The three days of featured tourney action last weekend took on distinctly different personalities. One day was dominated by a single player. Another was a low-scoring day that saw many contests come down to the last race. And on Friday, things were sort of all over the map.
It’s not often when you see the high score of the weekend take place on a Friday—since Friday contests typically offer 10 races as opposed to 12 on Saturdays and Sundays.
Thanks to a winning 11-1 shot in the final contest race, Julie Loboyko was one of only two players in a featured win/place game last weekend to amass a score exceeding $100. And, oh yeah, she won herself a well-deserved NHC seat in the process .
While Loboyko saved her best for last at HorsePlayers, Kevin Cox shot first and asked questions later on Friday at HorseTourneys.
Cox blasted out of the starting gate wit a 14-1 winner, then added two more firsts and three seconds from the remaining nine races to rack up a score of $112.80 (ten cents more than Loboyko) and earn himself a $1,500 Horse Player World Series entry.
Like Kevin Cox, Jobby Blevins registered three wins and three places in Friday’s $6,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray that ultimately had a total purse of $9,752.
Blevins’s final score of $90.50 was good for first place and a Friday payday of $4,876 for Blevins. Not bad for a couple of hours’ work.
Scores were lower in Friday’s NHC Last Chance tourney qualifier.
Greg Knepper, Anthony Mattera and Russell Wilkes were the three who most successfully gutted out the hard-fought battle. Each received a $500 entry for the NHC eve event at Treasure Island.
Saturday offered a small but select featured tourney schedule, and the clear star of the day was Steven Meier.
On (technically) the day of the much-reported federal government shutdown, Meier hit cap horse Our Closure in the 9th at Tampa Bay Downs to account for $64.00 of his final total of $100.00. That score held up as the best of 94 and earned Meier the $9,733 top prize in Saturday’s $20,000 Guaranteed game that finished with a total purse of $21,629.
The winning didn’t end there for Meier. Even though the Saturday tournaments were all run in live-format mode, he played the exact same picks in the day’s Horse Player World Series full-package qualifier.
Meier again finished at the top of the heap. Though, here, runner up Brian Johnson and third-place finisher Marc Komins also won the top prize of a HPWS package thanks to the bulky field of 85 entries.
Over at HorsePlayers in the NHC qualifier there, Meier nearly pulled off the hat trick.
Unfortunately for Meier, he did not use one of his $21K/HPWS winners (worth a win-place total of $14.80) in this event, and that left the door open just wide enough for Canadian Steve Nemetz to slip past Meier and claim the coveted Vegas seat. Nemetz had four winners, including the aforementioned Our Closure at Tampa.
Sunday was our busiest day of the weekend with seven featured tourneys, including an NHC Super Qualifier at HorsePlayers.
With 40 entrants, we were able to award a second NHC package and the victorious duo were Steven Turner and Tim Stupka. Turner’s final score won’t set any HorseTourneys (or HorsePlayers) records, but a closer look reveals how hot he really was.
Turner reeled off six winners in a row and seven from the first nine races. (Yes, his scoresheet actually makes it look like Steven hit seven in a row. Though the Tampa races were behind schedule much of Sunday, and their race 9 actually went off after Gulfstream’s race 10. So, by the clock, it was six in a row for Turner rather than seven.)
Turner still had to sweat despite all of those winners—that’s the kind of chalky day it was. And runnerup Tim Stupka really had some anxious moments. His winning margin for the second seat came as a result of his pick in the 4th at Santa Anita getting up for a dead heat to place. The place payoff of $2.20 was miniscule to most—but giant to Stupka.
Getting back to Turner, believe it or not, his streak of six consecutive winners was only the second-longest such streak of the day.
Yes, that’s seven in a row (and again, not eight because of the Tampa “slow down”) for Nathaninel Gines in Sunday’s last-chance qualifier to next Friday’s Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship.
There were no fewer than four $12,500 package winners thanks to the large field of Pegasus “last chancers”. So John Gaspar, Mark Urbanski and Dennis Decauwer all emerged with top prizes as well. We wish them—and all of the HorseTourneys qualifiers—the best of luck next weekend.
We’ll have so many HorseTourneys qualifiers at the NHC Last Chance tournament at Treasure Island that they are probably too numerous to mention individually.
So right now, at least, we’ll just recognize and congratulate the eight who qualified on Sunday: Daniel Jablanski, Jason Hill, Matthew Ransdell, Carolyn Stovall, Josh Thorpe, Jon Van Niel, Chick Matties and Mike Yurczyk.
Tom Cooper finished first in Sunday’s Horse Player World Series entry-only qualifier.
If that has a familiar ring to it, it’s because I believe I typed those same words just seven days ago.
At any rate, congratulations to Cooper and to his fellow Sunday (January 21) HPWS qualifiers Paul Link and Thomas Kappel. Link got up late for his $1,500 entry thanks to hitting a $10.60 place horse in the contest finale.
Late-game heroics were also in play for Jason Alonzo in our regular NHC qualifier.
After the first eight races of the 12-race contest, Alonzo had a score of just $19.10. But he had three winners from the last four races to come all the way back and snatch that NHC seat
In a day with so many lucrative tournament seats won, our richest cash winner of the day was Tony Calabrese.
This was one of those rare victories were the runners up were even more key than the winners. Tony had two short priced winners—but he had three place horses that paid $15.00, $21.00 and $9.60 (in the last race), respectively. All three of those place payoffs were higher than his highest win mutual.
There’s almost always more than one path to success in a HorseTourneys contest!
For Larry Stephens, the path in our $2,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney was to have five winners, including four in a row.
Stephens earned $1,210 for his exotic acumen in a game that ended with a total purse of $2,421.
While all this was going on, qualifiers and feeders rolled on for this Saturday’s up-to-$100,000 tourney (with up to $40,000 for the winner) on Pegasus World Cup Day.
We’re already up to 28 entries and feeders/qualifiers (for as little as $36) will continue all week long. It should make for a great follow-up to the frenetic weekend just concluded. Thanks for being a part of it.