They say money goes to money. They also say when you’re hot, you’re hot. Whoever “they” is, they’re right because both of those things apply to Scott Fiedler.
Just five days after pulling in a whopping $248,000 for winning our Spa & Surf Showdown, the 51-year-old sports camp director from Babylon, N.Y., was at it again.
It was as if the Spa & Surf Showdown had never ended. Fiedler blitzed his opponents with 4 wins and a place from the first 6 races. He cooled off from there but by then, the damage had been done in Friday’s $15,461 Pick & Pray. We hope that Fiedler wasn’t too disappointed by the paltry (by his standards) return of $6,947. What a week!
Sean O’Malley’s week wasn’t too shabby either.
O’Malley got the featured-tourney week started by winning $2,350 in Wednesday’s $2,000 Guaranteed cash game, which closed with a purse of $4,700. Most of O’Malley’s scoring during a 2-win, 1-place afternoon came via Officer Matute ($45.40, $17.20) in the 5th at Delaware Park.
The stakes were higher for O’Malley in Sunday’s $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.
O’Malley had 3 wins and 2 places in this one, but again it was a single horse that accounted for most of his final total—Sapphire Silk ($44.20, $19.00) in the 4th at Del Mar. Here, the reward for O’Malley was $10,768 out of a total pot of $26,921.
It’s not often that you see someone win featured tourneys on two different days of a week like O’Malley did. It’s even rarer to see two people accomplish the feat in one week.
Evan Trommer had 3 firsts and 2 seconds on Friday to pick up a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry in the Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers. Then on Sunday…
…he cashed in the final five races—including a decisive triumph with Worthy Turk ($8.20, $4.00) in the tourney finale—to capture our $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks game. Trommer’s prize here was a winner’s share of $10,686 from a total purse of $15,266.
For Trommer, it was his fourth featured-tourney victory over the last three weekends. Two of those four tallies netted him Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entries.
Getting back to Friday action, there was a $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers, and it was dominated by the Tylers.
That would be Tyler Smith and Tyler Chaney. They were the unofficial (pending NHC Tour membership verification) winners of Bally’s Berths. Smith (no relation to McKay…Smith is a common last name) got up in the last race with Honey Don’t ($16.60, $5.40) in the 6th at Monmouth.
By the way, we don’t mean to question the integrity or worthiness of Smith or Chaney regarding their NHC qualifier win. It’s just that we had a non-NHC Tour member win a qualifier recently so we’ve decided to insert the word “unofficial” in front of all such victories going forward…just to be safe. We’re confident, however, that Saturday’s NHC “Maiden Special” winner will pass muster once his verification process is complete.
That’s tournament stalwart Robin Buser on top thanks to 3 wins and 2 places. We hope he didn’t allow his NHC Tour membership lapse…though we ARE a bit surprised that he wasn’t already qualified. He’s several months behind his usual schedule!
There were also two Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifiers at HorsePlayers on Saturday. The $1,000 Super Low Ratio version was won, officially, by Allen Harberg.
Harberg had 4 consecutive winners early on and finished with 5 wins and 1 runner up. None of his victors went off higher than 5-1. Value-conscious shoppers will note that this guaranteed tourney drew a field of 10…which meant no takeout to players.
Of course, value-conscious BCBC shoppers may have instead opted,for the lower-cost, $179 qualifier on Saturday. Perhaps fittingly, it was won by someone named Kosco.
Matthew Kosco, to be precise. He picked winners in bulk, grabbing four of them (plus a place). His best value came in the last tourney race, with Del Mar Oaks winner Red Lark who returned a family-sized payoff of $40.20 to win and $14.00 to place.
Phillip Conway showed on Saturday that he is comfortable patronizing both the wholesale and high-end emporiums.
Conway (4 wins, 2 places) hit the last two races, including 19-1 Del Mar race 9 winner Red Lark to check out with the top prize of $15,221 in Saturday’s $260, $25,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed with a purse of $33,824.
Conway also purchased a pricey $1,150 entry to Saturday’s live-format, $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney.
This one proved to be a good buy too. Conway’s picks were slightly different in this one, but he had Red Lark where it counted, and he finished with 3 wins and 3 places to take the grand prize of $12,111 from a total prize pool of $17,301. So it wound up being a $27,000 day for him.
Our Saturday sold-out Pick & Pray qualifier to The BIG One went to David Pyrz.
Pyrz only had 3 runners up to show for his first 11 selections, but he came up big with Red Lark in the Del Mar Oaks at the end to earn the right to be one of no more than 57 in the field for the “High Expectation Tournament” on September 19-20.
It is “High Expectation” because out of 57 (at most) entries, 10 will win their choice of an NHC, BCBC or Pegasus entry, another five will win a choice of a Horse Player World Series entry or $1,500 in cash and, on top of that, the top finishers will divvy up a cash pool that is up to $131,990 (and growing with each successive qualifier).
Make no mistake, we wish the event could be at Laurel this year. Their staff is terrific, and they treat the event with the attention it deserves. However, the shift to HorseTourneys for this year only has meant that a lot of resources that would have gone to hospitality and amenities is being redirected to prize money—and you can still be a part of it all. Nine online qualifying spots still remain.
Also “still remaining” is the $8 Jackpot Pick 6 Jackpot.
Mark Bair had 4 winners on Saturday, but 4 is not 6, so that meant that $19,940 rolled over to Sunday. No one picked 6 on Sunday either…
…but David Wilganowski picked 5 with one of his entries and 4 with his other. That gave him the top two spots. Also, this was a surprisingly rare instance in which the player (Wilganowski, in this case) who lasted the longest without a miss went on to win the game. A 14-1 winner in the first leg at Saratoga helped make that possible. (Often a person with a streak intact plays chalk late and can get passed by someone who stumbled early but catches a price near the end.) In any event, the Jackpot for next Saturday’s $8 Pick 6 get-together will begin at $20,429.
Remember how a single Del Mar horse (Red Lark) made people happy (and others sad) on Saturday? Well it was much the same scenario on Sunday with Sapphire Silk ($44.20, $19.00) who won Del Mar’s 4th.
Sapphire Silk was Amy Brantley’s only winning horse, but that 21-1 proposition plus a pair of places (including one that maxed out at $22.00 in the place hole) got her home first in Sunday’s live-format qualifier to The BIG One. So Brantley will now be one of those aforementioned 57 competing here on Sept. 19-20.
Jim Trepinski had 2 winners in Sunday’s $1,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney—but he only really needed one of them.
Trepinski demoralized his foes in the first contest race by hitting a $1 exacta (exactor?) payoff of $213.30 in the 6th at Woodbine. Then he cashed for $112.70 in the Sapphire Silk race at Del Mar. Either of those on their own would have secured him the $700 top prize in a 10-entry game that was run with no takeout to players (and at a loss to HorseTourneys after track fees and credit-card deposit fees are factored in).
It took a while, but we finally filled a Ruidoso Handicapping Challenge qualifier. In fact, we had enough entries to award a pair of $400 entries to this Saturday’s event.
Eights were sort of wild in this one. Matthew Ransdell led the way with 4 wins and 4 places for a total of 8 collections. Dino Herrera (2 wins, 1 place) got up for second despite whiffing on the first 8 races. So while they took distinctly different paths to get there, both will wind up in the Land of Enchantment this Saturday.
The two highest scores of Saturday/Sunday were turned by the top two finishers in Sunday’s NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers.
James Aspenleiter and Kris Andaur were the two winners (unofficially, of course!). Aspenleiter had 3 wins and 2 places, and one of those places—the one that came in the last race—made the difference for him. Andaur also need to be good at the end. He had a robust 10 collections on 6 wins and 4 places. Two of those wins came in the final two races of the hard-fought competition. Here is a look at their respective Sunday scorecards:
A couple of weeks ago, we interviewed “Get” Christy Moore after her big win in the August 8 Xpressbet Travers Online Challenge. We understand that, since her victory, Christy’s husband Tim Yohler has taken some good-natured ribbing for being only the second-best handicapper in his household. Yohler had HIS say, though, on Sunday.
Yohler drew off under a hand ride to capture Sunday’s BCBC Low Ratio qualifier by $29.30. The victory brings him a $10,000 entry to the November live-bankroll contest..and some measure of renewed dignity back home.
We hope your dignity remains intact all week long. Or at least until Wednesday when you can risk some of it in our next featured tourneys. Qualifiers this Wednesday and Friday for the onsite, $500 NHC qualifier at Monmouth on Saturday will be just a couple of the offerings in the week ahead. Hope to see you there.