We all know people who like to brag on social media—or in person—about how wonderfully they’re doing. Everything just seems to go their way all the time. Except that they somehow never get around to telling you about their setbacks…which just makes their uninterrupted tales of success ring extremely hollow.
Justin Dew is not one of those people.
Dew has been very frank, both online at his lonespeed.com site and face-to-face, about how frustrating and costly his quest for a 2020 NHC seat has been.
They say confession is good for the soul. That seems to have been the case for Dew.
Just eight days after writing of his latest 2019 tournament disappointment, Dew not only captured that elusive 2020 NHC spot in Sunday’s Low Ratio qualifier, he posted an incredible score of $200.40 in doing so. Here’s a look at his scoresheet:
Given that Dew’s personal stories always include the bitter along with the better, it is not at all surprising that he was quick to share the credit (and minimize his own accomplishment) for his overdue seat win.
We all know what losing streaks feel like, and they don’t always have happy endings. But some do, and we’re glad that this one did.
Dew may not be able to relate well to Dale Hayfield. In Friday’s $75 NHC Pick & Pray, Hayfield ended an NHC drought that had lasted…four days.
Hayfield picked five winners—good for second behind the four wins and a place of Darryl Mays, who’ll also be doing battle at Bally’s next February. Hayfield, meanwhile, now has two NHC seats after earning one by finishing second to Paul Matties Jr. the previous Sunday.
The big Friday cash game went to Stephen “Uncle Sam” Wancha.
Wancha’s three wins and two places got him the $4,708 first prize by just 60 cents over runner up Gary “Macho Man” Machiz. The tourney closed with a final purse of $9,416.
Scores were lower in Friday’s Orleans Fall Classic entry-only Pick & Pray.
The two $500 entries were won by Joseph Zucht and Brendan Fay. Zucht had three winners, led by Engage ($21.00, $8.00) in the 8th at Keeneland. Fay had just one victor, but he bolstered his total greatly with four second-place finishers.
The Friday feature at HorsePlayers was a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Pick & Pray, and things played out perfectly for Anthony “Doczilla” Trezza and Matthew Kosco.
Trezza’s victory came via three winners at odds of 8-1, 4-1 and 9-1. Kosco’s second-place effort was built on four winners at odds of 9-2, 8-1, 2-1 and 5-2. But Trezza and Kosco were winners before the tourney had even begun.
Turning $56 (the price of the feeder) into a seat worth $10,000 is quite a day. And in a month or so at the BCBC, their respective rates of return might improve further!
On Saturday, the big horse to have was the last one—True Valour ($35.80, $16.20) in the Grade II City of Hope Mile at Santa Anita. All but three of Saturday’s first-prize winners had him. The player who got the biggest return from the 16-1 shot was Scott Fiedler.
Fiedler had True Valour (IRE) to go along with two earlier wins and two places to best 183 opponents and grab the top money of $18,000 in Saturday’s “Road to the Cup” $40,000 Guaranteed tourney, which went off with just an 8.2% takeout rate for the players.
Chris Bertolucci had True Valour among his three firsts and two seconds.
The result was a $1,500 entry, four nights’ hotel and $500 for travel to the Horse Player World Series.
Alan Denkenson decided to, ahem, lay the favorite and play the underdog (True Valour).
That decision led him to victory in Saturday’s special NHC qualifier that was restricted to those without a 2020 berth.
Peter Osella and Julie Laboyko—both true believers in True Valour—finished just 10 cents apart in Saturday’s Keeneland NHC/BCBC Challenge full-package qualifier.
It didn’t matter, though, since there were enough entries to award a pair of $3,500 entries to next Sunday’s big contest in Lexington.
Chris Littlemore, the 2018 NHC champ, hit two of the last three winners at odds of 6-1 and 16-1 (True Valour) to to earn a $1,000 package to this month’s Orleans Fall Classic.
Joining Littlemore at the home of Orleans Arena will be runner up Edward “The Price is” Wright, who managed to grab second with three wins and three runners up—none of whom were named True Valour.
The other two to succeed without True Valour (the horse, not the characteristic) were Son Nguyen and Eric Pineiro.
Both had three wins and two places, and both are now on their way to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge by virtue of their Super Low Ratio performances.
Saturday’s high score of the day was put up in the BCBC Pick & Pray at HorsePlayers.
Paul Cush recorded four wins and three places on the day to get the win and the $10,000 entry that went with it. Joseph Parella wasn’t far behind Cush, and he also won a BCBC spot.
Here’s what the day’s high scorecard looked like:
Perhaps Cush felt like he needed to make a statement after winning a BCBC qualifier on September 13 with a score of $47.40!
You know who doesn’t need to make any statements regarding BCBC qualifiers? Brian Chenvert.
Chenvert won Sunday’s Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers (and runner up Robert Matthews won a $5,000 partial BCBC entry). Impressive, right?
It’s even more impressive when you consider that Chenvert won the BCBC Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers on the previous Sunday. And that he won BCBC entries in both the regular and Super Low Ratio qualifiers on September 14. And that he won the BCBC Low Ratio qualifier on September 8! At this rate, Chenvert seems in serious danger of being disqualified from the BCBC for colluding with himself. Seriously, though, one is only allowed to play a maximum of two BCBC entries…which means that Chenvert has already been forced to drill down to friend or family member #3. And that is just from his work over the past month! If Chenvert plays in any BCBC Pick & Prays next weekend, I might just have to take a peek at who he likes.
I might be doing the same with Edward Wright.
The right price for Wright in our Horse Player World Series entry-only qualifier was $72.40. That’s what Warren’s Showtime paid to win (along with an $18.20 place mutuel) in the final Sunday contest race, the 8th at Santa Anita.
Of course, Wright only received $42.00 on top for Warren’s Showtime—but he got it twice, because he played his same picks back in the Orleans Fall Classic qualifier.
Here Wright was second to fellow $500 entry winner Mike Ellis, who also had Warren’s Showtime. For Wright, it was his second Fall Classic entry won in as many days.
Peter Osella also had a multiple-win weekend.
On Sunday, he picked up a last-chance, $3,000 Keeneland NHC/BCBC Challenge entry to go with the $3,500 Keeneland package he won on Saturday. Also in the Keeneland field will be Sunday qualifier winner Bob McIntyre, bronze medalist Stephen “The Undertaker” Thompson and fourth-place finisher Dan McCormick, who hit paydirt despite us not quite hitting 40 entries.
There was a separate NHC qualifier on Sunday that didn’t involve fireworks from Justin Dew.
Similar to Dew, however, El Tigre Terrible ($49.20, $21.20 in the 6th at Santa Anita) was the horse that made the difference for winner Bob Gianquitti. He’ll be joined at Bally’s by runner up Matthew Ache, who was just $1.80 behind in second.
Between Brian Chenvert with the BCBC, Ed “The Price is” Wright with the Orleans Fall Classic and Peter Osella with Keeneland, players bombarding a certain tournament has become something of a theme. And we’re not yet done citing such examples.
John “The Clocker” Nichols picked up a $1,500 Flo-Cal Face-off entry for the second consecutive Sunday after striking for six wins and two places in our most recent Flo-Cal play-in. Unlike most of Sunday’s big winners, however, “The Clocker” (not to be confused with “The Kloeker”) did not have either El Tigre Terrible (23-1) or Warren’s Showtime (35-1). Instead, Nichols’s big horse was Muskoka Gold ($38.60, $12.50) in the 8th at Woodbine. There certainly were a lot of prices out there on Sunday.
Tony Martin reinvested some of the $27,000 he won at The BIG One (along with NHC and BCBC seats) and, as they say, money goes to money.
Here, Martin added another $5,522 to his coffers for his triumph—by just 60 cents—over Stephen Lerma in a $10,000 Guaranteed cash tourney that closed with a pot of $11,044. Same as at The BIG One, Martin didn’t pick many winners, but the ones he did pick really packed a wallop. He had but two visitors to the winner’s circle on Sunday: El Tigre Terrible and Warren’s Showtime…and those were his only collections.
Dan Wilde did something on Sunday that hasn’t been done before. He took the top two places in our $8 Pick 6 Jackpot tourney.
Finishing in a tie with himself isn’t shocking considering that five of Wilde’s six picks were common across his two entries.
Since no one had all six winners, next week’s $8 Jackpot will be $3,098.
In Sunday’s $1,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney, John Heiney won $700 by connecting on four successful gimmicks.
By far the most prominent of them was the last one—a $118.70-for-$1 hit in the Warren’s Showtime race at Santa Anita. The game drew just nine entrants and went off at a mere 1.1% takeout for players (and at a loss for HorseTourneys).
In case you haven’t noticed, BCBC qualifiers at HorsePlayers are like varieties of gas at your local service station. We have Regular, Low, Super Low and now Ultra Low Ratio qualifiers leading up to the year’s most prestigious live-money contest.
David Basler and Andrew Diamond certainly engaged in some high-octane handicapping in this one. Basler had four wins plus five places and his winning score of $103.90 belied that of a tournament with so few (13) entries. Diamond’s score wasn’t l shabby either, and he had four winners and three places…so he was doing more cashing than trashing himself. It’s certainly not easy to win a BCBC spot these days.
Winning is never easy, of course, but we try to make it easy to compete and have fun. We’ll be back next week with many more featured tourneys including the last chances for the Orleans Fall Classic plus a couple of 25-race All Optional Live games. Hope to see you then.