Day At The Track

Anthony Napolitano scores six-pack

11:20 AM 28 Feb 2021 NZDT
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Melanie's Tedy, harness racing
Melanie's Tedy (#4) and driver Jim Pantalano beat #1 Tullo N
Curtis Salonick Photo

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 harness racing 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 possibility of defections is why everyone will focus on the draw for this Championship so much, in two ways: the series' rules say no owner or trainer can have more than two horses in any single Game Of Claims Championship, and seven out of the top point earners were claimed on Saturday!

The unofficial early listing of the top nine is Melanie's Tedy, Glengarry Knight N, Iammrbrightside N, Captain Nash, Apex Seelster, Union Station and American Rebel (tie), and A Real Miracle and Mississippi Rabbit (tie); Tullow N and Horsing Around are "on the bubble." (Check with the Pocono Race Office for the official final totals.) Only three of Saturday's seven winners are preliminarily on the Championship list; trainer Darren Taneyhill sent out three winners (all guided by ANap), but only Union Station has a decent chance to return.

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.

For full results, click here.

From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

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