It doesn’t always take great scores to put you at the top of the class.
Kroger achieved the feat with two Cs, two Ds and an F. Of course, he was in higher education’s answer to a bottom-level claimer. But even when in against top competition, sometimes a modest score can get you where you want to be. That was the case last weekend at HorseTourneys.
If Dean Wormer were to call Dennis Spero into his office, he might say something like: “Mr. Spero…$73.60. Congratulations, Mr. Spero, you are at the top of this weekend’s HorseTourneys class.”
That’s because the $73.60 he tallied in our final Treasure Island NHC First Chance/Last Chance qualifier represented the highest score posted by anyone in our Saturday or Sunday featured tourneys. Dennis was one of 15 First Chance/Last Chance winners that day and, for the record, there was a remarkable total of 112 entries won to this event during the several weeks we ran qualifiers. We wish them—and all of the many HorseTourneys NHC qualifiers the best of luck this week in Las Vegas.
Michael Cennerazzo only registered two wins and three places—good for $68.00–on his 12-race scoresheet for Saturday’s $15,000 Guaranteed event. What was that worth? The first prize of $7,000! Rick Broth cashed for $3,500 as the runner up with a score of $65.20.
And when Broth used the same picks in our Horse Player World Series full-package qualifier, that $65.20 was sufficient to earn first place and an HPWS package, along with second-place finisher Mark Ansley .
Meanwhile in Saturday’s Wynn Handicapping Challenge qualifier, $61.40 was the winning total for Tom Michalczewski—good for a $2,000 entry to the prestigious summer tournament.
Shorter-priced horses were the order of the day again on Sunday, which meant another day of modest-looking winning scores.
The top score of Sunday’s featured games was the $70.60 put up by Robert Buck, who won a Horse Player World Series entry along with Israel Wisener ($62.60) and Ed Peters ($52.20).
On Friday, January 13, Vince LaRocco needed $91.80 to capture our $6,000 tourney. Last Sunday, he required just $65.80 to take the $4,000 first prize in our $8,500 game (with a special, increased purse) over Peter Behr ($57.00)
If, at the beginning of the day, Behr knew he would tally just $57.00, perhaps he wouldn’t have entered multiple tourneys with his set of Pick & Pray selections. (Or maybe he wouldn’t have played at all.)
But he didn’t know that, and it’s a good thing because it turns out that the same score of $57.00 made him our third winner so far this year of a coveted, all-inclusive berth to The BIG One. He joins Joel Wincowski and Howard Welsh as BIG One qualifiers to date.
It took an Exacta Box tourney to get a winning score up into lofty, three-digit territory. That distinction was earned by Paul Mahre ($110.60) who hit four exactas from 12 three-horse-box plays to garner the $600 first place money in our $1,500 Guaranteed game.
Obviously, winning scores are—first and foremost—a function of the odds of winning horses that come in on a given day…especially in mandatory-race tourneys like ours. So the achievements of this weekend’s winners should in no way be diminished by their totals. Some days a course just plays harder than other days.
However, the events of Saturday and Sunday do, perhaps, provide inspiration to those who think they absolutely have to kill it in order to do well in our events. On the contrary, sometimes good is plenty good enough.