Wilkes-Barre, PA — Two $20,000 claiming handicap pacing contests were the top events on the Sunday (June 23) card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
In the first Atta Boy Dan, long a top-level fixture at The Meadows, has shifted eastward and kept up his prowess, winning the first division of the big claimer in 1:50.2 while controlling the throttle for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Mike Watson, and owner Clifford Grundy. A winner four times in seven starts at Pocono, Atta Boy Dan has also been claimed four times for the $40,000 local record price tag, including out of this event.
The Rocknroll Hanover gelding Rock The Town came to Pocono 0-for-2019 after 12 starts, but has since posted a 7-4-2-1 tally, including matching his mark of 1:50.4 in this section while leading most of the way. The team behind Rock The Town Sunday was driver Tyler Buter, trainer Hunter Oakes, and the Northfork Racing Stable, but Rock The Town was claimed for $40,000 for the third time this meet, ironically going to owner Clifford Grundy, who lost Atta Boy Dan for $40,000 about two hours earlier.
That ended the claiming activity for the night. In all, there were ten horses going to new barns after $282,750 changed hands, with five of the claims coming out of the two high-price paces. Sunday’s money raises the total amount paid for claimers 56 cards into the meet over the $5 million mark.
In the condition ranks, the ranking event was a $17,500 trot, with Blenheim established as a 1-5 favorite while dropping in class. Blenheim cut the pace after a quarter-move, but sitting on his back was Quality Kemp, a shipper from The Meadows coming in with three straight wins. That son of Muscle Hill went by the heavy chalk in the shadow of the wire, with a head advantage at the finish in 1:54, just a tick behind his mark, taken in his last race. Andy Rickert trains the sharp trotter for the Murdock Racing Stable.
The meet’s leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., furthered his dominant position in the local ranks by guiding five horses to victory on the Sunday card.