It was quite a beginning to Memorial Day weekend for Terry Jerge.
There weren’t a whole lot of prices out there and, in a vacuum, Jerge Friday scorecard probably wouldn’t have been cause for any headlines.
It’s not how high Jerge scored, but what he accomplished with that score that proved plenty noteworthy, however.
Jerge topped Brett Wiener (3 wins, 4 places) by just 80 cents in Friday’s $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers. Wiener was just competing for points, however, so that left the two Vegas seats to Jerge and third-place finisher Jon Van Niel (5 wins, 3 places.
Jerge and Wiener also made up the exacta in the Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier…
…and in the Bally’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance play-in.
Here there were four winners, with Steve “People Are” Stange and Steven Culhane also securing $500 entries to the annual NHC Eve appetizer.
Jerge and his $78.90 made it four Friday celebrations after the day’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio qualifier…
…and then (or actually…simultaneously, I guess) Jerge made it five thanks to the Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier.
“Battlin’” William Smith (5 wins, 2 places) did the best of the rest here to get the other available $2,000 Jersey Shore seat.
When the Friday smoke cleared, Jerge had accumulated contest seats worth roughly $20,000. He opted not to do battle in Friday’s $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, however. A careful reader of the above few paragraphs has a good chance of predicting who won this one.
Wiener earned $8,004 out of a total final purse of $17,788. With a Friday score just 80 cents shy of Jerge’s, Wiener may have been tempted to curse his luck at some point during the aftermath. If only he had come up with an extra buck somewhere! However, since Wiener wasn’t in the BCBC qualifier…and since he still got grand prizes for finishing second in the Spa & Surf Showdown and Bally’s qualifiers, the only thing the dollar wound up costing him was a few extra NHC Tour points. So we’d like to think that there were smiles all around in the Jerge and Wiener households.
Dale Hatfield was certainly happy on Wednesday. He fired one of the first winning shots of the week in Wednesday’s $6,000 Guaranteed cash tourney.
Hatfield’s 4 winners and 3 places made him the real McCoy here, and he stormed off to win the $2,923 top prize by $37.00. The total pot that was being feuded over amounted to $6,497. Here’s his best-of-day scoresheet:
If Dale Hatfield was using a rifle on Wednesday, Jay Johns was blasting away with a double-barreled shotgun.
We say that not just because he finished both first and second to take home both available $500 entries to the Bally’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance tournament…but also because he did so by picking two different horses in each contest race. He had 3 wins and 2 places on his “good” ticket” and 5 wins and no places on his “bad” one.
Norma Mendoza (3 wins, 3 places) finished well above the “line” in Wednesday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.
Actually, there WAS something of a “Mendoza Line” of demarcation on Wednesday. All six of her collections came consecutively—in the first six races.
John Vail (4 wins, 0 places) and Richard Loftus (6W, 0P) were the two recipients of Monmouth Pick Your Prize seats on Wednesday.
The big horse for both was Kwik ($26.40, $6.20) in the 9th at Will Rogers Downs.
There was a shortage of available contest tracks on Thursday since many tracks passed on offering a Thursday card in favor of a Memorial Day card. That meant that the day’s featured $4,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray took place later in the day than usual.
The timing worked just fine for Mike Lazarus. His selection of Vivo ($22.20, $7.00) in the 8th at Canterbury Park was the key moment in his victory. Lazarus received a winner’s share of $2,453 from a final purse of $4,907.
Saturday’s high score was put up by Zachary Ledford.
And he needed almost bit of that $115.90 to carry the day in Saturday’s $25,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.
Ledford squeaked home by $2.00 thanks to 3 winners that included 23-1 Robintakincharge in the 10th at Gulfstream and 15-1 Kerik in the 10th at Belmont. He also had one place collection—which proved to be deceivingly important in Zachary pulling in the top prize of $13,357 in a game ultimately worth $29,683.
Nicholas McMurdy (2 wins, 4 places) and James Lisowsky (2W, 2P) both had Robintakinchage…
…and that enabled them to take charge in Saturday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.
Those same picks served Lisowsky exceedingly well in Saturday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray.
Here Lisowsky pulled in a customarily (for Big Bucks games) top-heavy winner’s cut of $9,973. The final overall pot came to $14,248.
Lisowsky tasted more success in Saturday’s Bally’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance qualifier.
Richard Reese (5 wins, 1 place) and Mike Elsass (also 5W, 1P) were the top two here in the battle for $500 NHC Eve seats. Lisowsky snuck in for third, though, to grab the final available entry.
Over at HorsePlayers on Saturday, Jim Trepinski (2 wins, 1 place) went from one extreme to the other to capture the day’s $179 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier.
Trepinski hit bomb Hoity Toity ($135.00, $47.00) in the next-to-last race (Gulfstream’s 12th) to leapfrog his way to the top. Then he successfully converted a 6-5 shot in the last race to preserve his slim, $1.60 victory.
Elizabeth Canning came up with 4 firsts and 1 second to finish first in Saturday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier.
Only the most sharp-eyed of you have, at this point, picked up on what made Canning’s victory rather unusual.
An oversight? A secret Baffert boycott? We may never know. In any event, Canning’s 10 beat everyone else’s 12.
Sean O’Malley and Dane Moore were the winners of the Saturday and Sunday $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourneys, respectively.
Neither of them managed to go for 4-for-4, though, so next Saturday’s Belmont Stakes Day Pick 4 Jackpot tourney will start with a carryover of $4,921.
On Sunday, Wendy Long had the day’s highest priced winner (just 7-1) and the day’s highest score.
These selections led to a victory by $33.60 in Saturday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier…
…and also to an NHC seat.
Long will be joined in Vegas next January by Dr. Ronald Tang (4 wins, 2 places). He, too, had tote shaker (relatively speaking) Tapit’s Flashback.
Tang also had a very productive second-place finish in our first qualifier to the June 5th Xpressbet Belmont Challenge.
Tang couldn’t beat Phil Lam (5 wins, 3 places), but he could beat Dan Brockman (4 wins and a place despite whiffing on last 5 races). No matter. All three earned $1,500 entries to this Saturday’s “Test of the Champion”-day test.
The Xpressbet/Belmont qualifier wasn’t the only play-in that Phil Lam won.
He also annexed (one of my favorite, old-school ,Daily Racing Form words) Sunday’s first qualifier to the Canterbury Big 10 BCBC Handicapping Contest. Lam moves on to the Thursday night final on September 16th, armed with a paid-up $3,000 entry.
Sunday’s big cash-game winner was Tom “Hit Em Where They” Arndt.
Arndt picked 5 winners (nothing higher than $15.00 in the win hole) and augmented that quintet with four runners up to collect top money of $10,017 in Sunday’s $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which had a final purse of $22,262.
Robert Schintzius Sr.’s five winners made Arndt’s five look like bombs.
Schintzius’s biggest went off at 9-2…but those five plus a place got Schintzius up by a narrow, 30-cent margin in Sunday’s Spa & Surf Showdown Low Ratio qualifier.
A total of 16 $500 entries were won last week to the Bally’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance tournament. Three of those 16 occurred on Sunday.
Congratulations to Karl Jacob, Cristina Brockman and Jeff Long. They’ll all have action on the day before the NHC.
Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi first made his mark as a high school coach in New Jersey (and he has a New Jersey Turnpike rest area named after him to prove it). On June 12th, Rocco Lombardi hopes to make his mark in New Jersey as well.
When the going gets tough, Rocco Lombardi picks winners. He had four on Sunday to go along with 3 runners up to claim the $2,000 Monmouth Pick Your Prize entry.
Mark Hagenbuch picked 5 winners, including Tapit’s Flashback ($16.80, $7.40) in the 6th at Belmont.
As a result, Hagenbuch will be in the field of no more than 57 for this September’s The BIG One, to be held once again this year right here at HorseTourneys.
Kevin Newell had three double-digit winners and three single-digit ones.
Those six firsts—plus two seconds—earned Newell a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry in Sunday’s Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers.
We are sorry to report that the HorseTourneys Accounting staff did not have an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.
Multiple visors and pocket protectors were seen thrown in utter disgust around the Accounting cubicles on Sunday and again on Monday when Evan Trommer (Sunday) and Kevin Willett (Monday) each won $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourneys that attracted just 6 entrants. That meant that both events went off at 8.6% overlays to the players. To help keep the peace in the St. Petersburg, Fla., offices, McKay Smith wisely elected to give his numbers crunchers Tuesday off, along with a promise to not offer such games again (at least until next weekend).
Maybe the figure filberts were just grouchy that Memorial Day was a longer day than expected. That was because of severe weather at Lone Star that caused the end of our featured tourneys to stretch past 9:20 pm ET. One players for whom patience paid off was Peter Deys.
There were two victorious 23-1 shots at Lone Star that were both part of our featured tourneys, and Deys (3 wins, 3 places) had each of them in our special $35,000 Guaranteed Memorial Day Pick & Pray.
Deys collected a sweet $16,475 from a final pot that finished up at $41,188.
Not that we doubted his willingness to purchase a $2,500 entry if need be, but Alan Levitt’s quest for a million-dollar bonus and contest seats via the Tourney Triple bonus system is now assured.
The 2021 Flo-Cal Faceoff winner, like Peter Deys, had both of the 23-1 winners in Texas, and so now his Spa & Surf Showdown entry is covered…as is Kelly Lawless’s. Kelly collected in the first 6 races en route to a 5-win, 2-place day.
Dane Moore, Jesus “Two Weeks” Severance, Michael Canale and Steve Arrison all enjoyed some Memorial Day success.
They each won $500 entries to the Bally’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance tournament.
There was another First Chance/Last Chance game of sorts on Monday—our one-time-only qualifier to this coming Saturday’s NYRA Bets Belmont Stakes Challenge.
The prize here was not insignificant—a $10,000 entry—and there, happily, were enough entries to hand out two grand prizes. One went to Scott “Spa & Surf” Fiedler (4 wins, 3 places) and the other went to Jeffrey Pesot (2W, 4P). Both Fiedler and Pesot came up with Our Iris Rose ($48.40, $8.00) in the pre-storm 7th at Lone Star.
Memorial Day was quite…memorable…for Pesot. In addition to grabbing his $10,000 NYRA Bets Belmont entry, Pesot got himself an NHC seat in Monday’s $100 Pick & Pray at HorsePlayers.
Pesot actually did $44.00 better in this one than in the NYRA Bets game…and he needed to just to get up for third. Normally, third doesn’t cut it in NHC qualifiers, but it did on this day thanks to a robust 297 entries. The two to outdo Pesot here—Louis Melone (4 wins, 3 places) and Laura Arth (4W, 2P) both finished very strongly, nailing 13-1 and 23-1 winners in the final two races of the Pick & Pray.
Sean O’Malley led the way in Monday’s qualifier to the Xpressbet Belmont Challenge.
O’Malley recorded 4 wins and a place to best fellow $1,500-entry earners Lawrence Kahlden (5W, 2P) and Dane Moore (3W, 1P). Perhaps this result also demonstrates that finishing first in a $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney brings one future good luck.
With 4 winners (and no places) Kirk Tesar won Monday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier.
We mean no disrespect to Tesar, but if he competes in the Pick Your Prize—which consists this year just of Monmouth races—we fear he may be missing his true calling.
Clearly Tesar should immediate quit his job, ignore all other tracks and just start playing Lone Star professionally. Based on how he did on Monday, anything else just seems…inefficient.
Whatever this past week’s featured-tourney schedule lacked in efficiency, it made up for in volume. We won’t have 38 features next week (because we won’t have four weekend days), but we’ll have plenty of really good ones, including both a $45,000 Guaranteed Live-format cash tourney and a $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray on Belmont Stakes Day. In the meantime, sincere thanks to all of you for spending part of your holiday weekend with us.