Sometimes we’re trained to think that to prevail in a big-day tourney, you almost have to sweep the card. That’s almost never the case, of course, and in our richest event of Breeders’ Cup Weekend, it wasn’t the case at all.
At the end of our 15-race, BC Championship-Race-only tourney spanning the two days of the Breeders’ Cup, Joseph Costello made off with the grand prize of $42,756 in the $50,000 Guaranteed event which closed with a six-figure purse of $106,890.
Costello’s scorecard revealed some really strong handicapping, but it did not contain Japanese bolt from the blue Marche Lorraine. And in the Friday section, it didn’t even possess a single winning horse.
Three place collections on Friday gave Costello a little something to work with on Saturday ($19.80 to be precise), but he found himself $41.00 behind Day 1 leader Mark Mitchell. And then, despite missing the day’s one true bomb, he chipped up just enough on Saturday that a “late double” of Yibir and Knicks Go allowed him to get all the way to the top. Well done!
Finishing fourth behind Costello was Miguel Wenceslao, who picked up $6,413 for rounding out the superfecta in the two-day tourney. Similar to Costello, Wenceslao had a better Saturday than Friday…and how!
Saturday’s $80,000 Guaranteed Live-format, full-card game closed with a purse of $93,309, and Wenceslao got $37,323 of that. Wenceslao’s total earnings across the two games came to $43,736. Key for him was a red-hot start that saw him sweep the first four contest races, including all three undercard heats (which weren’t part of the two-day tourney).
The hot start, plus the very nice pick of Aloha West in the Sprint, allowed Wencelao to survive a cold, 0-for-4 finish and still bag the top prize. And how about Anthony Spinazzola running 2nd and 4th with his two entries? That got him a total of more than $20,000.
Sticking with the big-money Breeders’ Cup cash tourneys—more or less in descending order of value—Bryan Milang earned $26,987 in Saturday’s $50,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed its doors with a pot of $67,467.
Two early places for Milang were followed by four nice winners—most notably the Japanese Distaff upsetter, Marche Lorraine.
Clint Littlejohn was the victor in Friday’s full-card, $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.
Littlejohn connected on two winners (including race 2 undercard cap horse Astronomer) plus two places to cash for $21,077 in a popular affair that closed with a final purse of $52,692.
The Friday Live-format, $25,000 Guaranteed tourney was taken by Dennis Tiernan who had Astronomer among three early winners that were followed by two late places.
Tiernan pocketed $14,944 in a game that was ultimately worth a total of $33,209.
There was also a $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray on Saturday that focused purely on the 12 races from Del Mar.
Rudolph Hardin got the winner’s share of $12,111 for having three winners (Loves Only You, Aloha West and Yibir) plus a runner up. The final pot for this one amounted to $17,301.
On Sunday, Hardin showed that he can pick winners in non-Grade I races too!
In fact, he had the high-score of the day in Sunday’s HT Tour event, our $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, to grab the winner’s share of $9,597 from the final pot of $21,328. Here’s a look at his scoresheet:
Rewinding a bit to the beginning of the featured-tourney week, we saw another Chenvert victory in Wednesday’s $6,000 Guaranteed cash game.
This time, though, it wasn’t Brian, but, rather, Brian’s father Bill. He 5 wins and 2 places, including Tropical Terror ($23.60, $7.80) in the 4th at Del Mar to snag $2,955 from a final purse of $6,566.
The winner of Thursday’s marquee cash game, a $5,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, was Bryan Ingram.
Ingram connected on two different victorious 10-1 shots en route to a 3-win, 3-place day that brought him $2,892 out of a final kitty of $$6,428.
Moving back (or forward, depending on how you look at it) to Breeders’ Cup Saturday, we saw the culmination of a 2-day, free NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers.
The top 10 percent of the 1,860 or so Friday entries advanced into Saturday’s final day of competition, and the five who emerged from that scrum with 2022 NHC seats were Greg Lesko, Bruce Warren, Eric Gielata, James Silvotti and Bill Shurman. All five had Aloha West in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
There was a Saturday qualifier to the $250,000 Guaranteed Flo-Cal Faceoff here on January 15-16.
David Nelson (3 wins, 2 places) came away with the sought-after $1,500 seat. He had loose-on-the-lead Knicks Go in the Breeders’ Cup Classic to get up late for the victory.
Neither Tim Catlett (2 wins) on Saturday…
…nor Mile Forzano (also 2 wins) on Sunday…
…went 4-for-4 in the process of capturing their respective $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourneys last weekend. So next Saturday’s Jackpot will begin at $755.
HorseTourneys played host to a 2-seats-guaranteed NHC qualifier on Sunday.
Mike McIntyre (3 wins, 0 places) and Evan Trommer (3W, 3P) each punched their ticket to the 2022 event in January. McIntyre’s big return came with the Chad Brown-trained Inflation Adjusted ($47.20, $21.80) in the 10th at Belmont, while Trommer’s biggest hit was with Brother Reid ($30.20, $14.40) in race 5 at Del Mar.
Ronald Tang (2 wins, 2 places) and Michael Marlaire (2W, 1P) both used Inflation Adjusted.
Thanks in no small part to the victorious Meadowlands “shipper,” Tang and Marlaire will both be in the field for the $250,000 Guaranteed Flo-Cal Faceoff in January. (Tang’s other winner was Brother Reid.)
Edwin Herr had a pair of firsts and a pair of seconds to win Sunday’s $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks game under wraps at the end.
Herr received $7,124 from a purse that wound up with a total of $10,177.
Thanks to all of you for a fun and lucrative Breeders’ Cup weekend. And condolences to those of you who needed Modern Games for a fun and lucrative Breeders’ Cup Friday