Retired investment banker Jim Lisowsky clearly knows how to make a lot out of a little.
The 66-year-old Texas resident had but one collection out of 10 races on Friday. But a big collection it was—My Sebastiana who captured the 7th at Gulfstream under Marcos Meneses and returned $58.80 to win and $22.00 to place. Lisowsky took a haircut down to $42.00 on that win price here, of course. There was very little left on the floor, though, when it came to his Friday winnings.
Lisowsky picked up a $6,500 Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship (Jan. 25) package for finishing ahead (with both of his identical entries) of all but Robert Iacono, who had five wins and a place.
He was one of six to earn $500 entries to the February 6 NHC Last Chance tournament at Bally’s along with Jeff Kingsbury, Rob Ramirez, Greg Knepper, Alan Levitt and Lawrence “Geaux Tigers” Kahlden.
He also pocketed $819 in cash…
…for finishing fourth behind Justin Kelly (7 winners) in Friday’s $7,500 Guaranteed Pick & Pray. (Kelly took home $5,464 from the total pot of $10,929.)
Lisowsky arguably saved his most notable work for Friday’s Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifier…and not just because he finished first.
As an investment banker, we’re sure that Lisowsky respected the benefits of diversification. There was no evidence of such respect, however, insofar as his two Flo-Cal entries were concerned. They again contained the exact same picks…even though there was just one $1,500 entry/grand prize to be had. (Not sure we’ve ever seen that before here!) Ultimately, though, Lisowsky had the last laugh as his doubling down resulted in an extra $258 via the top breakage return.
What’s extra ironic is that Lisowsky picked just one winner on November 24 and wound up capturing six (!) tourneys that day. Mind you, he did have three places on Nov. 24 to go along with his lone winner (again a cap horse)…but Lisowsky certainly seems to be developing something of a “one-very-potent-winner” M.O.
Alas, Lisowsky and My Sebastiana could do no better than 3rd in Friday’s Horse Player World Series qualifier.
Nick “529” Fazzolari (2 wins, 2 places) and James Politano (1 win, 3 places) each cleared the $64.00 mark by having My Sebastiana and augmenting that windfall with three additional collections. So Fazzolari and Politano walked away with the $1,500 entries. Lisowsky had to settle here for another breakage refund.
Seventeen players (out of 399) had My Sebastiana in Friday’s $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers.
The ones who did the best job of padding their scores further (thus picking up the Bally’s Berths) were Frank Gryboski Jr., who had five firsts and one second…and Mark Stillmock, who recorded one other win besides My Sebastiana and one runner up.
Having just one winner typically didn’t cut it on Saturday…though it worked for Edward “The Price is” Wright.
Edward had the right stuff with Too Much Heaven ($22.40, $13.20) in the 5th at Santa Anita. From there he added just place collections…but he had four of those, and that meant a full package to the Horse Player World Series. Also earning an HPWS full ride was runner up Richard Yuricich (3 wins, 2 places). He was the only player in addition to Wright to score in the 60s.
It took triple figures, on the other hand, to win our $17,500 Guaranteed cash tourney on Saturday.
Paul Cush did it with five winners — led by Policy ($13.80, $5.40) in the 5th at Santa Anita — plus a place to garner the top prize of $10,043 in a game ultimately worth a total of $22,319.
Stephen McNatton had an even higher score in our Keeneland Grade One Gamble qualifier.
McNatton had six winners to seize the $4,000 Keeneland package. Here’s how he did it.
The two Saturday NHC qualifiers at HorsePlayers illustrated the advantage one can often obtain by participating in a Low Ratio qualifier.
Rochester, N.Y’s Nick Noce punched his ticket to Vegas thanks to Too Much Heaven (congratulations to Noce, McNatton and Wright, among others, for proving Barry Gibb wrong!) plus one other winner and two places. Noce’s winning score added up to $72.10…which wouldn’t have gotten him a sniff in the day’s regular qualifier.
Competition was remarkably fierce in this one. In the end, Seth Morris (5 wins, 2 places) and Sean Nolan (4 wins, 4 places) landed the NHC seats due to their big efforts. Nolan hit the winners of the last two races at odds of 10-1 and 5-1 to get up. Morris had the highest score of the day, and to achieve that, he had five of the day’s seven available double-digit winners:
Sunday scores were somewhat in between the lows of Friday and the highs of Saturday. The biggest Sunday tally belonged to Keith Fenton.
It’s only right, therefore, that Fenton received the day’s highest prize: $6,601 from a total pot of $14,669 in Sunday’s $10,000 Guaranteed cash tourney. In all, Fenton had 5 winners and 3 places, with his biggest horse being Bettyb in the 7th at Tampa. Here’s how Fenton’s day went:
Our old friend Jim Lisowsky visited the winner’s circle again on Sunday.
He again played his preferred 12 horses of the day across several tourneys, and his score of $79.20 (built on 4 wins–four times his Friday total!–and a place) proved best in our Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifier. Also winning a $1,500 entry was runner up Kevin Willett who booked six on top and one down below.
Next Sunday is your last chance to win a $1,000 entry to the January 26 NHC Qualifier at Sam Houston.
Capitalizing on the next-to-last chance this past Sunday were Todd Van Drie and Don Allen, who each recorded five firsts and one second.
In Sunday’s $1,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney, Frank Fosbre cruelly crushed the hopes and dreams of his opponents when the 7th at Tampa was run.
Fosbre hit a $1 exacta box for $203.30 in that race. He added two more winners but those were basically academic as Fosbre waltzed home to the $774 payday that was awaiting him at the end of the $1,106 tourney.
Chip Sarna won Sunday’s $8 Pick 6 Jackpot tourney with just one win and one place.
Since no one went 6-for-6, the Jackpot will swell to $4,499 for next Sunday…yours (to win or share) for $8 and six winners.
Bettyb ($23.00, $12.40 in the 7th at Tampa) was key to the Sunday fortunes of both Stephen “The Undertaker” Thompson and Ryan Flanders.
Thanks to Bettyb and an assortment of other winners and near-misses, both Thompson and Flanders earned $6,500 packages to the January 25th Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship.
Flanders also picked up a $500 entry on Sunday to the February 6 NHC Last Chance tournament at Bally’s—along with seven others.
Congratulations Dane Moore, Michael Reynolds, Joe Johnson, Jeffrey Pesot, Joel Wincowski, Jim Lisowsky (same picks, of course!), and Jim Sebes.
If Last Chance entry winner Joel Wincowski does poorly on February 6, he’ll still be assured of action the next three days.
That’s because Wincowski (7 wins, 1 place) picked up an NHC seat along with qualifier winner Kevin “Brooklyn Cowboy” Cox (3 wins, 3 places) at HorsePlayers on Sunday. Cox was 17th on the 2019 NHC Tour leaderboard entering last weekend…so his position should improve. And so should the position of the double-qualified Dane Moore who was 92nd entering the weekend and picked up a nice chunk of points for finishing second to Cox.
We’re not sure where that placing will leave Moore in the standings, but wherever he winds up it will be incredible considering that, as of December 1, he had earned nothing but measly “Participation Points”. Here’s what Moore did in the month of December:
And here’s a little more of what Moore did on Sunday:
He won a $1,500 Horse Player World Series entry for besting all but fellow prize winner Tom Dillon, who recorded 6 firsts and a second en route to victory.
There’s one more tourney to report on—Sunday’s first-ever NHC Low Ratio Qualifier restricted to those yet to win a 2020 seat.
It was taken by Ralph Magnetti (5 wins, 1 place), who narrowly prevailed over Joel Wincowski. Had Wincowski won, he would have pulled off the difficult feat of earning two NHC spots in one day. Oddly, Wincowski won a seat in the regular qualifier that had 165 entries and—using the same picks—he failed to land a spot in the Low Ratio tourney with only 37 entries. Such are the vagaries of contest play. A really good score (like Magnetti’s) can turn up anywhere.
We hope you turn up at HorsePlayers next Saturday for the $100 NHC Pick & Pray there.
Five packages are guaranteed, and it’s the last opportunity for people to earn 2019 NHC Tour Points. So the 2019 Championship (currently led by David Snyder) could come down to the results here. Note that there is a limit of three entries per player in this one.
In the meantime, have a great week ahead and, as always, thanks for reading.
Hi Eric, I read with interest your article, especially because I was in a few of the competitions. Last Wednesday I was in an early pick and pray qualifier for Pegasus. 8 races. First and second spots went to James Lisowsky with identical entries but only one big hit, Joyous times at Gulfstream, a first timer by Kathy Ritvo (less than 4% with firsters and no serious workouts). Oh well I thought, people hit long shots every day, I know some bettors pick the longest shot in every race, it happens, or, they just pick numbers. What was weird about Lisowsky’s entry was he picked 7 favorites and one ridiculous long shot. My conclusion was its inside information. Again an oh well from me. Friday arrives and I enter another Pegasus qualifier. A long shot comes in, My Sebastiani, paying 58.80 for a win, I’m guessing no ones got it as there’s really nothing there that would cause you to pick it. Lo and behold, James Lisowsky has it on both identical entries. He strikes out on all other 10 races and he had plenty of form selections but didn’t go for one more bomb. This can’t be right I tell myself, its like getting a Royal Flush twice in a week, it just doesn’t happen. So, I google Mr. Lisowsky as I think he’s got serious inside info and works at the track (and I should add that’s fair game as long as its within the rules of the competition). I come across your story of November 26 where he hits one giant bomb, claims a story about knowing Ron McNally (which is believable , I get it, I know trainers and I might pick a few blindly) and wins all the competitions that day with the same pattern.
If he played only longshots I would get it. I’ve been playing for 50 years, I also play poker every week. This pattern is just really unbelievable. I’d appreciate someone giving me logic behind these picks as this is just too difficult for me to grasp,. Further, I’m playing the Pegasus next week in person next week and want a level playing field.
And, why is he even entering 2 entries as he’s already got a Pegasus entry (or maybe 2)) and its capped at 2 and his entries are identical?
Hi Danny. The best answer may be what you wrote above: “People hit longshots every day.” That’s especially true (or at least especially visible) with people like Lisowsky who play a lot of tourneys. I do think we can somehow drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out what people liked about horses that look implausible to us. This and $2.75 will get you a ride on the NYC subway…but I liked My Sebastiana…a lot. I do know from interviews that Lisowsky likes to play two identical entries in contests…sometimes without regard for other factors. He did that in last Friday’s Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifier even though just one prize was available (!)