WILKES-BARRE PA – The competitive nature of the various Game Of Claims Series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono was again made clear Monday in the third and final prelim of the events for $10,000 and $7500 base-priced claimers – only one of the winners in eight GOC races (three $10,000 sections of the upper class and five $7500 splits of the lower one) was able to add a second Series triumph to his resume.
The repeater did not come from the upper claimers, which in the progressively-priced series were tagged Monday for $15,000, although two of them appeared almost mirror images of each other: they both were driven by Jim Morrill Jr.; they both overcame post eight; they both were making their debuts for their barns after a claim; and those barns get to keep them after no claims of them were put in. Nihilated Truth was parked almost to the three-eighths for the lead yet still went on to win in 1:54.4, while Rogue Cheddar was able to sit a pocket journey and then pounce up the inside to win in 1:55.2.
In the $7500 action, with the base price progressing to $11,000, Matt Kakaley scored two winners before midcard before heading up the road to drive free-for-allers at Yonkers. A memorable win came with Somwherenbrookln N, as his 1:55.2 triumph was the 1000th career training victory for Clay Faurot Jr.; Matt also won with Spinout in 1:57 in his first start after a claim.
The repeat GOC winner was Sammy The Bull N, who is actually 2-for-2 in this Series company; after an even fifth against the $10,000s, he was dropped to the $7500 level and won again, here in 1:55 for driver Jim Morrill Jr. (who tied with Marcus Miller for the day’s honors with three sulky successes).
“Sammy” went to a new location after this race through a claim, as did Devisser, a Saratoga shipper who was along in time in 1:55.2 for Anthony Napolitano (in all, eight horses were claimed Monday for $96,000). The other sectional winner was Mr Big Load, who came a long way in the end stages to win in 1:55.1 for Jim Pantaleano.
The draw for Pocono’s next card, this Saturday afternoon, was held Monday morning, and the two Game Of Claims Championships should prove tough handicapping nuts to crack, so full of winners as they are. The $40,000 final for $25,000 base-tag horses shows every entrant a winner in series preliminaries, with five of them two-time winners; the story is similar in the $25,000 Championship for $15,000-priced horses – all won during the prelims, three of them twice. Program pages for the excellent Saturday card will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.