(courtesy of Jim Goodman, Keeneland, Inc.)
A stellar group of 159 players from across North America contested the Keeneland BCBC/NHC Challenge on Sunday, October 13, and local player Nick Mannella came away the big winner.
Nick turned a $2,000 bankroll into $28,314 on the strength of a large double play with the heavily favored entry of Hotshot Anna and Aiken To Be in the 8th and Royal Mesa, the 20-1 winner of the 9th race. He held off defending BCBC champ Chuck Grubbs, also of Lexington, who went all in on the 9th with a $1,000 win bet on Royal Mesa that netted $21,000. Long- time leader Dave Nichols of Wayne, PA, settled for third place with $19,122.50. Tommy “The Hammer” Massis killed the first race with $1500 to win on the 9-1 Alex’s Strike, but the Keeneland contest king finished 4th at the end of the day. Kevin Willett of Hastings, NE, snagged the 5th BCBC spot, continuing a run of success at the Lexington track.
The top five finishers won fully paid entries into the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge at Santa Anita plus a fully paid entry into the National Horseplayers Championship at Bally’s Las Vegas in February. Prize money was $30,000 for first, $15,000 for second, and on down to $1500 for 6th through 15th place.
Due to two double qualifiers, the 8 NHC spots went to 4 of the top 5 (Dave Nichols was double qualified), and the 7th through 10th finishers (David Rink was double qualified). NHC winners are as follows: Nick Mannella, Chuck Grubbs, Tommy Massis, Kevin Willett, Jim Staub, Paul Weizer, Randy Gallo, and Julie Loboyko. The top finishers with bankroll and prize money are listed below: