Day At The Track

Game Of Claims Series Finals held

02:17 PM 02 Mar 2020 NZDT
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Always B Magic, harness racing Charger Blue Chip, harness racing
Always B Magic (on the inside) and driver George Napolitano Jr. beats Naked City by a nose.
Curtis Salonick photo
Charger Blue Chip and driver Jim Marohn Jr.
Curtis Salonick photo

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Two harness racing horses who had been in very sharp form during the preliminaries in their respective Game Of Claims series - Charger Blue Chip and Always B Magic - continued their winning ways right to the throne as the winner of their Championships, with the former taking his $20,000 event for $10,000 base-priced horses and the latter victorious for the $15,000 bounty offered for $7,500-based priced pacers at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs.

Considering he had two wins and a third in his only three seasonal starts, all in the GOC Series, the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Charger Blue Chip was overlooked by the bettors at 9-1, probably because of his difficult outside post nine. But driver Jim Marohn Jr. hustled the quick veteran to command, yielded but was on the retake before the second turn, and from there kept favored Grandpa Don at bay by an easy 2¼ lengths in 1:54.1.

Claimed for $10,000 in the first leg of the series, Charger Blue Chip has already earned $16,200 in just three starts for trainer Marc Mosher and owners Edward and James Hall Jr.

Trainer Susan and co-owner John Marshall may have been denied a Game Of Claims sweep on Sunday with Grandpa Don's second, but earlier they had kept driver Marohn from that same double victory, as their Always A Virgin gelding Always B Magic was always off the pylons throughout the GOC finale, but still dug in to hold off Naked City (Marohn) by a nose in 1:55 for driver George Napolitano Jr.

The timing was good for the connections and the horse. The Marshalls claimed Always B Magic for $9000 out of the second leg, and with two wins and a finals place assured, they kept him out of the third prelim so he wouldn't get claimed - and the week off did nothing to take off his edge. As for Always B Magic, before the Game Of Claims he had amassed a 60-race losing streak, back to June 18, 2018; he then went three-for-three in the series, all the series wins for Napolitano. (Who drove him on June 18, 2018? George Nap, of course!)

Driver Matt Kakaley visited Victory Lane five times on Sunday, three times with a Ron Burke trainee, including the Yankee Glide gelding Max in a $17,500 fast-class trot. Leaving from post six, Max got the entire field in behind him before the quarter, then put in twin :28.2 back splits to win handily in 1:54.3 for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Frank Baldachino.

From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

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