(courtesy of Jim Goodman, Keeneland)
Overcoming inclement weather and late changes to the contest landscape, Faron McCubbins of Mount Washington, Ky., hammered the 9th race at Keeneland with an $800 exacta on 8-10 that paid $28,560, resulting in an incredible final bankroll of $31,560 that bested 180 other contestants in the Keeneland Grade One Gamble. For his efforts, Faron took home $35,000 in prize money, a fully paid Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) berth at Santa Anita worth $10,000, and an entry into the 2020 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) at Bally’s Las Vegas.
The day began with steady rain that caused all races to be taken off the turf, and multiple scratches resulted in decimated fields. Contest management added three races from Gulfstream and two races from Aqueduct to the contest menu, and the changes resulted in a very competitive contest that was decided at the wire.
Long-time leader Dan Slattery of Bethesda, Md., had cashed for $19,000 on Gulfstream’s 4th race, but was passed late by the huge play of McCubbins. Slattery, however, took home his bankroll of $18,449.80 plus $18,000, a fully paid BCBC spot and an NHC entry.
Joining McCubbins and Slattery at the BCBC and NHC will be Kevin Kerstein of Louisville, Paul Scott of Plantation, Fla., and Brett Kelly of Hobe Sound, Fla. Prize money for third through fifth were $9,000, $4,500 and $2,500, respectively.
Sixth place finisher Jeff “Boom Boom” Joffrion of Baton Rouge, La., took home a partial BCBC berth, and an NHC berth plus $1,500 in cash.
Seventh through tenth finishers were Justin Nicholson of Chadds Ford, Pa., Pete Acocella of Great River, N.Y., Jim Metzger of Louisville, and Ross Gallo of Jupiter, Fla. They each snagged an NHC entry and $1,500 in cash.
The full leaderboard can be found at Keeneland.com/racing/wagering.