Sometimes you can be so “on” you don’t even need to make all your plays to win a big tourney.
That was the case Saturday for Hesham Ragab, who took the $12,500 top prize in our $25,000 Guaranteed game despite only entering selections for 11 of the 12 tournament races.
A day earlier, Jobby Blevins did make all his allotted plays and earned top money of $3,000 in Friday’s $6,500 Guaranteed game. Tournament fun is always a family affair for Jobby and his wife, Lisa, who delightfully shared their excitement on Twitter.
Meanwhile, it was one of our biggest weekends ever on the Horse Player World Series front.
On Saturday we had five winners of full HPWS packages—Ken Seeman, Wendy Long, Scott Shapiro, Jason Phillips and Richie Bennett.
Then on Sunday, we ran a Horse Player World Series Entry-Only qualifier and crowned six more winners—Jimmie O’Nail, Mike Yurczyk, Edward Lewis, Kirk Tesar, Mark Foss and Patrick Cronin—for a total of 11 HPWS winners during the weekend. We’ll offer a similar slate this coming weekend along with some feeders in the very near future for our Horse Player World Series Blowout qualifier next month.
Our Sunday “co-features”, if you will, were our direct, all-inclusive qualifier to The BIG One, and our increased $8,500 Guaranteed cash game.
It may not have been Patriots-Falcons, but our qualifier for The BIG One did have an exciting finish in its own right.
Heading into the final contest race, Michael Caposio (winner of $50,000 as the final-table 10th place finisher in the recently completed NHC) held a slim $9.80 lead over Steve Arrison. Ironically, both had competed in the 2016 The BIG One, where Caposio finished an excellent 4th after being the leader at the conclusion of Day 1.
For the final race, Race 12 at Gulfstream, Arrison correctly selected the winner, Red Parasol who was sent off at 4-1. However, Caposio made the rather bold move of “protecting” his lead with an 8-1 shot, Arthemisa, who got up late for 2nd. This game would have to be decided in overtime—in the form of the mutuels calculations. Obviously having the winner was in Arrison’s favor—but would a 4-1 win payoff be sufficient to cover what figured to be a discrepancy in place payoffs that figured to favor Caposio?
The answer for Arrison was “No.” He collected $16.00 for the combined win and place…but Caposio’s solid $9.00 place payoff on Arthemisa allowed Caposio to lose the battle yet still win the war.
A tough beat for Arrison, but I have a feeling we have not heard the last from him where the 2017 The BIG One is concerned. And Caposio will be back to Laurel in September, looking to improve on last year’s 4th place finish—which, of course, won him an NHC berth and eventually led him to the Final Table.
The comparative lack of drama in Sunday’s $8,500 Guaranteed tourney and Wynn Handicapping Challenge qualifier can be attributed to one man—Brett Wiener.
The Floridian entered the same selections in each contest and won them both, with a score of $111.80, more than $11 ahead of his nearest foe. However, Scott Rubinchik’s tally of $100.20 was also good for a Wynn entry. And Richard Seidl’s 2nd place score of $95.10 was worth $1,750 in the $8,500 game…not a bad consolation prize.
Last but not least, Laurie Kamenar made hitting exactas look as easy as picking chalk in our $1,500 Guaranteed Exacta game.
Her winning entry (worth $600) selected six winning exactas from 12 races. And her other entry brought home a check in 5th place.
Congratulations to all of this weekend’s winners and thanks to all for playing. Next weekend might even be even more exciting with a 3-seat (at least) NHC qualifier and our first qualifier to The Stronach Group Ultimate Handicapping Challenge both added to the schedule. Hope to see you there.