There were a lot of Pick & Prays last week, but a surprisingly small number of multiple winners in featured-tourney action—by our count, only a pair…and one of those came over two separate days. So things were highly competitive during something of a “share-the-wealth” week that began on Wednesday.
Cheryl Tayala picked 3 winners, including Marquet Malice ($56.40, $23.80) in the 7th at Tampa and Twisted Treasure ($25.00, $12.40) an hour later in the 9th at Tampa, to take home $3,639 in Wednesday’s $5,000 Guaranteed tourney, which settled its books with a final purse of $8,087. Here was her scorecard:
John “The Clocker” Nichols had neither of those Oldsmar, Fla., longshots on Wednesday , but he won a $2,500 Spa & Surf Showdown seat nonetheless.
While Tayala was right on at Tampa, Nichols (4 wins, 3 places) did most of his damage at Keeneland—most notably with Kobe B ($20.00, $8.80) in race 6—on the way to locking down his place in the $400,000 Guaranteed final leg of the 2022 Tourney Triple here on Whitney Weekend, August 6-7.
For George Kieras (4 firsts, 0 seconds) the lucky track was Aqueduct.
The Big A was where Tasty Wave ($40.80, $21.00) took race 5, propelling Kieras on to a victory worth $4,417 in Thursday’s $6,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed up shop with a pot of $9,815.
It really seems as though nary a week goes by when Evan Trommer doesn’t win a featured tourney. This week, he won two.
Trommer doped out 3 wins and 2 places to earn a $2,000 Monmouth Pick Your Prize seat for June 4th. And the Floridian played those same picks back in Friday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.
Here there were sufficient entries to hand out two grand prizes, and so Eddie Olczyk (2 wins, 4 places) of NBC Sports will be joining Trommer in the Spa & Surf starting gate. They both had Mighty Meister ($29.60, $9.60) in the 9th at Aqueduct.
You certainly can’t say Olczyk isn’t versatile.
Not because he was both a first-rate NHL player and is now a popular TV analyst. Not because he is equally capable covering the somewhat disparate sports of hockey and horse racing. But because he was able to win a grand prize here on both Friday and Sunday!
If Olczyk appears a bit harried during the Kentucky Derby telecast on May 7, it may be because he will be scrambling to finish his live hit and then enter his picks on Xpressbet for the Kentucky Derby Challenge—to which he won a $3,000 seat on Sunday thanks to 2 wins and 2 places. Slightly less harried on May 7 will be the other $3,000 seat winner, runner up Frank “Plaster of” Paros (5W, 3P), who is not scheduled to appear on the NBC telecast.
Rewinding back to Friday, the high score of the day came courtesy of Eric Brothers.
Brothers nailed the final three races to finish with 4 wins and a place and lead the way in Friday’s $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers.
Steve Laurent (5 wins, 1 place) checked in second while NHC Hall of Famer Roger Cettina (who also swept the final three races and finished with 4 firsts and 2 seconds) earned his second seat (already) to the 2023 event by finishing third. All three had Shannon ($51.00, $23.80) in the final race of the 10-race Pick & Pray.
Another Shannon backer was George Chute.
Shannon was the last and best of 4 winners (plus a place) for the Bay Stater on the way to a payday of $8,753 in Friday’s HT Tour event, our $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which paid out a total of $19,451.
Shannon was one of two late-day longshots that helped Jonathan Shaw…run away…from the field. If you wa-wa-wa-wa-wonder which Friday tourney we are referring to…
…it was Friday’s Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge play-in at HorsePlayers.
A similar late-day blitz created a similar result for Ryan McCarthy.
McCarthy finished his successful Kentucky Derby Challenge qualifying bid with 4 firsts and a second He gets a $3,000 entry for a week from Saturday.
On Saturday, the three highest-priced winners were a trio of 9-1 shots—and Richard Reese had all three!
Reese was well rewarded for his marksmanship.
He earned $14,830 in the weekend’s richest tourney, our $30,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which served as the day’s HT Tour contest and closed with a purse of $32,956.
Another “Richard R.”…Richard Resnik “only” managed to come up with two of the victorious 9-1 propositions…but he still managed to post Saturday’s highest score.
Resnik smoked out 4 winners and 2 placers in addition to his twin 9-1 victors, and that got him the top spot in Saturday’s NHC Pick & Pray at HorsePlayers.
Also punching his ticket to the March 2023 big dance was Anthony Mroz who, like Richard Reese, scored a 9-1 hat trick.
The other Saturday feature at HorsePlayers went to Rocky Hardy.
Hardy racked up 4 firsts and 2 seconds that added up to a $10,000 Breeders Cup Betting Challenge seat for him.
Drew Keaton (5 wins, 2 places) found none of the 9-1 goodies lurking out there on Saturday, but he chipped away consistently.
Having He’s Got It ($6.10, $3.30) elevated from 2nd to 1st via DQ at the end got Keaton up and into first place at the conclusion of Saturday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray. He bagged $8,549 from a total final prize pool of $12,213.
Scott Rubinchik also needed a final-tourney-race collection—in this case a $4.50 place collection on disqualified first-place finisher Sharp Sensation—to get where he wanted to be.
That place was first place…and, as a result, the $400,000 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown here on August 6-7.
Mark Acerra compiled 5 firsts and 4 seconds across his 12 contest-race selections on Saturday.
The 9 collections earned Acerra a $2,000 Monmouth Pick Your Prize Challenge seat.
Neither Derek Roseberry (final 3 winners)…
…nor David Turin (final 2 winners)…
…managed to go 4-for-4 in capturing their respective $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney victories over the weekend. So next Saturday’s Pick 4 Jackpot will begin with a carryover of $4,371.
Sunday was quite a low-scoring day. The highest tally, by just a tad, was provided by Shawn Heron in the day’s NHC qualifier.
The only price of note was Barrel of Quests ($22.80, $10.20) in the final contest race, the 10th at Aqueduct. Heron didn’t even have that horse, but still managed to accumulate a very-high-for-the-day $90.70 thanks to 5 wins and 3 places. The 2021 NHC Tour champ Kevin Costello (5 wins, 1 place) DID have Barrel of Quests, and he received the other available 2023 NHC spot.
Okay…so we said that Sunday scores were low. How low was low?
Christopher Kinum (3 wins, 2 places) certainly spotted himself well in Sunday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier. None of the 16 entrants managed to turn a flat-bet profit. That meant that Kinum, with a final score of $39.90 and a top-priced winner of $7.40, carried the day—and carried home the $2,000 seat for June 4th.
There was another Sunday qualifier in which no one showed a flat-bet profit.
And it was a pretty significant qualifier at that. Angelo Romeo (3 wins, 2 places) is headed to The BIG One after he caught a $15.60 place payoff in the final race to finish with a 12-race total of $46.80, topping all 24 of his opponents. Romeo also earned a $500 bonus for his win (as all The BIG One online qualifiers do). He will be one of no more than 57 in the September competition.
Brian “BC” Chenvert had two Sunday winners—one in the first race and one in the last.
That last one, Barrel of Quests, made up for the 10-race dry spell…but just barely. Chenvert earned the $10,000 seat to the “BC” by a margin of 20 cents.
Joseph Zuer came up with 5 Sunday winners.
The quintet rewarded Zuer to the tune of $5,699 in Sunday’s $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney, which closed with a purse of $8,142.
Barrel of Quests got Bruce Rossi (5 winners) up and into the money…
…the big money! The Dave “Honk if you like” Donk trainee moved Rossi into first place, earning him $12,501 in Sunday’s HT Tour tilt, our $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, where the final pot came to $27,781.
Michael Solakis (5 wins, 1 place) and Douglas Schenk (4W, 3P) were the two winners of $2,500 entries in Sunday’s qualifier to the $400,000 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown.
Solakis had Barrel of Quests at the end. Douglas Schenk did not. Schenk’s biggest return came with a runner up that paid $18.40 to place.
There was a trio of winners in Sunday’s qualifier to the April 30 Lone Star Spring Betting Challenge.
Congratulations to Ron Tackett (4 wins, 5 places), Stephen Nieswiadomy (5W, 3P) and Chris “Hoss” Inman (6W, 1P). Each will receive $1,000 entries for this Saturday’s on-track battle in suburban Dallas.
Thanks to all who played…or just read. We’ll do it all again in the week ahead. Hope to see you then.