WILKES-BARRE PA – Queen Kendall and Toddler Tantrum were winners in the first week of the Game Of Claims Pacing Series for $10,000-base price horses, but on Monday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, they both had to take a back seat to Whata Treasure, who closed from last to win by 3¾ lengths in 1:53.1 for driver Anthony Napolitano, who topped the local drivers colony with four wins.
Whata Treasure was claimed for $10,000 out of the first leg, and despite the hike in price to $12,500 for the second prelim, he was again taken out of the claiming box on a day where twelve horses changed hands for a total of $132,500. New owner Lawrence Smith will have to decide whether a first and a second in the first two prelims will be enough to make the final, or whether to drop him back in next week and risk losing him before the final on March 28.
Other winners for this tag Monday were two for driver Simon Allard, Ain’t It Fun (1:54.2) and IC A Free Spirit (1:55), and Sanattle Slew (Anthony Napolitano, 1:55.4). All these winners went back home to familiar surroundings afterwards.
The four $7500 purse events which today saw the entrants carrying a $9000 tag (up from the base $7500) also did not yield a repeat visitor to Victory Lane, including the division which brought together first-round winners McLeish and Whata Twist; here they took a back seat to Jamaican Cowboy (driver Braxten Boyd) in 1:55.2. The only winner at this price who will be changing barns is Sammy The Bull N (Anthony Napolitano), who was lowered from the $10,000 horses and was snatched up by Emily Bost and Steve Salerno.
“Sammy”’s 1:54.4 time was the co-fastest win at this level, equal with another Anthony Napolitano winner, What’s Goin On, who was taken last week but not this. The other winner in this company was Sir Gene G Hanover, who was still fifth in midstretch but got the decision in 1:56.1 for driver John Kakaley.
Racing resumes on Saturday at Pocono, with the now-twice-delayed third and final Game Of Claims Pacing Series preliminaries for higher-priced horses constituting eleven of the fifteen races: six $20,000 cuts for horses who will have a tag Saturday of $30,000, and five $12,500 sections for horses who will have a price of $20,000. Each group will try to be earning places in March 26’s rich Championships (provided that the weather cooperates).