WILKES-BARRE PA – Amidst mid-card flurries on a cold Saturday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the first two Championships of the Game Of Claims Series – with a purse of $40,000 for $25,000 base-tag pacers and $25,000 for $15,000-priced sidewheelers – were conducted over “good” going, with red-hot driver Matt Kakaley accounting for both finales.
The higher-purse Championship saw the improved Western Ideal ridgling Go West Go Fast overcome the outside post eight with ease, posting a snappy 1:51.4 victory for driver Kakaley and the connections of trainer Jared Bako and Buck N Tuck Stable, who are now two-for-two with their recent acquisition. Kakaley made two early moves to take control of the tempo by the three-eighths, then buzzed his horse home in :27.2 to leave Caviart Max a non-threatening 1 1/2 lengths behind and promise brighter things in the pacer’s near future.
The track was still rated “fast” when a $25,000 winners-over trot was won by Eurobond, a son of Love You who lost a three-race win streak to a break last time, but bounced back here with a late move that got him by pacesetting Big Oil by a half-length in 1:53.3. Eurobond, now a winner of $443,525, was handled by Matt Kakaley for trainer Michael Spaccarelli Jr. (a combining of the meet’s winningest driver and trainer) and Morrison Racing Stables.
In all Matt Kakaley swept the features and won four times, raising his figure to 43 visits to Victory Lane in the first twelve days of the meet.
Sunday’s 5 p.m. card at Pocono will feature four divisions of the third and final preliminary of the Game Of Claims Series with base-tag $15,000 trotters. There have been no repeat winners in the six GOC races contested to date, but all six winners are back in to go as they seek to claim spots in the $25,000 Game Of Claims Trotting Championship on Sunday, April 3. Program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.