It has been quite a June for Peter Deys. That statement would have been true even if he had just rested on his laurels after June 8. That’s the day (Belmont Stakes day) that he triumphed in both a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier and in our $75,000 event, earning total cash and prizes of $43,750.
Deys added to his June haul this past Saturday, playing the same set of 12 selections across three Pick & Pray tourneys: qualifiers for the Saratoga Challenge and BCBC, and our $17,500 Guaranteed cash event.
Connecting on four winners, including three in the final four races of the featured 12, Deys amassed a score of $129.60. That put him in good shape in our Saratoga qualifier where he and Jonathan Martinelli each won $3,500 packages.
It also garnered him a second $10,000 entry to the BCBC.
In the $17,500 tourney, it took nothing short of a huge day from Kevin Engelhard (3 winners, 4 place horses) to deprive Deys of the $9,836 first prize.
We doubt Deys was too upset over the defeat. His second-place finish in the game (that closed with a $21,856 total purse) netted him $4,371…which brought his June winning totals up to $61,621. And, perhaps unfortunately for his peers, June is not yet over.
The just-completed weekend began with Jobby Blevins hitting for $4,371 (ironically the same amount of cash that Deys won on Saturday) in Friday’s $7,000 guaranteed Pick & Pray, which wound up with a purse of $8,743.
Blevins, who has been near the top of the 2018 NHC Tour standings all year long, it seems, selected three winners—at odds of 13-1, 16-1 and 5-1—to secure the victory. This means he has plenty of ammunition to keep playing those NHC qualifiers!
Turning our attention back to Saturday, Roger Cettina was second best behind Deys in the BCBC qualifier, but the New Jersey construction executive took a backseat to no one in the day’s NHC Super Qualifier at HorsePlayers.
To get into the winner’s circle, Cettina hit the final three contest races (Santa Anita’s 7th, 8th and 9th races) at respective win mutuels of $58.60, $22.40 and $25.60. His score of $149.80 was best of the day. It was a great finish, and one that was preceded by a great start for Cettina, who typically gets up at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning, even on weekends.
Here you could say that the early bird got the worm in more ways than one. Not a bad return for a $56 early-bird feeder!
Saturday also featured our first qualifier to the July 27-28 Hawthorne OTBs Summer NHC Qualifier.
Congratulations to Geno Kroska, who recorded two wins and four important places to grab himself the $800 in entry fees for Chicagoland.
Meanwhile, our Orleans Fall Classic qualifiers continue to be very popular, and a modest score wasn’t going to accomplish much in last Saturday’s edition.
Lindsay Hurst reported home first with six wins and a runner up, posting a near-Cettina-like total of $145.80. Joining Hurst at the Hawthorne competition (though not necessarily at the same venue since contestants can play from one of 10 different venues) will be runner up Barbara Buckley and third-place finisher John Preble.
Sunday was typically busy with nine featured events. Two of them were high-end qualifiers—one to the Del Mar Handicapping Challenge and one to The BIG One.
Brett Wiener scooped up an $8,500 package to Del Mar thanks to his five winners and two place horses, But while Brett may have been the top scorer among 44 entries in this qualifier, it turns out he wasn’t even the top scorer in his household.
Brett’s wife Sarah (6 wins, 2 places) outdid him by $5.80 to earn an all-inclusive package, including travel, hotel, welcome dinner and more, to the September 22-23 The BIG One at Laurel. Sarah and runner up Christopher Podratz (6 wins, 1 place) are the 26th and 27th to qualify for The BIG One field, which will number no more than 57. So far, Sarah and Carol Johnson are the lone women to qualify. Perhaps Brett Wiener and Brent Johnson will make an extra push to qualify for The BIG One as well. The HorseTourneys accountants might like that. It could save them a couple of hotel rooms!
The richest cash game of the day was our $10,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray that closed with a pot of $14,323.
This contest also saw its winner pick six winners. Congratulations to Douglas Weiss, who pulled down $6,445 for his efforts.
Our other featured Sunday cash game was our $2,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney. Not only did we not reach our guarantee, the game went off at a whopping 46% overlay to players as entry fees totaled just $1,080. Not even Bernie Madoff can match those returns.
Our loss was Brian Gross’s gain. His four tallies brought back $1,400 in tourney winnings. Two of those exacta wins came within the first three races, giving him an early total that no one would match, even over the next nine races.
We devoted the opening of this week’s blog to Peter Deys, but Michael Kavana is pretty darned hot too. On Sunday, he won a featured tourney for the third consecutive week.
On June 10 and June 17, Kavana won entries to the Belmont Stars & Stripes Challenge. This time, he won a $3,500 package to the Keeneland NHC/BCBC Challenge. Kavana’s prescient selection of the first-time-Phil D’Amato turfer Storm the Hill ($21.00, $9.00) in the final contest race, the Wilshire Handicap, is what got him home at the end.
Moving over to HorsePlayers, Sunday saw Phillip Hinslee and Tom Arndt become the latest duo to punch their tickets to the big dance in Las Vegas.
In the BCBC Low Ratio tourney, Robert Rosette, who had five winners and two runners up, held on in a real squeaker.
Runner up Sammy Toups had final-contest-race winner Storm the Hill, but the $21.00 to win and $9.00 to place came up 20 cents too short for Toups’s liking. Every dime counts.
Moving back to HorseTourneys action, Christopher Dewey had a profitable—and what I thought to be an interesting—weekend.
Dewey finished second behind Michael Kavana in our Keeneland qualifier, but he won our first qualifier to the July 15 Stars of Texas Betting Challenge at Lone Star Park, where he will be joined by runner up Josh Thorpe.
Then Dewey won two more prizes by using those same picks to finish both second AND third behind Edward Wright in our qualifier to…
…the Belmont Stars & Stripes Challenge. It made me chuckle that Dewey won top prizes in both of the qualifiers with “Stars” in their titles. If he can somehow broaden his powers to include all qualifiers that have “Challenge” in their title, then he will really have this whole tournament thing at his mercy.
Thanks to all for playing—and reading. We hope you had fun doing both.