It was a very wet Memorial Day weekend for many horseplayers—and a very profitable one for others.
No one got an earlier start on the holiday weekend festivities than John Garofano Jr.
Garofano recorded four victories and two runner-up finishes (from just 10 contest races) to earn $5,717 in Friday’s $7,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which wound up with a pot of $11,434. Garofano undoubtedly had steaks on the grill come Monday (as opposed to the hot dogs and hamburgers served at my house).
If Garofano was eating steak on Monday, Geoffrey Schutt may have opted for surf & turf.
The Bay State tournament player nailed the final three contest races, including Sophie P ($30.00, $11.80) in the finale (SA8) to earn $11,079 in Saturday’s $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed with a total purse of $24,620.All together, Schutt had four winners and three places.
Over at HorsePlayers on Saturday, Sophie P was also instrumental in Dan Wilde’s victory.
Wilde had three wins (including 14-1 shot Sophie P) and five places to capture a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry.
There was one other tournament at HorsePlayers on Saturday, a two-seat-guaranteed NHC qualifier. But before I get to those results, allow me to digress.
One of my bad habits is writing while the TV plays in the background. During the week, I usually have one of the cable news networks on. (I actually enjoy switching between all three, which doesn’t seem to be the case for many.)
On Friday morning, I peeked up from my keyboard to see live coverage of Harvey Weinstein’s surrender in a New York courtroom.
I wasn’t paying close attention at first, but then I glanced back at the screen, and suddenly my work took a backseat to the pressing question of the day:
Is that Mitch Schuman??!!
Later the HorseTourneys I-Team was able to confirm that, indeed, that was Mitch Schuman, a New York-based criminal defense attorney, seated on the far left of the screen. I’m not sure if Mitch was waiting for one of the later cases to be called or was actually assisting with the Weinstein proceeding—but I did notice that he was on his cell phone quite a bit. He may have been fielding texts from friends who were excited to see him on live, national TV…or, more likely, he was entering his Friday selections via the HorseTourneys mobile platform. Either way, it’s a good thing that Mitch didn’t allow work to interfere too greatly with his horseplaying, because on Saturday…
…he won one of two available NHC berths at HorsePlayers by finishing behind only Tanya Taylor. It’s been a great past 12 months for Taylor, who won a BCBC entry recently and a $75,000 event here late in 2017.
And it certainly has been a quite eventful past few days for Schuman.
The headline on Sunday was the weather. Of the five major tracks at our disposal for selecting races, three (Belmont, Monmouth and Gulfstream) were off the turf, one (Pimlico) wound up canceling its card after four races, and the other (Santa Anita) had carded a lot of races with short fields. Despite a lot of chalky results early on, HorseTourneys players pressed on gamely—including Joseph Rosen.
Despite the tourneys containing just 10 races (after two of Pimlico’s races were lost), Rosen still managed to record six winners and three places en route to a highly impressive score of $120.10 and a victory worth $6,903 in Sunday’s $12,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which finished up with a pot of $13,806.
No matter what the weather, Sunday’s last-chance qualifier for next Saturday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize tourney figured to be popular…and it was.
Congratulations to 2015 NHC Champ John O’Neil, along with Darren Yarwood, Stephen Luca, Rene Morety and Christopher Dewey. All five will be part of a contingent of 41 HorseTourneys qualifiers doing battle next weekend at the Jersey Shore.
Anthony “Doczilla” Trezza and Blaise Guadagno will be among those doing battle at the Spa this summer.
They dead-heated for the top spot, but in this case—with two $3,500 packages available—tying was way, way better than kissing your sister for Trezza and Guadagno.
Trezza played the same ticket in Sunday’s first qualifier for the new Gulfstream Park Seize the Speed Betting Championship on June 30.
Here, however, Trezza was outdone by a buck by John Agnello, who earned the $3,500 package to the South Florida live-bankroll competition that will offer seats to the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship and the NHC, along with some excellent cash prizes.
Jorge Cruz-Aedo correctly predicted five exactas from 10 races in Sunday’s $2,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney.
Most of Jorge’s damage was done with an $83.30 collection in Santa Anita’s 6th race, however, and that put him over the top for a win worth $1,083 in the $2,166 affair.
Over at HorsePlayers, David Herberholz was the big winner in Sunday’s BCBC Low Ratio qualifier.
There were enough entries in this one for us to award a $5,000 partial BCBC entry to the runner up Ron Ferrise, and you can expect him to put that partial entry to good use. The Las Vegas resident was the runner up in last year’s BCBC thanks to a gigantic Stormy Liberal-Bar of Gold daily double score.
Paul Roth, meanwhile, is headed to the NHC.
He picked four winners and three second-place finishers to claim victory in Sunday’s NHC Super Qualifier.
The players with the best ROI of all on Memorial Day weekend were Brian Johnson, Richard Favire and Shawn Heron.
They were the three unofficial winners of Sunday’s free NHC qualifier, open to all 2018 NHC Tour members.
Weather on Memorial Day was quite a bit better than on Monday, and despite our running one Pick & Pray and one live-format tourney, there was one standout star of the day.
Gary Machiz was third heading into the final race of our sold-out, up-to-$12,500 Pick & Pray thanks to two wins and two places. His selection of 9-1 Hunt in the Shoemaker Mile, however, shot him up to first place and a winner’s share worth $6,305.
Monday’s NHC Lower Ratio game offered a new price point for NHC qualifiers–$240—and an equally new winning ratio of 1 in 45. This 2-seat-gtd. tourney was run in live-format mode but, happily for Machiz, he treated it like a Pick & Pray.
This time, Hunt moved Machiz from fourth place to first. And since there were a robust 135 entries at the new price point, we were able to award a third NHC package. That meant that Joe Pettit and G.T. Nixon will be joining Machiz at Treasure Island next year. Nixon held third-place by a dollar over…Joe Pettit, who placed two entries in the top four! Pettit seemingly had a very good feel for the Shoemaker Mile. He had Hunt on his entry that finished second and runner-up Heart to Heart on the ticket that came in fourth.
Thanks to all for playing this past weekend and remember—if you’re going to be photographed with Mitch Schuman, make sure it is at a handicapping tournament and not in a courtroom.