These spectator-less Triple Crown days work just fine for Michael Somich.
The Los Angeles-based sales executive hit 15-1 longshot Power Up Paynter in Saturday’s finale at Belmont to jump up the leaderboard and win the day’s $50,000 Guaranteed cash tourney, which ultimately ended up with a total purse of $80,052. Somich’s share of that was $32,021.
Somich’s biggest salvo came at the end, of course, but central to his victory were three earlier place collections that returned $15.60, $11.00 and $5.80. Here’s a look at his productive Belmont day scorecard.
The $80,000 cash game was just one of 27 marquee games during a featured-tourney week that began on Wednesday.
Anthony “Doczilla” Trezza had an 11-1 winner in the 7th at Gulfstream, a 9-2 victor in the 7th at Tampa and a place mixed in there somewhere as well. Those three cashes, however, were nothing compared to his hit with Temple Tour ($40.00, $11.80) in the 5th at Lone Star. They all added up to victory for the New Jersey optometrist in Wednesday’s $75 NHC qualifier. Trezza will now have 20/20 vision in both eyes for the NHC…since he now has two entries.
Always partial to Pick & Prays, Trezza also decided to utilize the same picks in Wednesday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.
Only the sight-impaired would have trouble seeing Trezza’s name at the top of this leaderboard as well.
Wednesday’s $2,000 Guaranteed cash game was run in live format.
The winner was Derek Isenberg, whose winners in the final two contest races capped a 5-win, 1-place day that earned him top money of $2,519 in a game that finished with a pot of $5,599.
Also on Wednesday was a qualifier to Saturday’s Xpressbet Belmont Stakes Challenge.
The winners of $3,000 entries here were Steven Meier and Peter Duca.
The Last Chance qualifier to the Xpressbet Belmont Challenge took place on Friday.
Four skillful players moved on to Saturday from this one: Gary Wright, Scott Trabucco, Michael “The Champ” Beychok and Kirk Rockwell.
We’ll jump ahead slightly at this point to tell you that the big winner in the field of 72 for the Xpressbet Belmont Stakes Challenge was Sammy Richman, who ran his starting bankroll up to $30,018—which was good for a seat to the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship plus a cash bonus of $24,937 (in addition to his final bankroll, which Richman, of course, gets to keep). Finishing second, third and fourth—and earning NHC seats plus four-figure cash bonuses—were Mike Mulvihill, Ed Deicke and Clinton Anuszewski, respectively.
Getting back to Friday, if the day’s featured tourneys were, collectively, a hockey game, the number-one star would have been Gary “Macho Man” Machiz.
Machiz’s winning score of $120.80 in Friday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray was more than $40 more than anyone scored all day long. Here’s a look at his scoresheet:
When all was said and done, Machiz trotted over to the cashier’s window to pick up the grand prize of $8,753 from a total purse of $19,451.
In general, there weren’t many big prices out there on Friday. The two highest paying horses in the 10 contest races went off at 7-1…and Paul Yaffee had them both.
Those two, plus two other wins and a place, led Yaffee to victory in Friday’s $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers. Christopher Magnoli (5 wins, 1 place) grabbed the other available seat by $2.30 after taking the final two races at odds of 4-1 and 7-2.
Four wins, two places and a score of $66.00 got it done for Eric Kurzhal.
Kurzhal prevailed by $3.90 in Friday’s BCBC Low Ratio qualifier, earning a $10,000 entry to the prestigious live-bankroll event.
David Nelson won a featured tourney for the third consecutive weekend.
Nelson prevailed by $3.50 in Friday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier. The $2,000 Showdown entry went to Nelson (2 wins, 3 places) thanks to Lucky Latkes getting up late for second in the 10th at Belmont, providing Nelson with a $6.60 place return.
Another player winning for a third consecutive weekend was Steve Nemetz.
Nemetz also extended his string in a Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier—this one coming on Saturday when both he and Bryan Doranski each won spots in the $150,000 Guaranteed online event on August 15-16. Both had 4 firsts and 2 seconds over the course of the 12-race Belmont Stakes Day card, and both powered up strongly at the end with Power Up Paynter ($33.40, $12.60).
There were several other big tourneys on Saturday—including our first Saturday qualifier of the year to The BIG One.
Wendy Long (4 wins, 1 place) hit three out of the final four races (including Power Up Painter) to come away with the grand prize, which includes an upfront $500 cash prize in addition to the paid-up entry to the “high expectation” tournament—to be held online this year on September 19-20.
Another lucrative Belmont Stakes Day tourney was our $25,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.
Wayne Collier warmed up with four places…followed by six big winners which added up to $115.00—the high total of the day. Collier’s reward was a nice $13,990 out of a total prize pool of $34,975. Michael Somich finished 5th here, which added another $1,748 to his Belmont Stakes Day winnings.
Saturday was the day of our last chance qualifier to this coming Saturday’s Lone Star Spring Betting Challenge (rescheduled from earlier in the year when the name would have been more chronologically accurate).
Congratulations to Sean Alvarez, Josh Thorpe and Curtis Meyer, who each emerged with $1,000 entries after surviving a tough battle atop a bunched-up leaderboard. All three winners had Power Up Paynter in this Pick & Pray, and all three will now put on 10-gallon hats and head to Texas for a rare (for 2020) onsite tourney.
We normally only have $1,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourneys on Sundays, but since it was Belmont Stakes Day, we threw one onto that schedule as well.
Zac Scurlock is glad we did. He had four successful three-horse exacta boxes on the day. The first three were small, single-digit payoffs. The last one was anything but small—$224.25 for a dollar in the Power Up Paynter race.
All together on Saturday, just in featured-tourney events, we paid out over $145,000 in cash. A bit more than $28,000 of that total came in our first-ever Big Bucks Deluxe tourney.
Essentially it was a regular $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks game with an $1,150 entry fee, but we didn’t limit entries to 20 (since it was Belmont Stakes Day). We wound up attracting 28 entries, and the best among those on Saturday was Jon Petoskey. Like virtually all of our Saturday winners, Jon had Power Up Paynter—and that, plus three other winners and two runners up, led to a “deluxe” payday of $17,098.
Power Up Paynter was no less important to have at HorsePlayers as at HorseTourneys.
Rick Vasquez had “PUP” among his 5 wins and 2 places en route to victory by $22.30 in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier.
Mark Robbens (6 wins, 1 place) swept races 5-8 at Belmont, then added Power Up Paynter as the coup de grace in the 12th.
The result: Robbens punched his ticket to Vegas in Saturday’s NHC “Maiden Special.”
Lately Dylan Donnelly is to HorseTourneys what a priest is to his parish—he does his best work on Sundays.
After winning four tourneys on June 14, Donnelly came back seven days later to take the top spot—and the $10,406 that went with it—in the $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which had a final pot of $23,125. Donnelly (5 wins, 2 places) catapulted himself from 8th to 1st in the last race thanks to Blitzkrieg ($16.80, $7.80) in the 10th at Santa Anita.
That $23,125 game was a Pick & Pray, but Donnelly used the identical selections in Sunday’s BCBC Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers.
Same picks, same result…and yet another five-figure return for Donnelly.
It was Evan Trommer (4 wins, 3 places) who came out on top in Sunday’s $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray.
Trommer earned the top prize of $11,398 in a game ultimately worth a total of $16,284. We’ll note that Dylan Donnelly added another $1,608 to his war chest for finishing third here (and, as you may have noted, he cashed for $1,119 for running second in Wednesday’s featured cash tourney).
Sean O’Malley whiffed on his first five Sunday plays…
…but he connected on two winners (including Blitzkrieg) and two placers over the final seven. That landed O’Malley as best of 14 in Sunday’s NHC Low Ratio qualifier.
Vaughn Bair had Blitzkrieg and a 9-2 winner immediately before that.
That “late double” capped a 4-win, 1-place day that netted Bair an entry (plus $500 in cash) to The BIG One where he will be one of no more that 57 in the field playing for cash and 10 major tournament seats.
Christopher Dewey’s 6 wins and 1 place provided the ingredients for the day’s high score.
It came in Sunday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier…in which runner up Jon Petoskey also picked up a $2,000 entry—to go with his $17,000 Big Bucks windfall the day prior. Great weekend of handicapping by Petoskey!
And a great day of handicapping by Dewey. Here’s a look at how his day went:
Michael Marlaire selected three successful three-horse exacta boxes on Sunday.
Most notable of them was his $64.90-for-$1 hit in the 10th at Gulfstream. The performance earned Marlaire the top prize of $700 in the $1,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney.
Laurie Siefert had 4 winners to show the way in Sunday’s $8 Pick 6 Jackpot tourney.
The Jackpot remains unfit, however. So next Sunday it will start off at $14,209.
Last but not least, Bob Gilbert failed to have Blitzkrieg in the last race…but he was doing so well up to then in the NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers that it didn’t really matter.
Gilbert (5 Wins, 2 places) won a “Bally’s Berth” as did second-place finisher Joe Kasperski (6W, 1P) who DID have Blitzkrieg to charge up into the money.
I have to say that Belmont Stakes Day was a little weird this year—never more so than when it was time for the horses to get saddled up for the big race and there was almost no one in the big Belmont paddock. It struck me as the latest odd tableau in what has been a very difficult year. Thanks to you and your contest enthusiasm for bringing a sense of fun and, dare I say, normalcy to the weekend. Hope to see you back here next week.