(Courtesy of Najja Thompson, NYRA Press Office)
With a primary focus on exotics wagers, Nick Fazzolari of Colts Neck, New Jersey, capitalized on his strategy in a maiden race at Monmouth Park, successfully completing a Daily Double to catapult himself to the top of the leaderboard in Saturday’s Stars & Stripes Handicapping Challenge at Belmont Park.
With a $500 entry fee, of which $250 was devoted to the prize pool and the remaining $250 comprising each entrant’s bankroll, the Stars & Stripes Challenge offered horseplayers the opportunity to win cash prizes in addition to the player’s bankroll earnings. One seat to the 2019 Belmont Stakes Handicapping Challenge and two seats to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championships (NHC) were also up for grabs.
“Usually I don’t play exotics, but I decided to focus on [Daily] Doubles for this challenge and thankfully it worked out,” said Fazzolari.
Earning $5,880 in prize money for top honors and $2,704 in live money wagers, Fazzolari opted for a free entry into next year’s Belmont Stakes Challenge with his victory.
“I’m excited to come back and play in the Belmont,” added Fazzolari.
Finishing in second place and earning a seat to the NHC was Kwok Fu Tsui of Flushing, New York, netting $2,856 in prize money and $1,646 in live wagers. Bart Foodew of Point Lookout, New York took the remaining NHC seat finishing in third place with a prize total of $2,184 and a live bankroll of $1,531.50 for the day.
Here is a look at the top 15 places on the Stars and Stripes Challenge leaderboard: