Two weekends ago, Basking Ridge, New Jersey’s Howard Welsh won $40,000 in our $100,000 guaranteed tournament. Last weekend he scored back-to-back victories on in our $25,000 and $15,000 guaranteed games. But the 53-year-old financial planner was “only” 17th best out of 100 in Saturday’s $25,000 tourney. Was his hot streak finally over?
Fat chance. He entered Sunday’s $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, and though he didn’t win…
…he still earned $1,000 for his fine 5th-place finish behind $7,000 winner Charles Browning. And Welsh used those very same picks in Sunday’s NHC Super Qualifier even though that contest was a live-format game rather than a Pick & Pray.
Format, shmormat. For the third straight weekend, Welsh (Twitter handle: @Starks43) was the winner of a featured tourney. Perhaps player John Gaspar summed it up best on Twitter.
Fortunately for Gaspar and everyone else, Welsh only played a small number of featured tourneys and Belmont-only contests.
One of the very best individual performances of the entire weekend came on Friday in HorsePlayer’s Low Ratio BCBC qualifier.
Ernest Hey Jr. made like Pine Tree Lane out of the starting gate and hit five of the first six races to open up an insurmountable lead and romp home first. With only one exception, his winners were not chalky either—6-5, 4-1, 8-1, 32-1 and 5-1. His score of $140.20, compiled in just 10 races, was higher than anyone else managed this weekend in 12. In this tourney, he finished $42.40 of his nearest pursuer. Fortunately for Lawrence Kahlden—who WAS that nearest pursuer—this was a two-seat qualifier so Hey and Kahlden each won $10,000 entries.
Kahlden, meanwhile played those same picks in Friday’s $6,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray that finished with a pot of $7,566.
This time, Kahlden’s $97.80 was good for first place, and in this instance, $3,783. His winners came at a different juncture than Hey’s. Kahlden had three winners, at 7-2, 32-1 and 5-2, and he bunched them smack dab in the middle of the 10-race contest to wrest control of the race around the far turn.
Saturday’s highlight was the aforementioned $25,000 tourney in which Howard Welsh came in 17th. But let’s not forget to give proper credit to the sharp-eyed handicapper who won the $12,500 top prize—eye doctor Anthony Trezza.
Although he is still smarting from the lack of new business generated by the recent lunar eclipse (despite media promises to the contrary), Trezza has been on a roll of late. He had six winners in this tourney, including five in a row. And his good fortune continued elsewhere on the Saturday featured schedule.
Congratulations to Trezza and to his fellow winners Robert Traynor (1st) and George Chute (3rd…and also 3rd in the $25K) in this HorsePlayers BCBC Super Qualifier. And check out those margins between the top three. It was like an off-the-turf race in the slop at Belmont. Larry, Moe and Curly could have been the placing judges for this one.
Elswhere at HorsePlayers on Saturday, Kerry Bassore was the big winner in the day’s regular BCBC qualifier.
And honorable mention to Thomas Labordo, Charles Lockhart, Matthew Rentze and Peter Dresens who each won $2,500 partial BCBC entries.
Back at HorseTourneys, Saturday’s regular NHC qualifier was a bit of an oddity. With 128 entries, it had the most signups of any Saturday featured tourney. And yet it had the lowest winning score of any of the featured games.
Jose Raphael will happily take it, though. And deservedly so. He had Swiss Minister in the last contest race (the 7th at Santa Anita) to vault into first place and win that NHC seat. Dave Nichols also won a seat, finishing just 50 cents behind Raphael.
(Incidentally, could there be a more Cal-bred-sounding name than Swiss Minister? Only Mane Yodeler could come close.)
Sunday saw a lot of exciting action to go along with the now customary Howard Welsh heroics. Things weren’t looking to good for Jeff Einardt late in Sunday’s regular NHC qualifier.
But then he swept the “late pick 3” by hitting winners of 8-5, 7-1 and 5-1 in the last three races to elbow his way to the top. He and college administrator Joel Wincowski each got their tickets punched to the NHC.
One of the benefits of online play, as opposed to brick-and-mortar games, is that you can be ill and not have to miss a tournament—or infect any of your opponents. Not only did flu sufferer Jon “Hurricane” Hurd not get anyone else sick…
…but he mustered just enough strength to type out six winning exactas on his keyboard from 12 races and claim the top prize of $1,146 in Sunday’s $2,000 Guaranteed Exacta Box tourney that finished with a final pot of $2,292.
Nick Fazzolari (this year’s Wynn champion) was a hard-luck third behind Jeff Einhardt and Joel Wincowski in the NHC qualifier. No such hard luck in our first qualifier for the 2018 Aqueduct Challenge.
Congratulations to Nick, Vito Bucaria and Edward Reidy who’ll all be venturing to beautiful Ozone Park, N.Y. on November 18 with $500 entries in their hip pocket.
There was another “first chance” qualifier on Sunday…for the Hawthorne Fall NHC Super Qualifier.
Here it was Dan Weisenburger and Robert Flaska who got their entry fees paid (to the tune of $800) for the November 24-25 Chicagoland event.
The HTR handicapping software must have had a good day on Sunday…
…because HTR proprietor Ken Massa came in first by a wide margin in the day’s Horse Player World Series qualifier. Larry LaTour will join Massa at the three-day extravaganza at The Orleans.
Few HorseTourneys players have been as hot as as Stephen Diaz.
Sunday he scored his fourth featured tourney win since September 15 by finishing first in our Gulfstream Caribbean Classic Betting Championship qualifier. (Previously Diaz had won a seat to the Del Mar Fall Classic and two to the NHC.)
Last but not least, we had a blanket finish in our HorsePlayers BCBC Low Ratio qualifier on Sunday.
Fortunately we had just enough entries to award three $10,000 prizes, and that meant that Jeffrey Schmitz, Gary Blair and Jeffrey Ward were all tangibly recognized for their outstanding handicapping performances.
Whether your handicapping last weekend was outstanding, fair to middling, or woefully subpar, we’re glad that you decided to play with us. Have a great week ahead.