fastest winner, Legal Power, also went faster than any of the higher-priced events, roaring to a 1:51.3 lifetime mark. Unfortunately for his old connections, Legal Power, now undefeated in two series starts, was the only winner for this price tag to be taken Saturday via the claiming box. In all, eighteen horses worth $460,000 were claimed during this card, running the yearly totals at Pocono to 128 claims for $2,360,625.
The only other horse in this section to post a second GOC victory was Classifiedmaterial (Kakaley, 1:53), winning immediately for new connections. Both of these horses won by open lengths, as did Killer Martini (Kakaley, 1:54.2); the other two successful horses at this level both won by a nose: Needless To Say (Simon Allard, 1:53.3) and Casino Bags Anso (Kakaley, 1:55.3).
Kakaley now has 31 victories during the nine cards at Pocono in 2022 (including the two Mondays when he left early to honor commitments at Yonkers), and is winning at a 30% clip over the mountain oval.
There will be racing on Sunday at Pocono, with the 5 p.m. 15-race card featuring the second prelim of the Game Of Claims event for $15,000 base-priced trotters. Program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.