Once again, the top prizes were well distributed during the featured-tourney weekend—which might have been a bit less surprising this time around since most of the games utilized the live format. Only Frank Fosbre rang the bell twice. Though Jon Madden and Steve Arrison rang their lone bells loudly on Friday.
Four of Madden’s 10 selections were doinks, but the other six generated two places and four BOOMS. The Maddencruiser was far from the only vehicle on the road, though, and Jon needed a last-race place payoff of $3.40 from Courageous Girl in the 8th at Belmont to prevail by 40 cents over Mike Yurczyk in Friday’s $7,500 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed with a pot of $9,080. Madden’s share of that was $4,540, while Yurczyk collected $1,816.
Officials didn’t need to bring out the chains to determine that Steve Arrison was the winner of Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio tourney…but that one was pretty close as well.
Arrison had three winners—led by Turf War ($19.60, $8.40) in the 7th at Belmont—plus a runner up to cool Kenny McMahan’s jets and pick up the $10,000 BCBC entry.
On Saturday, a key horse to have was Wildwood’s Beauty ($43.80, $15.20) in the Sheer Drama Stakes at Gulfstream.
Tony Martin and Rick Broth both had Wildwood’s Beauty among their four winners and one runner up, and that aided greatly in earning them each an all-inclusive package to the Sept. 21-22 The BIG One at Laurel Park.
Wildwood’s Beauty was the first of three consecutive winners recorded by Robert Schintzius Sr. to close out Saturday’s $17,500 Guaranteed cash tourney.
Schintzius pocketed $8,750 in an event that went off at a mere 5% takeout to players. In all, he had five firsts and a second en route to a day-best score of $140.10. Here’s a look at Schintzius’s scorecard:
Geno Kroska had Wildwood’s Beauty in capturing a $3,500 package in Saturday’s Keeneland NHC/BCBC Challenge qualifier…
…as did both Paul Cyr and Travis Foelsch in the process of finishing one-two in the same day’s Orleans Fall Classic package qualifier.
Wildwood’s Beauty was also a “mandatory winner” in the day’s two Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifiers on Saturday at HorsePlayers.
Dennis Desposito (five firsts, one second) sprinted to the early lead with three winners right out of the starting gate in this regular qualifier. Then, after a brief lull, he administered the coup de grace in the Sheer Drama Stakes.
Harrychand Sukhram, meanwhile, had two winners and a runner up…
…to go along with Wildwood’s Beauty, and he registered a $31.80 victory in Saturday’s Super Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier.
On Sunday, Ed “The Price is” Wright showed that he’s one of those people who does his best work under a tight deadline.
Last weekend, won a seat to The BIG One in the final month of qualifying, and he also won the next-to-last qualifier to the Woodbine Mile Horseplayers Tournament. This past weekend, Wright was right again in the last-chance Woodbine Mile qualifier. Actually, Wright was wrong on 10 of the 12 contest races…but he had Miss Marissa ($39.00, $12.60) in the 7th at Belmont and Cadet Connolly ($14.80, $6.50) in the 7th race at (appropriately enough) Woodbine.
In fact, all of Sunday’s grand prize winners had Miss Marissa on their respective roads to success. Like everyone else, though, players needed more than just Marissa in their vehicles.
David Wolff won an all-inclusive package to The BIG One on Sunday and for him, a key passenger was Fahrenheit ($11.70, $5.80) who scored in the final contest race, the 11th at Woodbine. Good thing for Wolff that the horse’s name wasn’t Celsius, or else the partisan Woodbine fans may have bet him down more.
Peter Duca had four winners on Sunday—all of which came during the first four contest races.
Those wins, plus two later places, got him top money of $5,608 in Sunday’s $10,000 Guaranteed tourney, which closed with a purse of $11,217.
We all have our favorite Misters. As a child, I was a big fan of Mr. Ed and Mr. Magoo (especially when he attempted to drive a car…though there was a funny episode of Mr. Ed in which America’s favorite talking horse operated a motor vehicle as well).
As I got older, I became a fan of legendary sire Mr. Prospector. At HorseTourneys, though, one of our favorite misters is, of course, Mr. Lindsay Hurst.
Hurst was first thanks to four wins and two places in our Orleans Fall Classic entry-only qualifier. Joining him at the home of one of the more vibrant keno parlors you’ll find anywhere will be runner up John Vogel, who recorded two firsts and three seconds.
Another fan of Miss Marissa was Miss Cheryl…as in 2016 NHC Tour Champ Cheryl McIntyre.
Cheryl—and presumably at least one or two more of the McIntyre crew—will make the short drive from Ohio to Keeneland for the October 13 Keeneland NHC/BCBC Challenge.
We mentioned that Frank Fosbre was the only player that won twice this weekend. They weren’t gigantic triumphs—but they came in two different sorts of events, which is always extra impressive. Also…sometimes even the smallest win brings with it a lot of extra confidence going forward. So Frank got a double dose of that—starting with our $8 Pick 6 Jackpot game, which ended a bit earlier than the other Sunday features.
Fosbre had three winners in this one. Heck, he even had Miss Marissa to start things off, which put quite a hurt on his opponents. No one picked all six correctly, however, so next week’s $8 Pick 6 Jackpot will be $2,805.
Fosbre also took his talents—and Miss Marissa—to the $1,000 Guaranteed Exacta game which, with eight entries, was a no-takeout game for the players.
Miss Marissa topped a $1 exacta that rewarded Fosbre to the tune of $97.50—but that was just one of his five winners on the way to the top tourney prize of $700.
Sunday was our first qualifier to the Sept. 28 “Win And You’re In” tourney at Santa Anita plus the next day’s Sunday contest. (I’m sure I’ll come up with a more succinct description for these two days eventually. Suggestions are certainly welcome…though, for now, this is the best I can do.)
Anyway, nomenclature aside, the winner by one thin dime was Len Hanson. He had two winners and three places to win the $3,500 worth of entry fees, and it was Paper Clip ($7.00, $4.20) in the next-to-last contest race, the 10th at Kentucky Downs, that edged him past the unlucky runner up, Chris Fischer.
Some may remember Fischer’s name…or his face.
Fischer won $4,088 for finishing 11th, $46.20 behind Paul Shurman, in the inaugural Spa & Surf Showdown. On Day 1 of the Showdown, however, Fischer suffered a big blow when his 41-1 pick Crystalle was disqualified from 1st to 3rd in his career debut. (In his next start, Crystalle won the P.G. Johnson Stakes…of course.)
This time around, Fischer lost $3,500 in entry fees by 10 cents. Someday…somewhere…a lucrative tournament has his name on it. At least that’s what we hope.
Sunday’s BCBC Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers had Brian Chenvert’s name on it.
Chenvert had three wins and another three places to roll home by $30.70.
Last but far from least, the high score of the day was put up by Joseph Costello in Sunday’s NHC qualifier.
Costello had six wins and one place to rack up $114.70. Here’s how he got it done:
Alex DeVito (5 wins, 1 place) was the only other contestant to crack triple figures, and so he got the other available NHC berth in this “two-seater”.
Thanks to everyone for playing (or even just reading) this week. We’ll be back next week with a big slate, including the final two qualifiers to The BIG One.