Matt Kakaley earns 5,000th driving victory

Wilkes-Barre, PA — Driver Matt Kakaley, a “youthful veteran” of the sport at age 33, recorded the 5,000th victory of his career when he got Traffic Jam home first in the fourth race of Sunday’s (May 2) twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Matt Kakaley is greeted by family and friends after guiding the 5,000th winner in his still-young driving career Sunday at Pocono. Curtis Salonick photo.

Kakaley let the Artiscape mare work her way to the lead at the quarter, rated the pace to the half, then kept her ahead of her pursuers for her second win of the year.

In addition to the 5,000 victories, horses driven by Kakaley have won over $81 million. Kakaley’s best year for victories came in 2008, when he was first 499 times. He guided the winners of over $9 million in 2017, including Kentucky Futurity winner Snowflake Hanover and three $100,000 wins with All Bets Off.

Kakaley also accounted for the $15,300 featured pace for mares, putting heavy favorite Shouldabeenatd on the lead and keeping her pacing strongly — including her own last half in :54.4 — to score in 1:51.3. The daughter of Sweet Lou won her second straight for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. In all, Matt had four victories on the card.

The Monday (May 3) card features a pair of $12,800 trotting contests for the highest-priced claimers at The Downs, with several recent winners looking to extend their current form streaks. Post time is 12:30 p.m.; program pages will be available at the PHHA website.

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