A daring, all-in bet very early in the day propelled Eric Moomey to a lead he maintained throughout the day here on Day 1 of The BIG One at Laurel Park. In Laurel, Md.
The BIG One is a two-day handicapping contest offering $106,000 in cash prizes, plus lucrative berths to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (8) and the National Horseplayers Championship (10).
Moomey, a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force, liked a horse named Warranty in the second race at Belmont Park. Rather than just wager a portion of his $1,000 starting bankroll on the horse, Moomey decided to bet everything on the race that took place less than two hours into the two-day competition.
The high-risk move carried an additional benefit unique to the44-year-old known in contest circles as “The Money Man.”
I’m stationed in New Mexico and my kids live in Virginia, which unfortunately means I don’t get to see them that often,” Moomey said. “When I came across this horse in the second race, I mentioned to my kids that I might be done around 2:00 p.m. And I would have been fine with that. It would have been a ‘win’ either way.”
When Warranty drew off to an easy win in the second—paying $8.40 to win—Moomey’s bankroll quadrupled to more than $4,000.
“I was thinking I might spend part of today and all of tomorrow with them,” Moomey said of his two children. “I guess I’ll just have to find another time soon to come visit them.”
That’s because Moomey will be busy handicapping and strategizing his Day 2 plays.
“I’m real happy with where I’m at,” he said. “I’m going to get a good night’s sleep and plan my strategy in the morning. Today, I was hoping to finish with $3,200 and I re-vectored that total after Warranty won. I upped it to $4,110, which was just an attempt on my part to stay ahead of the takeout on my last nine plays of the day.”
Moomey finished the day with $4,102.25—nearly double that of Greg Lesko who finished the day in second place with $2,059.50. Bruce Pratt ($2,015.50), Tim Darnell ($1,813.50 and Christopher Podratz ($1,561.00) rounded out the Day 1 top five.
Moomey and his 55 opponents are vying for a first place prize of $36,400, plus his final live bankroll total, plus a $10,000 BCBC entry, plus an NHC berth. The top eight finishers will all win BCBC entries and the top 10 will receive NHC seats. Those finishing in 11th through 20th places will win their choice of a Horse Player World Series entry or $1,500 in cash.
The competition resumes tomorrow with all players required to make at least $500 in wagers on races from Laurel Park, Belmont Park, Churchill Downs and Gulfstream Park.
Here is a link to the complete Day 1 Standings: