WILKES-BARRE PA – On Monday morning, Horsemen at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will be checking with the Downs’ Racing Office to confirm that their horses – most of them new barn members after Saturday’s third and final preliminary round of the Game Of Claims Pacing Series – had enough points to make their rich finals on Saturday, March 6, and they likely will also be checking the availability of driver Anthony Napolitano, who had six wins Saturday, five in claiming preliminaries.
The horses entered in the section of the Series for $25,000-base price horses saw Melanie’s Tedy become the prelim point leader by virtue of a 1:54.3 triumph over sloppy going, joining Glengarry Knight N and Horsing Around as two-time winners in this class. Glengarry Knight N was second-leading point earner – and Horsing Around, despite his double victories, did not even rank in the top nine horses in the totals, as he skipped the first week, and now has to hope for defections to get in the $50,000 Championship.
The “landing strip” for the $30,000 Championship for $15,000-base price horses is a little bit less congested, as on Saturday Sunset Braydon and Royal Heart (the 2020 series winner for this price) posted their second victories in this class, joining Fernado as two-time winners, and that trio ranking 1-2-3 in points from first-named to last. Royal Heart will get to stay with trainer Travis Alexander for another week after being haltered out of the first two legs, but he is one of only two out of the top nine pointwinners in this class who was not claimed on Saturday.
The unofficial early ranking for this group is Sunset Braydon, Royal Heart, Fernado, Busboy Hanover and Thisjetsabookin (tie), Cash Is King, Just Plain Loco, and Polak A and Shoreview (tie); Best Trick Ever and White Hair Rocks are the AEs.
Obviously the claiming box was rocking and rolling again on Saturday, with 20 horses taken for $537,500 in advance of these finals, bringing the season totals to 117 claims for $2,220,375.
And that’s after just five cards of the 2021 season. Those figures should be added to on Sunday, when the final preliminary for $10,000- and $7500-base price horses will be conducted during a 5 p.m. card, with program pages available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html