These weekend recaps normally cover the Friday/Saturday/Sunday featured action. However, I’ve decided to now include Wednesday in these summaries for two main reasons:
1. We now have some pretty impressive Wednesday offerings—including NHC and Spa & Surf qualifiers.
2.If you’re like me, being home all the time makes it hard to keep the days of the week straight anyway. So why discriminate?
Actually, discriminating handicappers do seem to enjoy the Wednesday action.
That’s no less than 2013 Horse Player World Series champ James Henry (4 wins, 2 places) on top of the leaderboard of Wednesday’s $75 NHC qualifier. He may have won this event simply because of his…discriminating…use of 7s. While fourth-place finisher Nicholas McMurdy used them all, Henry just selected three—and all three won, including Legendary Song ($16.60, $5.60) in the final tourney race, the 4th at Fonner.
Jim Lisowsky is another formidable competitor who wasn’t shy about jumping into the Friday pool.
Lisowsky selected two winners en route to victory in the day’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier…but he did much of his scoring via his three runners up. In fact, his single biggest collection in any race came via his max, $22.00 place collection in the opener at Fonner.
Brett Wiener was another Wednesday big name who used “The Fon” as a springboard to success.
Actually Wiener (4 firsts, 2 seconds) had plenty of luck at Tampa and Will Rogers Downs too. He cashed in each of the first five tourney races—all held at those two tracks—before nailing 7-1 Legendary Song at Fonner to walk off with $2,142 in Wednesday’s $2,000 Guaranteed cash game, which closed with a final purse of $4,285.
On Friday, Wiener demonstrated that he was pretty good at Gulfstream too.
He had three winners at the Hallandale oval (including 12-1 Singsong Bird in the final tourney race) plus two more over at Tampa to supercharge his week’s cash earnings with another $7,256 in Friday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which ended up with a pot of $16,126. (Kudos to last week’s superstar Dylan Donnelly, who picked up another $3,225 for running second in this one.)
Florida resident Wiener was apparently so comfortable dealing with just Sunshine State tracks that he took shots in a couple of other Friday features.
The results were similarly sunny for Brett in Friday’s $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers. There were enough entries to provide “Bally’s Berths” to the top three finishers. Stephen Gravina finished second to earn his second NHC seat in seven days. On Saturday, March 29, Gravina won his first spot by finishing second to the now-double-qualified Dylan Donnelly…who wound up third in here. Since Donnelly was (already) playing for just the Tour points, the third available berth slid down to the fourth-place finisher—none other than NHC Hall of Famer Paul Shurman. Quite a gaudy quartet here!
In case you’re scoring at home, here are the picks that Brett Wiener used in his Friday Pick & Prays.
And he used them in Friday’s Spa & Surf Showdown as well.
Here, Wiener drew off to a $38.60 triumph over fellow $2,000-entry winner Pete Acocella, who secured his place in the Spa & Surf starting gate by picking final-tourney-race victor Singsong Bird ($27.60, $9.60) and getting up for second by just 40 cents.
The only first-place finisher of a Friday feature who wasn’t named Brett Wiener…was Thomas Michael Abinanti.
Abinanti registered five winners, including Singsong Bird in the tourney finale.
Another early star of the 2020 campaign made his presence felt on Saturday.
Having already won $88,000 in the inaugural Flo-Cal Faceoff (and $31,000 before that for finishing first in the NHC First Chance/Last Chance contest at Bally’s), Thomas Blosser can now set his sights on a Flo-Cal/Spa & Surf double. Blosser had 2 wins and 4 places to lead the way. “Battlin’” William Smith hit an $18.00 place horse in the final race to grab the other available $2,000 entry to the $150,000 Guaranteed online event here on August 15-16.
It wasn’t exactly a slash across the ankles…but William Smith was less lucky in Saturday’s BCBC qualifier at HorsePlayers.
Here, Smith had to settle for a $5,000 partial BCBC entry—because Frank Story topped him with 4 wins and 2 places, including a 17-1 Gulfstream Race 6 winner with the somewhat ironic name of Smitten for Smitty. (For those who are wondering…yes…Smith also had Smitten for Smitty.)
Back here at HorseTourneys, Hesham Ragab distinguished himself as the weekend’s biggest winner.
Ragab didn’t need multiple tourneys to achieve that distinction. He earned it simply winning Saturday’s $20,000 Guaranteed Live-Format cash tourney. Ragab booked 7 winners and one runner-up to make off with the top prize of $16,659 from a final total pot of $41,648. (This and several other tourneys on Saturday and Sunday were converted from an All Optional Live format to a traditional live format once Golden Gate announced on Friday that they wouldn’t be racing during the weekend. That cancellation would have led to a less-than-adequate array of races for All Optional Live players to pick from.)
The high score of Saturday was put up by Scott Cavalieri.
Cavalieri cracked the $200 mark by selecting 5 winners and 2 placers in Saturday’s NHC qualifier which—once again—had enough entries for us to award one spot more than the guaranteed amount. The two others to punch their tickets to Vegas were Eric Gielata (4 winners, 0 places) and Alex Hofbauer (3W, 2P).
Here’s a look at Cavalieri’s lofty Saturday scorecard:
The one player to win a featured event on Saturday without cracking triple digits was Todd Van Drie, who turned the trick despite blanking on the first five races in the day’s qualifier to the June 27 Lone Star Park Spring Betting Challenge.
Van Drie enjoys playing tennis…so it is appropriate that his big scorer among his two wins and a place was Roddick ($42.80, $13.80) in the 7th at Gulfstream.
If you wanted to only pay attention to the big winner of the day on Sunday, you needed to see Seeman first.
Seeman (no relation to the Long Island furniture mogul…as evidenced by the fact that he spells his name differently) earned an all-inclusive package to the September 19-20 The BIG One at Laurel thanks to 3 wins and 2 places along these lines:
The BIG One was a live-format qualifier. So was Sunday’s play-in to the Monmouth Pick Your Prize tournament….but Seeman played it like a Pick & Pray.
He used the exact same picks as in the qualifier to The BIG One to earn his seat at Monmouth.
Seeman also had the right to change his picks at any time during Sunday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier. Fortunately for him, he chose not to.
All in all, it was a $10,000+ day for Seeman, who pulled off the rare feat of sweeping all of the day’s qualifying events here at HorseTourneys. Also picking up a $2,000 Spa & Surf entry in this one was runner up Jon “Hurricane” Hurd. (3 wins, no places). Since the Showdown is an online event, you can be sure that Hurd will be further stepping up his always-strong (and fun) Twitter game come August 15-16.
There were a couple of five-figure cash tourneys taking place on Sunday. One was our sold-out, $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks event.
Glenn Bechtel led the way in this high-end, $1,150 buy-in game. He picked 3 winners — topped by Alydarius ($38.00, $9.20) in the 6th at Tampa. Not to be overlooked is Bechtel’s one place collection…since he wound up finishing first by just $1.60. That $1.60 meant a first-place prize of $14,960 for Bechtel…from a total kitty of $21,372.
Our more moderately-priced ($195) five-figure tourney was our $12,500 Guaranteed No Limit game.
Peter Kovic opened up daylight on the field by hitting three out of the first four winners—at odds of 7-2, 18-1 and 16-1. He cooled off from there but he lead stood up as he held on for a $2.60 decision over runner up Joseph Muzio, Kovic earned $10,561 from a final prize pool of $23,470. Muzio collected $4,224 for his gallant, second-place finish.
There were two other cash games here on Sunday. One was our $1,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney.
G.T. Nixon had four successful three-horse exacta boxes—topped by a $112.20 score for a buck in the 7th at Tampa—to pull in the top prize of $1,367 in a game ultimately worth a total of $2,734.
Sunday’s other “cash money” game was the $8 Pick 6 Jackpot tourney.
This one was tough. A longshot won the first leg, and no one was alive for the big money by the time the second race had gone official. Top honors went to Jim Bohnhoff…and the lack of any perfect tickets meant that next week’s Jackpot will start at $8,030.
Sunday’s top score of the day came in the day’s NHC qualifier over at HorsePlayers.
Again, there were three spots available in a two-seats-guaranteed tourney. Gary Bain led the hit parade here, followed by 2019 NHC Tour Champion David Snyder (3 wins, 2 places) and 2014 NHC winner Jose Arias (4 wins, 0 places).
For his part, Bain selected four on top and one down below:
Dane Moore was knocking on the door in a whole bunch of Sunday featured events. The one that wound up working out for him was the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio event.
“The Great Dane” had just two winners, but they were good ones, and they came in back-to-back Tampa races—Alydarius ($38.00, $9.20) in race 6 and Eyerish Inspired ($34.20, $11.00). Those two plus one runner up added up to a $25.40 margin of victory and a $10,000 BCBC seat.
That about does it for this week’s “weekend” recap…and as I look at the calendar, I see next weekend is just two days away! See you then.