George Bosch Reels Off Five Sunday Victories; Robert Turner Picks Up a Pair of Spa & Surf Showdown Entries; Basil DeVito and Thomas Michael Abinanti Each Have Big Fridays (Weekly Recap, April 21-25)

Sunday was a yearmaker of a day for George Bosch.

The Brooklyn native was Brooklyn Strong and then some on Sunday, rattling off five triumphs—four in live-format games and one in a Pick & Pray. Because of the difference in formats, Bosch didn’t have the exact same pick in all five tourneys. Here’s a look at the “best version of Bosch” which showed itself in two of the five events.

These 8 winners translated into a payday worth $9,629 in Sunday’s $20,000 Guaranteed cash game (final pot: $21,399):

And a cut-rate NHC seat in Sunday’s $100 qualifier at HorsePlayers.

Such was Bosch’s domination that the other person who earned a Sunday NHC berth, Jay Johns, did so with a total that was $64.90 (more than a capper) behind.

The “lesser version of Bosch” wasn’t bad either. He had 7 winners in his other three entries—all but 28-1 Compensate in the 9th at Gulfstream. Despite the somewhat sizable omission, Bosch was still able to secure a $2,000 Monmouth Pick Your Prize seat.

And a Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry.

And a $3,000 spot in this Saturday’s Derby Day Challenge at Xpressbet.

Also landing a Derby Day Challenge berth was Tanya Taylor (2 wins, 3 places), who DID include Compensate among her 12 selections. 

The total Sunday haul for Bosch, regardless of how you value an NHC seat, comes to about $30,000…maybe more. Not a bad return on three hours of race watching and $1,128 in entry fees. And, of course, depending on how Bosch does in the Derby Day Challenge…and the Pick Your Prize Challenge…and the BCBC…and the NHC, the return could ultimately be quite a bit higher.

Michael Viscusi’s return on Wednesday was indisputably solid even if his margin of victory was slim.

Viscusi didn’t bother with runners up…but he came up with 6 modest winners out of 10 races. The productive horses ranged in price from $3.60 to $9.60 and, collectively, they added up to a first-prize return of $3,421 in Wednesday’s $6,000 Guaranteed cash tourney, which had a final purse of $7,603.

Nicholas McMurdy closed fast on Wednesday.

He nailed the final three winners—at win prices of $9.80, $3.60 and $16.20—to finish with 5 firsts and 2 seconds and lead the way in Wednesday’s Derby Day Challenge Pick & Pray qualifier. McMurdy will be armed with a paid-up $3,000 entry this Saturday at Xpressbet.

High score of the day on Wednesday was put up by Nick “48 Hrs.” Noce.

Noce recorded 5 winners—including Tomater Gator ($16.20, $8.40) in the 11th at Parx—to pick up an entry to the June 12th Monmouth Pick Your Prize Challenge on June 12th (weekend after the Belmont Stakes). 

Here’s a look at Noce’s Wednesday scoresheet:

Robert Turner also had Tomater Gator among his 5 firsts and 2 seconds.

The end result for Turner was a $2,500 Spa & Surf Showdown entry.

Turner obviously found the victory so thrilling that he decided to do it again on Sunday. 

Here, in a Low-Ratio tilt, Turner had just 2 wins and a place, but one of those winner’s circle visitors was Compensate ($59.40, $20.20) in the 9th at Gulfstream. Thus, over the course of five days, Turner has picked up his full complement of two entries to the $300,000 Guaranteed all-cash event (final leg of the Tourney Triple!) here on August 14-15.

In 1994, Mark Messier guaranteed victory prior to the New York Rangers triumph over the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. In 2021, Larry Messier, triumphed to win $3,235 in Thursday’s $4,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.

The parallels are spooky. Certainly Messier (3 wins, 4 places) was viewed as a devil by his opponents in the $7,189 game. His biggest collection came with Higher Truth ($20.40, $9.20) in the 6th at Belmont.

There were two double-winners during a Pick & Pray Friday.

Basil DeVito came flying down from the top rope with Friday’s high score in the day’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.

Basil DeVito

His tag-team partner (so to speak) at the Showdown will be runner up “Battlin'” William Smith, who came in second.

Here’s a look at DeVito’s scoresheet.

Somewhere in between the Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier (4 wins, 3 places) and the $75 NHC qualifier play-in, DeVito lost a winner and a runner up…but he still managed to emerge with one of the day’s two NHC seats.

Tyler Chaney got the other, of course, for showing the way with his 3 wins and 2 places. The trio of victors for Chaney came consecutively in mid-tourney.

The day’s other “twin killing” was pulled off by Thomas Michael Abinanti.

For storytelling purposes, we’ll say that Abinanti struck first in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio Pick & Pray at HorsePlayers. (In reality, his two victories occurred simultaneously.) 

Using the same set of 2-win, 3-place selections, Abinanti took Friday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier.

Abinanti’s best pick was One More Chapter ($24.60, $18.00), who was a dead-heat winner (and via disqualification no less) in the 9th at Pimlico. Drew Keaton (3 wins, 1 place) also benefited from the Pimlico post-race move-up, and he got the other available $2,000 entry. For Keaton, it was his 7th grand prize over the last three weeks. 

Another who loved the Pimlico stewards on Friday was Scott Fiedler.

The 2020 Spa & Surf Showdown winner didn’t win quite as much money as he did last year in the Showdown ($248,112)…but he did manage to pull in $6,750 for winning Friday’s $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray thanks to One More Chapter plus two other winners and a runner up.

Fiedler’s margin of victory was just 60 cents versus Paul Calia, who had to settle for second money of $3,000.

On Saturday, the two highest-paying horses both returned $21.20 in the win hole—Miss Leslie in the 9th at Pimlico and Snazzy Dresser in the 6th at Santa Anita. John Gaspar (5 wins, 3 places) and G.T. Nixon (5W, 1P) each had them both.

As a result, Gaspar and Nixon will each be present and participating at the 2022 NHC.

Nick “48 Hrs.” Noce also had the non-identical twin 9-1 winners.

So after picking up a $2,000 Monmouth Pick Your Prize entry on Wednesday, Noce grabbed a second one just…ahem…72 hours later. 

Count Gary Blair (4 firsts, 0 seconds) among the Miss Leslie/Snazzy Dresser fans.

Blair had $21.20 vision after the $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray—which fattened his bank account by $11,398. Final purse for the high-stakes game came to $16,284.

Not only did Nunzio Maniaci not only had Miss Leslie and Snazzy Dresser, he added four more winners to those two.

The maniacal 6-win performance not only meant a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry for Nunzio, it meant he had Saturday’s highest score.

You’d probably think by now that it was a foregone conclusion that Raymond Riley, the winner of Saturday’s $25,000 Guaranteed cash game, had both Miss Leslie and Snazzy Dresser. 

You’d be wrong.

Not only did Riley not have both…he didn’t have either one. How did he make up for what would seem to be two crippling omissions in a 138-entry tourney? He came up with 6 wins and 2 places. By keeping his composure and piecing things together, Riley bagged the grand prize of $14,289 in a game worth a total of $31,753. 

A late addition to the Saturday featured schedule was a Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.

Congratulations to Gary Leff (5 wins, 2 places) and Tim Moline (3W, 4P), who took home the two available $2,500 entries to the $300,000 Guaranteed, all-cash, Saratoga/Del Mar competition.

Neither Michael “Copa” Kavana on Saturday…

…nor Joseph Laliberte (who edged Kavana) on Sunday…

…managed to go 4-for-4 in winning their respective $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourneys over the weekend. That means this Saturday’s renewal will start out with a carryover of $2,227.

In Sunday featured tourneys not won by George Bosch (or Robert Turner or Joseph Laliberte), James Politano used 28-1 Gulfstream race 9 bomb Compensate as his kingpin among 2 wins and 2 places.

Those four collections earned Politano one of 50 available online berths to September’s The BIG One. For Politano, the victory continues a good run that saw him nab a Spa & Surf Showdown entry seven days earlier.

After the first 8 of 12 Sunday contest races, Paul Sadler had a meager score of just $4.20.

However, Sadler booked 2 wins and a place over the last three and emerged with the top prize of $6,411 in Sunday’s Big Bucks tourney, which closed up shop with a final pot of $9,159.

Jeff Higgins (4 wins, 1 place) and Chris McDonald (4W, 2P) were among those who were compensated by Compensate.

Compensate’s heroics will lead Higgins to the Spa & Surf Showdown with his $2,500 entry taken care of and McDonald to the Lone Star Million Betting Challenge with a $3,000 package in his hip pocket.

Last but not least, Sunday was our first qualifier to the $50,000 Guaranteed Exacta Extravaganza here on September 11-12.

Connie Gilbert (3 successful exactas) and Bruce Rossi (2) were the recipients of $500 entries to the 2-day, all-exacta-box tourney that will challenge contestants to make selections in every race of the Kentucky Downs and Woodbine cards. Both Gilbert and Rossi connected on the $155.40 (for a dollar) gimmick in the 9th at Gulfstream (the Compensate race). 

So concludes another fun week of featured-tourney action. And this week is Derby week…so plenty of people should have gambling on their minds in the days ahead. We’re not allowed to offer Churchill Downs races, but we’ll have tourneys on virtually all of the other tracks you care about most—and a lot less time between races too! Hope to see you then.

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