One person you know will be firing away with impunity on Breeders’ Cup weekend is top-notch contest player Ken Jordan. That would likely have been the case regardless, but after the events of this weekend, it is a certainty.
Jordan started Columbus Day weekend off red hot in Friday’s BCBC Low Ratio Pick & Pray at HorsePlayers.
Jordan “beat the gate” by connecting on 13-1 winners in each of the first two contest races to open up a commanding lead. John Holmes made a run at him late. However, Jordan and Holmes had the same selections (one of which won) in the final two contest races, which effectively blocked Holmes and secured the $10,000 entry for Jordan. Holmes did, however, receive a $5,000 partial BCBC entry for his second-place finish.
With HorsePlayers devoted almost entirely to BCBC qualifiers during the month of October, there was a chance to win BCBC entries on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and Jordan kept his hot bat in the lineup the day after his Friday score.
Perhaps buoyed by his Friday success, Jordan took a swing at Saturday’s $1,000 BCBC qualifier, and here, he was bested by Joseph Calvo, who had four wins and two places—all in the first seven races—but there were two $10,000 entries up for grabs in this event, and Jordan cashed again via his second-place finish. Thanks to two days in October, it will be two very exciting days in November for Mr. Jordan.
Friday was a pretty exciting day for Jacob Phillips as well.
Phillips hit three winners and three runners up from 10 contest races to collect top money of $4,708 in Friday’s $5,000 guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed with a final pot of $9,416.
Friday’s high scores were turned in by Mike Martin and Stephen McNatton.
Martin recorded four wins and a place. McNatton notched six wins and a place. Regardless of their cashing frequency, they were the only two to break the century mark, and that earned each an NHC berth for just $75 in Friday’s low-entry-fee direct qualifier.
Two more NHC seats were up for grabs in Saturday’s Lower Ratio qualifier.
The winners were Steven Perreira and Randy Bauer, and they accomplished their respective feats in entirely different manners. Perreira whiffed completely on his first six races but hit two winners and two runners up from the final six to get home on top. Bauer, on the other hand, had seven winners, including six out of six to start the tourney. For a while there, it was as if Bauer had an advance copy of Sunday’s newspaper (containing Saturday’s racing results). Here’s what his scoresheet looked like.
The next best thing to having success on back-to-back days (like Ken Jordan) is scoring on back-to-back weekends. Michael Sussman can certainly make that boast. The previous Saturday, he trampled the field with a score of $193.10 to win a BCBC entry.
And this past Saturday, he earned a little pocket money for BCBC weekend.
More than a little actually. Sussman’s three wins and a place included 6-1 winner Saratoga Treasure in the next-to-last contest race (the 11th at Belmont) to finish first in our $17,500 live-format tourney that closed with a purse of $21,559–$9,836 of which went to Sussman.
Saturday was also the day of our last-chance qualifier to the Orleans Fall Classic, which starts in just two days from now.
Congratulations to the five (four?) winners: Wayne Eigelbach, Michael Lazarus (who won twice for finishing second and third with identical entries…that’s confidence!), Robert Courtney and Jim Videtic. Lazarus, by the way, was second behind Jacob Phillips in Friday’s $9,416 Pick & Pray, earning $1,883.
George Chute won a $1,500 entry on Saturday to a different Orleans tournament.
Chute picked three winners, including Santa Anita 9-2 shot Painting Corners in the final contest race. That well-placed pitch in the final frame meant an exciting win for Chute—and a loud call of “Strike Three!” for his opponents.
Last but not least on Saturday, special congratulations go out to Rocky Hardy.
Hardy registered the day’s highest score, $142.80, thanks to four wins and three places over at HorsePlayers. Fortunately for Hardy, he receives not just my congratulations, but a $10,000 BCBC entry for his efforts.
Moving on to Sunday’s action…some may wonder why I often refer to Nicholas Fazzolari as Nick “529” Fazzolari. It is because, after he won the Wynn Challenge in 2017, he made good on a promise to his young daughters (and at least one niece), that he would make a sizable deposit into their 529 college accounts if he won. He did…and he did.
529 plans are great vehicles for saving for college. Account earnings can be withdrawn tax free if used for higher education purposes and, on top of that, many states offer a sizable tax deduction as an inducement to participate in them. They are the type of financial instrument that would appeal to a value-minded investor like Fazzolari—and so was last Sunday’s Big Bucks tourney!
The Big Bucks tourney guaranteed $15,000 but attracted just $13,800 in entry fees. Seizing on the delta (8.7%), Fazzolari pounced! Of course, to cash on an overlay, horses must actually then win for you, and three of Fazzolari’s did…and two came in second. That meant $10,500, which was a very nice return on Nick’s investment, even though no state tax deductions were involved.
Kevin Willett’s Sunday ROI was even higher than Fazzolari’s.
Though Willett won a “mere” $6,298 in our $10,000 guaranteed tourney, which finished up with a pot of $12,597, his initial investment ($195) was less than 20% of Nick’s. So we’ll vote Willett the Seth Klarman Award for this week. (And yes, Klarman is famous for more than owning expensive Chad Brown-trained runners.)
Chip Sarna turned $125 into $1,161 on Sunday.
That’s because he connected on three three-horse exacta boxes in our $2,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney, with ended up paying out a total of $2,323. Jason Jordan was second and David Wilganowski and Michael Kavana dead-heated for third.
Returns in qualifiers are more theoretical, I suppose, but don’t tell that to Dennis Desenberg and Keith Castleberry.
They were the two berth winners in Sunday’s “regular” NHC qualifier. In Vegas, they will be on free rolls for $800,000.
Sunday was also the final opportunity to earn a $3,500 package to next Sunday’s Keeneland NHC/BCBC Challenge. Predictably, business was brisk, and we were able to award three grand prizes.
Vaughn Bair showed the way with $98.60. Mark Waggoner and Peter Osella tied for second at $85.20, but with three prizes available, there was no need to rouse the HorseTourneys stewards from their afternoon naps. Osella grabbed that third Keeneland package by hitting final-contest-race winner I Belong to Becky ($6.80, $4.00) in the 8th at Santa Anita.
The high scorer of the day, for the second straight day, did his scoring over at HorsePlayers.
Here it was Allan Sadler (four wins, one place) who broke triple digits to win a $10,000 BCBC entry in Sunday’s Low Ratio qualifier. Robert Rosette was $17.60 behind, but there were enough entries to award a second grand prize, and so Rosette will be joining Sadler in the BCBC.
There was a pair of featured events on Monday to close out the holiday weekend at HorseTourneys. One was a $7,500 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.
Early on in the tourney, Gary Blair was the Santa Maria…while everyone else was the Nina and the Pinta. But he had a $44.40 winner ($42.00 for contest purposes) in the third-to-last race, and a $13.40 winner (King of Speed) in the next-to-last race, the 8th at Santa Anita, to win the top prize of $4,055 in a contest that ultimately offered a total of $8,011.
In Monday’s Horse Player World Series entry-only qualifier, Nixon was the one.
Actually, G.T. Nixon was one of two…to have 33-1 winner Lakerball in the 5th at Santa Anita. But Nixon garnered the $1,500 entry since he did the better job of building scores around the bomb at Santa Anita.
“Santa Anita”…now that would have been a really cool name for one of Columbus’s ships…
Thanks for spending part of your Columbus Day weekend with us. We hope you discovered profits, or at least enjoyment, and we look forward to seeing you again next weekend.