The male 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 pacing distaffs kicking off on Sunday (March 8).
The Napolitano brothers drove the winners of the two $10,000 divisions of the first preliminary, 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 final in three weeks, they’ll have to pony up some money as the winner was claimed for the $12,000 price, mares getting their standard 20 percent price allowance. (And the base price goes up a bit each week in the Game of Claims preliminaries).
Brother George’s 1:54.3 winner in the other first round preliminary, 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.
Original source credited to: ustrotting.com