Day At The Track

Mares begin Game Of Claims Series

02:35 PM 09 Mar 2020 NZDT
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Harness racing
The Napolitano brothers, George (left) and Anthony each had winners in the mare Game Of Claims Series
Curtis Salonick photo

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The male harness racing pacers had their Game Of Claims Series opportunities early in the meet at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono; starting this week, pacing mares and trotters will start their series, with the sidewheeling distaffs kicking off on Sunday.

The Napolitano brothers drove the winners of the two $10,000 divisions of the first prelim, for $10,000 base-price horses, with Anthony guiding the Hypnotic Blue Chip mare Melanie's Filly right to the top en route to a 1:54 victory. But if trainer Daniel Maier and owner Antonia Storer want to see this mare racing for them in the $20,000 Championship event in three weeks, they'll have to pony up some money - as the winner was haltered for the $12,000 price, mares getting their standard 20% price allowance. (And the base price goes up a bit each week in the Game Of Claims prelims.)

Brother George's 1:54.3 winner in the other first round prelim, the Rockin Image mare Summer Rock, also will not be returning to the connections of trainer Robert Lounsbury and owner Robert Main - such is the competitive nature of Pocono horsemen, especially with the prospect of a shot at big money just down the line. In all, four of the mares in the series were claimed, with six claims total on the night, for $70,500.

High-level trotters rounded out the Sunday Pocono action in a $17,500 contest, with a four-across-the-wire finish going to Presidente Zette, a son of Muscle Hill, who was just up in 1:54.3 for driver Jim Marohn Jr. and trainer/owner Cozette McAvoy. Presidente Zette won by a head, while a long photo separated the closely-placed noses of Two AM, Volare, and Broadway Mojo in that order.

A pair of victorious mares worth noting are the McArdle veteran Lispatty, who won her 2020 debut in 1:52.4 to boost her lifetime bankroll to $918,485, and the Kikikolt distaff Blackwell Ruby IR, who started her career on the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean but has kept her winning ways, as she is now 5-for-6 this year and 11-for-15 lifetime after also winning in 1:52.4.

From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

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