WILKES-BARRE PA – The annual winter series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the Game Of Claims Series, gets underway this Saturday afternoon at the northeast Pennsylvania oval, with two pacing sections contesting the first of three preliminary legs to see which horses can earn their way into their rich series finals on Saturday, March 12.
Starters in each preliminary leg earn 25 points, and then their order of finish gets them an additional 50-25-12-8-5-4-3-2-1 points. The top pointearners among the $25,000 base-tag horses will go for $40,000 in their final, with the $15,000 base-tag horses chasing a $25,000 bounty. Of course, horses can be claimed out of each start in the series (the base price goes up fractionally in each leg), and top horseflesh will be eagerly pursued by owners and trainers via the claiming box.
Matt Kakaley, who was the hot driver during the opening card with five victories, is listed on two of the favorites among the $15,000 horses: Parklane Jet, who has been closing up a storm and who will certainly welcome post two after beginning from posts 7-7-9-8-8-9 in recent trips behind the gate, is his horse in race 4, while in race 13 on the 15-race card, Matt will guide My Friskie Boy, facing slightly better opposition after a nice front-end victory on the opening card here.
The Game Of Claims series also has upcoming divisions for $7500- and $10,000-base pacers and $15,000-base trotters in February and March.
Also racing on the Saturday card is Western Joe, who was by far the fastest winner last Saturday with a 1:51.4 mile, coming home in :54.2. He steps up and moves out to post seven, but the earner of $900,000+ will start as the early public choice for perennial Pocono top driver George Napolitano Jr., a four-time winner to open the year.
The first Sunday racing of 2022 at Pocono will find a trio of $15,000 featured events for developing horses, with pacing races split by sex, and the third event a trot. Some of the horses in the upcoming Game Of Claims divisions will also be looking to sharpen their form on the Sunday card. Post time is 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and 5:00 p.m. on Sunday; program pages will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.