WILKES-BARRE PA – There were four repeat winners in Saturday’s eight divisions of the second preliminaries of Game Of Claims Pacing Series for $27,500 base-tag horses, but during nine $12,500 divisions of the second-round GOC for $17,500-priced entrants Sunday at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania, only P L Leeroy could post a repeat victory.
P L Leeroy, who changed hands after his first-round success, also will have to go to a new barn after Sunday’s 1:54.1 triumph for trainer Darren Taneyhill and owner Mark Jakubik, but at least that pair made the $6250 purse plus another $2500 for the upped claiming price, minus the week’s expenses. Anthony Napolitano got one of his four winners, high for the day, behind P L Leeroy.
Last week no favorites won in the seven divisions of the first preliminary for this price class, but today six chalk won in the nine divisions, including P L Leeroy and the three other winners who were claimed: Mister Daytona N (1:55.1, driver Anthony Napolitano, changing barns again after being claimed in the first leg as well); Rycroft N (1:54.4, Simon Allard), and Busboy Hanover (1:54.4, Braxten Boyd).
The two other favorites to win in the GOC but not be claimed were Mariner Seelster (1:54.4, Matt Kakaley) and Saulsbrook Raptor (1:56.2, Allard); the other three unclaimed second-round winners were Make Some Waves (fastest of the day at 1:53.4, Allard, after being claimed last week); Cruise Patrol (1:54.4, “ANap”); and Brumby (equaling his life mark of 1:55.1 under Braxten Boyd’s guidance).
In all the 15-race card yielded 12 claims that totaled up to $185,000. After only nine 2023 local cards, over $1.2 million has changed hands via the claiming box.
Longtime Pocono presiding judge Larry Willis is retiring after the Monday card, and the “Farewell Larry Willis Pace” was the $15,000 overnight feature, with the Roll With Joe gelding Bullville Frank benefitting from a clever drive from Braxten Boyd to shoot up the inside late for a 1:53.2 victory. Bay City angled clear to be along for second, 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner, who is trained by Steve Crevani for Crevani Farms.
The March racing week at Pocono ends at Pocono Monday at 1 p.m., with the second Game Of Claims prelim for horses who will carry a $9000 base-tag on Monday, gathered in five $7500 divisions, along with some sharp horses in a $15,000 overnight trot. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.