Puhich in Catbird Seat, Holds Top 2 Places Entering Final Day of HPWS

It was hard to imagine Peter Puhich improving on his Day 1 performance when his two entries finished Thursday in 3rd and 7th places. But that’s just what the Renton, Wash., resident did on Friday—registering the second highest Day 2 total on one of his entries, and doing well enough on his other to finish the day occupying the first and second positions in the overall standings.

(Contrary to intuition, Puhich’s feat of having the top two spots heading into Day 3 is NOT unprecedented at the HPWS, according to tournament director Debbie Flaig. She believes that John Connolly did that a few years ago, and possibly one other has also completed a two-day “exacta”.)

Puhich finished the day with his entries accounting for 2,520 and 2,334 points, respectively. Third is John Menegon with 2,194; fourth is Joseph Karabaich with 2,012; and fifth is Jorge Cruz Aedo with $1,953.

The highest ranked of the 165 entrants to qualify via HorseTourneys is Day 1 leader Brett Wiener (1,900), who will start Saturday in sixth place. In seventh is fellow HorseTourneys qualifier Ed Peters whose total of 1,768 came largely on the strength of the 1,552 points he earned Friday—the highest Friday-only score of the day.

Sitting in eighth position is HorseTourneys qualifier Steven Nemetz (1,732.60). He is followed by Bonnie Simmonds (1,710) in ninth and Mike Wondka (1,694.80) in tenth.

Counting 11th place contestant Wendy Long, four of the top 11 in the standings are HorseTourneys qualifiers.

Not among the HorseTourneys qualifiers is Peter Puhich. In fact, not a lot is known about him. He was virtually unseen in the tournament ballrooms on Friday and failed to appear even when an announcement was made late Friday afternoon requesting him to report to the contest desk.

Willing to hide behind every bush to smoke out a good story, HorseTourneys did run into Puhich late Thursday night/Friday morning during a chance encounter at the standings board in the race book. That’s how we know he is from Renton, Wash. An affable gentleman who appears to be in his mid-50s, he admitted that he is not a frequent contest player, but he enjoys the HPWS and purchased two entries into this year’s event.

“I’m on such a rush right now,” a beaming Puhich said Thursday night in the race book, as he stared for minutes on end at his name in the Day 1 standings. “Everything I picked ran great today.”

One can only guess (especially given his lack of visibility) his state of mind heading into tomorrow’s third and final day. Whatever one solid level above a “rush” is would probably be it. Stay tuned.

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