Anyone who played a featured tourney on Independence Day had the misfortune of having to deal with Jim Lisowsky, Evan Trommer…or both. At least one of them was among the winners in all five Monday marquee games.
The $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray belonged to Lisowsky—but not until he came up with a $6.00 place collection in the final race to edge past Altwon Richardson. Lisowsky earned $9,875 for the triumph in a Pick & Pray that closed with a final purse of $21,945. Richardson had to settle for second money of $3,950.
In Monday’s Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Pick & Pray, it was Trommer’s turn.
Trommer came up with 5 of the last 6 winners to finish with 6 firsts and 2 seconds and take home the $10,000 seat.
In Monday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier, Lisowsky and Trommer kept the booty to themselves.
If it seemed like Lisowsky and Trommer were building a wall around things on Monday, there were, at least, a couple of small cracks in it.
Kevin “Hercule” Perau (6 wins, 1 place) managed to outdo Trommer in Monday’s Haskell Challenge play-in, thanks to part to having the day’s biggest price—Breakthrough ($15.40, $6.60) in the 8th at Monmouth. Trommer did get the other available $1,000 Haskell entry, though.
Believe it or not, despite all their winning, neither Lisowsky nor Trommer was the Monday high scorer. That distinction went to John Behnke.
The hot start and the 6-win, 1-place performance rewarded Behnke with a 2023 NHC seat.
This was a special $100 qualifier guaranteeing 4 seats (Four on the Fourth, if you will). Tom Timlick checked in second with 5 wins and 2 places. Gary Bain ran third, but he was already double qualified and playing for NHC Tour points. So the remaining two seats went to Jim Lisowsky and Jimmie O’Nail who—similar to Lisowsky in the $21,000 game—got himself into the end zone thanks to having $6.00-to-place runner up Double Clutch in the final contest race, the 9th at Belmont.
All in all, it was a great Fourth of July for Trommer and Lisowsky.
Trommer picked up BCBC, Spa & Surf Showdown and Haskell seats, while Lisowsky reeled in $9,875 in cash plus NHC and Spa & Surf Showdown entries.
And, as it turns out, Lisowsky will be a dual threat in the $400,000 Guaranteed Showdown on August 6th and 7th.
He blanked on the first five races, but made collections in four of the remaining five to garner a $2,500 seat to the final leg of the 2022 Tourney Triple in Thursday’s Pick & Pray qualifier.
We also saw a three-bagger recorded on Sunday—by Donal Lydon.
With 4 wins and 3 places, Donal donned the crown in the Sunday Big Bucks tourney, which had a guaranteed purse of $7,500 and an actual purse of $9,159—$6,411 of which went to the winner.
That Big Bucks game was contested in Live-format, but with the benefit of hindsight, we can see that Lydon played it like a Pick & Pray—because he used the same 12 selections to capture Sunday’s qualifier to The BIG One.
Lydon’s 4 wins and 3 places also held up beautifully in Sunday’s $165 NHC Pick & Pray.
Matthew Nixon got the other 2023 berth for finishing second with 4 wins and a place.
Nixon also got himself a $2,500 Spa & Surf Showdown seat on Sunday for another second-place effort. But this time his vanquisher wasn’t Lydon…it was Keith Fenton.
Fenton’s score of $117.00 was the best put up on Sunday—and he did it despite not having the day’s biggest win price (the $19.40 returned by Bion Magic in the 8th at Gulfstream). However, Fenton had the other three double-digit winners out there to lay claim to the top spot and the $2,500 Spa & Surf seat that went with it.
Due to the July 4th holiday, it was a long, six-day featured-tourney week here. One of the Wednesday winners picked up right where he left off the previous week.
On June 25th, Gary “Macho Man” Machiz won $20,000 in our $50,000 Month-End Blowout. In Wednesday’s Haskell Challenge qualifier, he pinned his opponents with 2 firsts and 3 seconds that included King Social ($26.20, $14.00) in the 8th at Horseshoe Indianapolis.
George Kieras also had King Social.
In fact, King Social was Kieras’s only Wednesday winner—but that, plus a max $22.00 place collection provided by 43-1 Flowerpacker in the 8th at Horseshoe Indy, got him a spot in the $2,500 Spa & Surf Showdown.
Wednesday’s high scorer was Mark “Santana” Tabakman.
Tabakman had the first 3 winners en route to a 4-win, 1-place day that rewarded him with $2,675 in Wednesday’s $5,000 Gtd. cash game, which closed with a pot of $5,944.
Thursday’s $6,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray was a close one.
Stephen Doyle hit the last 2 winners to finish with 4 firsts and 1 second, and he edged Brian O’Kane by a deuce to take home the top prize of $3,857. The final purse here came to $8,571.
Friday’s featured cash tourney served as the week’s first of three HT Tour events. This one made Stephen Doyle’s Thursday victory look like a rout.
Things weren’t looking too good for Dale Hatfield early on. But he made collections in each of the final four races, including one on a 19-1 winner, to get up a nip Andrew Asaro by a scant 20 cents. For Hatfield, the victorious photo finish was worth $9,501 in a $15,000 guaranteed game that had a final pot of $21,113. For Asaro, the heartbreaking result meant he would have to make do with $3,800.
There was one saving grace, however, for Asaro on Friday (and a pretty darned good one at that).
There were enough entries in Friday’s $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers to award three seats instead of just the two that were guaranteed—and Asaro wound up 4th. This time, though, luck was on Asaro’s side. The 3rd-place finisher was the already-double-qualified Roger Cettina, and so the 3rd and final NHC spot fell to Asaro, who ended up 90 cents ahead of the 5th-place finisher. We can’t really call this a “happy ending” in that the $21,000 game and this NHC qualifier took place simultaneously, but we hope that the NHC seat at least took some of the sting out of the cash tourney for Asaro.
While the drama existed at the lower end of the victory podium in the Friday NHC qualifier, the performance turned in by Dino Herrera should not go overlooked.
Herrera had the 3 highest-priced winners and the top score of the day on Friday, besting runner up and fellow NHC seat winner Frank Taddeo (2 wins, 1 place) by $38.70.
One of HorseTourneys’ seemingly most consistent players, Dr. Ronald Tang, had another productive week.
Last week, Tang won our Sunday Big Bucks game and a Haskell Challenge entry. This past week, he took Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers, avenging a second-place finish he endured in a similar event the previous Sunday.
Dan Richards (3 wins, 1 place) and 2016 NHC Tour champ Cheryl McIntyre (2 wins, 1 place) were the two winners of $1,000 entries in Friday’s Haskell Challenge qualifier.
They both had bomb Dynadrive ($92.00, $43.40) in the 8th at Belmont.
In Friday’s Spa & Surf Showdown play-in, Cara Yarusso’s score after 7 races of the 10-race tourney was a nice round number—zero.
What a finish for the Minnesotan! Three double-digit winners, beginning with a 19-1 shot, got Yarusso all the way to the top. David “Dynadrive” Barnier selected 2 winners and a place to land the second spot and the $2,500 Showdown entry that went with it.
The richest tourney of the week was Saturday’s HT Tour event, our $30,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed its doors with a final purse of $35,112.
Tom “Hit ‘em where they” Arndt took home the winner’s share of $15,800 here on the strength of 3 firsts and 3 seconds. On a day with a relatively tight range of win prices, Arndt had the day’s biggest, $18.00, courtesy of Super Hoity Toity in the 7th at Woodbine.
Angelo Romeo (4 wins, 2 places) also had Super Hoity Toity.
Romeo wound up best of 16 in Saturday’s guaranteed qualifier to September’s The BIG One. A $7.10 place payoff also helped Romeo immensely at the end.
Anthony “Doczilla” Trezza continues to handicap in very good form.
A week after finishing second and earning $8,000 in June’s Month-End Blowout, Trezza (5 wins, 3 places) added another $7,836 to his coffers by taking Saturday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray, which closed with a pot of $11,195. His big horse was Bound for Nowhere ($13.00, $7.30) in the final contest race, the 10th at Woodbine.
There were two winners in Saturday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.
Basil DeVito (3 wins, 3 places) had Super Hoity Toity in mid-tourney, then held onto the top spot despite whiffing on the final four races. Rick “I-65” Broth had 5 winners, including Bound for Nowhere at the end, to get up late for second and the other available $2,500 Showdown berth.
Similar to Basil DeVito, Kevin Engelhard (5 wins, 1 place) also had Super Hoity Toity prior to blanking on the final four heats.
Like DeVito, Engelhard held on. Finishing second in this Haskell Challenge play-in was Jason Phillips, who (like Rick Broth) accumulated 5 winners on the day. He, too, earned a $1,000 Haskell Challenge seat, playable at Xpressbet on July 23rd.
Saturday’s gaudiest scoresheet was that of Sam Stinson.
Stinson selected 5 winners and 3 places to prevail in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier at HorsePlayers by $5.10 over a hard-luck Richard Messier, whose score of $84.30 was Saturday’s overall second best.
There was also a $210 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers on Saturday.
The two to walk off with 2023 seats to the big dance—Mike Coutu (4 wins, 2 places…all in first 8 races) and Dan Brockman (3W, 2P)—did so with final scores in the 60s. Coutu and Brockman both had Super Hoity Toity ($18.00, $7.00) in the 7th at Woodbine.
On Sunday, Mike Gillum hit the last two races to finish with 5 winners (and no runners up).
The 5-win day propelled Gillum to victory in Sunday’s HT Tour competition, our $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which finished up with a purse of $26,687. Gillum’s share of that was $12,009.
Muggsy Kreiser (5 wins, 2 places) and Mike McIntyre (4W, 1P) were the two recipients of $1,000 entries in Sunday’s Haskell Challenge play-in.
They each had Sifting Sands ($17.80, $10.80) in the first contest race (Belmont race 5) and Churchtown ($9.60, $5.60) in the final contest heat (Woodbine race 10).
Tim Gavin made collections in each of the final 5 contest races to wind up with 4 firsts and 3 seconds.
The seven collections earned Gavin a $1,000 entry into the on-track Lone Star Summer Betting Challenge on July 16.
Robert Schintzius Sr. and Craig Kaufman were the skillful and rewarded twosome in Sunday’s Del Mar Summer Challenge qualifier.
Schintzius booked 3 winners and 1 runner up. Kaufman recorded 3 runners up followed by 3 winners. They both received hefty $5,000 entries for the two-day contest at Del Mar on the last two days of July. Schintzius and Kaufman each came up with the day’s highest yielding winner, Bion Magic (19.40, $6.60) in the 8th at Gulfstream.
In Sunday’s Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Pick & Pray, G.T. Nixon was the one.
Nixon counted Bion Magic among his 5 firsts and 1 second.
Thanks to all for contributing to what was a fun and competitive Fourth of July week here. No rest for the weary. The next wave of featured tourneys arrives tomorrow. Good luck!