Game Of Claims Series Continues At Pocono

Nob Hill Flash
Published: March 4, 2024 11:38 pm EST

The entire Monday, March 4 afternoon's 14-race card at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania was devoted to first preliminary round action of the Game Of Claims Series for two divisions -- $13,514 races for $20,270 base-priced pacers and $10,135 events for $10,135 base-tagged pacers, both seven divisions strong. The competitive contests had 28 horses changing hands for a total outlay of $471,284, as owners try to buy horses capable of making their rich championships. 

On Monday, Pocono’s top drivers were defending champion Matt Kakaley with four visits to Victory Lane and Anthony Napolitano with three. Kakaley and “Anthony Nap” were joined by the latter’s brother, George, with double successes in the $20,270-priced races, each having at least one winner in this section claimed. Both Anthony Napolitano-driven success stories changed barns: the fastest winner on the day, Nob Hill Flash, who rallied from off a hot pace to get home first in 1:52.3 while equalling a lifetime mark, and Shazam Blue Chip, who used speedy tactics to report home first in 1:53.2.

The winning Kakaley claimant was Ithaca Hanover, a 1:55.1 winner from a trailing post nine – this year’s series allows racing from the second tier spot for the first time in recent Pocono memory – with D J Seelster also a winner for Kakaley in 1:53.2. George Napolitano Jr. sat behind the barn changer Sharky Bear (1:54.2); Musical Box was not haltered, but he equalled his lifetime best of 1:53 for George Napolitano Jr. The other winner at the $20,270 level was the longest-priced winner ($40.20) on the day, Johnny Chip, unclaimed in his 1:55 triumph for driver Jim Pantaleano.

As noted, Kakaley doubled in the $20,270 class, and he also got home first twice in $10,135 company: with Clouseau Hanover in 1:55.2, and the fastest winner for the lower tag (1:53.2), Rock King Deo, trained by Jacob Fox, the only other horseman to double within the $10,135 races, as he later sent out Charlies Dragon, home first in 1:55 as handled by Ridge Warren.

The only $10,135 winner haltered out of his race was Thatswhatisaid (driver Simon Allard), who said farewell to his own surroundings in 1:55. Also successful in this company were another Pantaleano-driven longshot, Lord Of Misrule ($27.20; 1:56.4), along with the other winner for Anthony Napolitano, Team Mac (1:55.2), and Rockin Medicine (Marcus Miller, 1:55.4).

The claiming box will be much quieter on Tuesday afternoon’s 1 p.m. card, with no claiming races scheduled (one starter allowance trot has two horses in for a tag). Featured will be a trio of $20,270 races for developing horses: one for trotters, one for female pacers and one for male pacers. Free Pocono programs are available at the PHHA website.

(PHHA / Pocono)

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