WILKES BARRE PA – The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will be looking for more cooperation from the weather this weekend after losing its opening day card to the aftermath of a snowstorm last Saturday. This weekend the northeast Pennsylvania track is planning to race on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m., with 14 races on each program.
The weekend features will be the opening preliminary rounds of the popular Game Of Claims Pacing Series, where four levels of competitively-priced opponents contest three prelim legs trying to earn their way into a rich Championship on the weekend of March 3-4. On the Saturday card, there will be seven $25,000 divisions of the series for $25,000 base-price claimers and four $15,000 cuts of competition for $15,000-tagged horses. Sunday will see the first prelims for $7500- and $10,000-priced horses.
Royal Heart was the winner of the Game Of Claims Championship for $15,000-valued horses in 2020, and he draws the rail in the sixth race division for horses entered for that price; trainer Clay Faurot Jr.’s horse faces a tough task in that he hasn’t raced in over two months. Nine Ways, no stranger to eastern Pennsylvania, may turn out to be the favorite in this contest, as he ships in off a blazing 1:52 victory against this type at Ohio’s Miami Valley Raceway; he’ll start from post three for trainer Dan Maier.
The draw for the Sunday card will take place Tuesday, with a 9 a.m. closing of the entry box.
FINISHING LINES – The Downs also held its first qualifiers of the 2021 campaign on Monday. The pacer Redbank Blaze A posted the fastest time, 1:53.4, for Pocono’s perennial leading driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Jose Godinez, each had three wins during the morning session. On the trot, P L Notsonice, an Ontario Sire Stakes winner at three, showed herself ready for her four-year-old campaign by winning in 1:57.1 for trainer/driver Renaldo Morales III. … Pocono will hold qualifying races this Wednesday; declare by Tuesday at 11 a.m.