The vast majority of featured tourneys were Pick & Prays this week at HorseTourneys. That often means that we see a few multiple winners who play the same set of 10 or 12 horses in more than one event. Last week we saw more than a few.
Thursday was a pretty accurate snapshot for the weekend.
Stephan Gravina turned his $79 entry fee into $2,550 by hitting 5 winners and 2 places in Thursday’s $2,500 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which wound up with a final pot of $5,668. Simultaneously, he saved himself $1,844…
…by grabbing a $2,000 Players Championship entry for the low, low price of $156. Here are the 10 horses that made Gravina’s $4,550 Thursday possible.
Nothing too fancy here. Just solid handicapping, highlighted by a nice “late Pick 4” that was spread across Gulfstream, Golden Gate and Turf Paradise.
The featured-tourney week began on Wednesday—when an important name on the contest scene jumped up and stole the headlines.
Steve Terelak doesn’t play in all that many contests these days, but when he does dive in, he usually means business. Did you know that he was third (behind Steven Walker and Maury Wolff) in the first-ever NHC? The Californian has numerous contest victories to his credit—the latest being Wednesday’s Players Championship qualifier which saw Terelak record the day’s high score.
You can see that Terelak’s big horse was Leyenda in the 6th at Gulfstream. Sean Nolan (4 wins, 1 place) and Jeff VanDrie (4 wins, 1 place as well) both had Leyenda too, and they also earned $2,000 Players Championship entries for finishing second and third behind Terelak. For Nolan, it would be the first of two Players Championship entries he’d earn during the week.
In Wednesday’s $4,000 Guaranteed cash game, Tim Averill had four winners that paid $13.20, $26.80, $13.40 and $8.20…
…but it was his lone runner up—which came in the final race and paid $4.20 in the place hole—that got Averill first place and the $3,079 that went with it. Final purse for the tourney came to $5,668.
As noted at the top, most of the week’s multiple winners did their damage in a single day…but not Tim Averill.
He followed up Wednesday’s cash-game success with a nice third behind Chuck “Math” LeFevre (4 wins, 2 places) and Alexa Zepp in Friday’s Players Championship qualifier that saw all three grab $2,000 entries to the middle leg of the Tourney Triple.
She was second-best in the “PC” game, but in Friday’s TSG Ultimate Betting Challenge qualifier, Zepp left her opponents trampled under foot.
Zepp’s 3 wins and 2 places were the perfect tools to shift into overdrive and motor past Temecula, Calif., car dealer Michael Caposio, whose runner-up performance was also worth a $3,000 Ultimate Betting Challenge entry for March 6th.
There’s another online contest taking place on March 6th—the NYRA Bets Gotham Challenge.
Michael “Copa” Kavana won our first qualifier to it thanks to 3 firsts and 1 second. His four collections were topped by Kartano ($24.60, $13.20) in the 10th at Gulfstream.
Stephen Lerma had Kartano plus another 11-1 shot, Sensemaker in the 3rd at Santa Anita.
Those two juicy prices plus two other winners and two places got Lerma the top money of $8,304 in Friday’s $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed with a final pot of $18,453.
The big winner on Saturday was Tyler Hoffman, who had 6 firsts and 2 seconds.
Hoffman took those eight collections and parlayed them into a very healthy return, starting with a $2,000 Players Championship entry.
Also earning spots in the April 2-3 event (which already has 70 spots filled) were the 2nd-, 3rd- and 4th-place finishers Mark Elsass (6 wins, 2 places), NBC hockey and horse racing analyst Eddie Olczyk (6W, 1P) and Stephen “The Undertaker” Thompson (3W, 4P).
Hoffman also took his talents—and his selections—to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier at HorsePlayers.
And also to the $100 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers.
Hoffman was bested here by Ryan Flanders, who had the high score of the day thanks to seven winners, and Mike Ferrozzo (5 wins, 1 place), but there were enough entries for those three plus 4th-place finisher Ryan Knottek (5W, 1P) to all scoop up 2022 NHC berths.
That’s not all that Knottek won with those picks.
Three of Knottek’s five winners paid $19.00, $19.80 and $22.20 en route to a grand prize of $13,990 in Saturday’s $25,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed its doors with $34,975 in the till.
Even more money was won on Saturday by Paul Cush.
Cush took the cash in Saturday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray by collecting on the first three races and the final four races. He wound up with 4 wins and 3 places, and because this event was sold out with 20 entries, it meant a sizable payday for Cush of $14,248. The final purse finished up at $20,235.
Big money was harder to come by in the weekend’s two $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourneys.
David Barnier and Marikate Carter were both 3-for-3 heading into the final leg of the sequence, the 6th at Santa Anita. And they each correctly eschewed 1-2 favorite Whisper Not, who ran second. However, neither had the 10-1 winner of the turf allowance, Gregdar.
Robert Seifert took top honors in Sunday’s edition by coming up with the final two winners.
No one went 4-for-4, though, so next Saturday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney will start out with a carryover of $1,695.
On Sunday, only Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski had a better day than Dane Moore.
Moore had 3 wins and 2 places to edge Zachary Agamenoni (4W, 1P) by 20 cents and Russell Priola (4W, 0P) by $9.80 in our first qualifier to the April 19th Keeneland Grade One Gamble…but there were enough entries for all three to earn $3,500 packages to the springtime event that can be played at either Keeneland or Xpressbet. All three had Zipper Mischief ($26.60, $12.00) in the final contest race, the 8th at Santa Anita.
We’re not sure whether Moore will play the Grade One Gamble from Keeneland or Xpressbet, but he’ll definitely have action at Xpressbet on March 6th.
Moore’s same picks earned him a $3,000 entry to the TSG Ultimate Betting Challenge. Opposing “The Great Dane” in that one will be runner up Alfred Dagostini (4 wins, 2 places), who secured his TSGUBC berth by virtue of catching a maximum $22.00 place payoff in the final contest race (the Zipper Mischief race) with 33-1 shot Hammering Lemon.
Moore also now has plans for April 2nd and 3rd.
Victory #3 for Moore came in Sunday’s Players Championship qualifier. He will be joined there by runner up Sean Nolan (who also grabbed a Players Championship spot on Wednesday) and by third-place finisher Evan Trommer.
Trommer’s “bronze medal” in the Players Championship qualifier was as good as a gold since it paid the same. And his score of $83.00, in fact, earned him a gold medal in Sunday’s Low Ratio Keeneland Grade One Gamble qualifier.
Trommer (4 wins, 3 places) was best of five here. Actually, he was best of four since two of the five entries were his! Hydra ($18.00, $6.40) was the horse that did Trommer the most good.
There was also a second Sunday qualifier to the Players Championship. This one wasn’t a Low Ratio game, but. rather, an All Optional Live play-in.
William Roth prevailed here, coming up with 2 wins and 3 places from his 10 plays that were spread out among 25 available contest races. By far, Roth’s best play was his first one—Ill Will ($55.00, $15.60) in the 5th at Gulfstream. (And his second best play was his second one…since that was his other winner.)
Sunday’s best score of the day was recorded by Gary Blair in our $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.
Blair used an unassailable strategy in this competition. He started fast, clicking with a $17.60 winner in the first contest race. He finished fast with Zipper Mischief ($26.60) in the last race. And he went fast in the middle with four more winners to finish with a total of six on top. That performance resulted in a $29.40 triumph that earned Blair $10,872 from a final overall purse of $24,160.
Phillip Conway’s victory in Sunday’s $7,500 Big Bucks game was much closer.
Like Alfred Dagostini, Conway (4 wins, 2 places) came up with 33-1 Hammering Lemon in the 8th at Santa Anita for a capped $22.00 place return that got him up into first place by $2.80. That meant a winner’s share of $7,836 in a game ultimately worth a total of $11,195.
The lone feature at HorsePlayers on Sunday was a live-format, Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio qualifier.
Zipper Mischief was among Thomas F. McNamara’s band of 3 winners and 1 runner up. The quartet will have McNamara marching to the BCBC this November. Ryan Flanders, who won Saturday’s $100 NHC qualifier, came in second to garner a $5,000 partial BCBC entry.
This coming week, we’ll have an extra day of featured-tourney action since Monday is Presidents Day. Congratulations again to last week’s winners, and thanks to all of you for being part of the fun.