Since we are running daily Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenges currently, we have seven days to recap. So we will proceed—more or less—in chronological order to try and provide one small measure of clarity in an otherwise hectic week.
Dan DiCorcia set a very high bar for the rest of the week on Monday.
This may be as close to a perfect scorecard as you will see in a featured tourney. In fact one of his three “losers” in this 10-race BCBC qualifier was actually a “winner” in that it returned more to place than the actual winner did to win and place. The outstanding showing was all the more remarkable in that four of DiCorcia’s seven winners paid well into double digits, including one cap horse. So much for finding a soft BCBC qualifier on the Monday tracks!
The Tuesday BCBC qualifier was no walk in the park either. It was as close as Monday’s was impressive.
When D’Oro’s Wish won Tuesday’s final contest race—the 8th at Horseshoe Indianapolis—and returned $44.60 to win and $12.60 to place, the win payoff for our purposes was trimmed down to $42.00 per our customary 20-1 win cap. The small haircut brought Michael Caposio (3 wins, 0 places) into a tie with Thomas O’Connor (3 wins, 3 places).
Since our first tiebreaker is number of wins and our second tiebreaker is “high win price”, it meant that Caposio won the tiebreaker and the $10,000 seat since O’Connor’s top winner paid $26.00.
It was a real kick in the teeth for O’Connor, who got just a $179 breakage refund…and the start of a fabulous week for Caposio.
Fast forward to Saturday when Caposio won $20,000 in our $50,000 Guaranteed Month-End Blowout, which went off at a 10.7% takeout to players, leaving about $4,800 in “free money” in the prize pool.
We missed our purse guarantee (leaving the crack HorseTourneys accounting staff unhappy), but Caposio did sort of guaranteed himself victory…by coming up with an incredible 12-race score of $200.40.
The 6-win, 1-place performance gave Caposio a $62.02 bulge at the finish—and that was his SMALLEST margin of victory on Saturday.
Unfortunately for his opponents, Caposio also decided to enter Saturday’s Del Mar Fall Challenge and Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifiers. Adding to his foes’ misfortune was the fact that, though these two and the Month-End Blowout were all Live-format tourneys, Caposio played them all like Pick & Prays…meaning that he had the same devastating score in each.
Between his three victories on Saturday and his Tuesday tie-breaker triumph, the Temecula, Calif., car dealer drove off the HorseTourneys lot with $20,000 in cash and $14,500 in seat winnings. No wonder this man is smiling.
Rewinding back to Wednesday, we see that Scott Fiedler was also smiling.
Okay, so his smile may not have been as big as it was in August 2020 when he won $248,000 in our second annual Spa & Surf Showdown, but $3,017 is never a bad day’s work playing the ponies.
That’s won Fiedler won in Wednesday’s $5,000 Guaranteed cash game, which closed with a pot of $6,705. His best winner among five was Adhwaa ($20.60, $7.40) in the 9th at Parx.
Kevin Engelhard (4 firsts, 1 seconds) also had Adhwaa.
The Bensalem 9-1 shot plus three other winners and one runner up landed Engelhard a $10,000 seat in Wednesday’s $179 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier.
There was also a $500 Low Ratio BCBC play-in that day.
Kirk Rockwell was the victor here. All of his scoring came in the first three races and the final three races. Notably, he won a close photo for second to retain the lead over Corey Lonberger who would have overtaken him had Buffalo Shuffle gotten second instead of Mr. Tuttle.
Happily for Lonberger, he made up for that tough beat on Sunday.
Sticking with the 1-per-23 ratio that a $500 entry fee purchases you, Lonberger punched his ticket to the BCBC on this day by finishing second to Tim Darnell. While Darnell got the job done with a somewhat conventional 3-win, 2-place afternoon, place collections were key on Sunday for Lonberger. He had six of them, to go along with two winners.
There is one other feature to report from the Wednesday slate—Kevin Willett earned his way into the $250,000 Guaranteed Flo-Cal Faceoff, the first leg of the 2023 Tourney Triple.
Willett’s big horse among 5 winners and 2 runners up was Brazillionaire ($17.26, $6.44) in the 7th at Keeneland. (Doubtful that there will be a need for any tiebreakers in this year’s BCBC!)
Moving on to Thursday, Michael Marlaire had a slow beginning but a fast finish.
All of his scoring (3 firsts, 2 seconds) was realized in the final six races of Thursday’s $6,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.
Marlaire picked up $3,639 from a final purse that closed at $8,087.
Paul Shurman has already visited the winner’s circle in one HorseTourneys Tourney Triple event, the inaugural Spa & Surf Showdown in 2019. In January, he can try to win another.
Shurman had 2 winners—topped by Cap de Fuego ($58.60, $14.80) in the 8th at Horseshoe Indy—plus 2 runners up on the way to victory.
Over at HorsePlayers, Wendy Long also managed to smoke out Cap de Fuego.
Long had the high score of the day in taking Thursday’s $179 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Pick & Pray. Despite nailing 5 winners over the first 9 contest races, she needed a $20.80 place collection to hold off (via a block) Ilan Cuellar.
Bombs were dropping at Horseshoe Indy on Thursday. Zachary Ledford found Smooth Justice ($56.00, $21.00) in race 5 at the Shelbyville, Indiana, oval.
That one went a long way towards making Ledford the winner of Thursday’s $500 Low Ratio BCBC play-in.
Ciaran Thornton had a very nice Friday.
He hit Halfbarbiebingie ($9.20, $4.40) in the final contest race (SA5) to finish with 3 wins and 2 place and collect $7,780 in Friday’s HT Tour event, our $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed its doors with a pot of $17,290.
Thornton also had a very nice Sunday.
The good times continued for Thornton thanks in part to Les Bon Temps. The BAQ 13-1 winner plus 12-1 Woodbine victor Enchant Me helped secure Thornton a $3,000 entry into the November 26 Del Mar Fall Challenge.
A score of $45.00 was sufficient for Stephanie Davis to grab a $1,500 Flo-Cal Faceoff berth on Friday.
She had Halfbarbiebingie at the end, after earlier hitting 2 wins and a place, to get up by a full 16 cents over Eric Kurzhal. Those Keeneland pennies count!
Scores were low on Friday given that the day’s top winner paid $14.40 (Birth of Cool in the 1st at Santa Anita). Joe Pettit (the 2018 The BIG One champ) had that one.
Pettit augmented the “longshot” with 4 other winners and 2 runners up to prevail in Friday’s $179 BCBC qualifier at HorsePlayers.
The two highest scores of the day on Friday were provided by Scott Cavalieri and Alexander Calzi.
They ran one-two in Friday’s $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers and each took home 2023 seats.
Meanwhile, Turner West swept the first 3 contest races en route to a 5-win, 1-place day that got him home first in Friday’s Low Ratio BCBC qualifier.
Shad Walton checked in second to garner a $5,000 partial entry.
As for Turner West, his Saturday was even better than his Friday.
West was best (by 66 cents) in Saturday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray, a tourney that rewarded him to the tune of $7,124. He had Jim Nantz’s favorite horse, Hello Friends (an 18-1 winner at Woodbine), plus a 5-2 winner in the last race to get up for the W.
And though, Saturday’s Super Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier was run in Live format, West used the same picks throughout that he employed in the Big Bucks game.
West won here as well, giving him two BCBC seats in as many days. There were enough entries to award three $10,000 entries, though, and those other two went to Stephen McNatton (3W, 2P) and Kenny McMahan, who got up for 3rd with a $4.40 place payoff in the finale. For McMahan, it was his 6th place collection of the day. He also had two winners.
Elsewhere on the Saturday BCBC qualifying front at HorsePlayers, David “The Great” Santoni (4 wins, 0 places) and Tony Garofalo (6W, 0P) were the $10,000 seat winners in the day’s $179 play-in.
Neither Santoni nor Garofalo missed Miss Marie ($38.80, $16.60) in the 7th at Woodbine.
Russell Powell (3 wins, 2 places) also liked Miss Marie.
Powell was the hero of Saturday’s $500 Low Ratio (1-per-23) Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier.
Though many have a bad case of BCBC fever right now, Charles A. LeFevre focused his Saturday attention on Le NHC.
In Saturday’s $165 qualifier, LeFevre (4 wins, 1 place) and Kirk Tesar (4W, 0P) were the two to march away with spots for next March. They both had Miner’s Queen ($54.26, $20.76) in the 10th at Keeneland. Tesar whiffed on the final three races, but managed to hold on to 3rd by 94 cents over Robert McIntyre.
The star of the day—and also high scorer of the day—on Sunday was Jayson Rockett.
Jayson’s Rockett science on Sunday yielded 6 wins and 2 places—including winners in each of the first three contest races—at odds of 13-1, 7-2 and 15-1.
Rockett re-entered the earth’s atmosphere $12,009 richer after taking the Sunday HT Tour event, the $20,000 Gtd. tourney, by 39 bucks. The final purse ended up at $26,687.
If Rockett won the $26,000 game by that much, then imagine how much he would have won the Big Bucks game by with the same picks. Actually, you don’t have to imagine.
Rockett swept the Sunday cash features, stuffing another $4,986 into his spacesuit for a total of $16,995 on the day. That’s a nice bankroll heading into Breeders’ Cup weekend!
Jimmie O’Nail picked 5 Sunday winners, including Geezer ($33.20, $9.60) in the 2nd at The Great Race Place (Santa Anita).
The only player to crack triple figures, O’Nail earned a $1,500 entry to the $250,000 Guaranteed Flo-Cal Faceoff.
The 2018 Horse Players World Series champion Bob Montgomery picked 3 double-digit winners early and one double-digit winner late.
Montgomery will hope for more double-digit winners on Friday and Saturday after having won Sunday’s $179 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier on Sunday at HorsePlayers.
No man likes being called a geezer, but Greg Wish (5 wins, 2 places) and James Morgan (3W, 1P) are proud to have picked Geezer (in the 2nd at Santa Anita).
They were the two winners of entries in Sunday’s Super Low Ratio BCBC qualifier at HorsePlayers. (Morgan needed a 6-5 winner at the end to make it happen.) Edward Enborg reported home third to pick up a $5,000 partial BCBC entry.
Speaking of the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, qualifiers for it continue right up to—and including—Thursday at HorsePlayers. And make sure you review the many cash games we have on the menu here at HorseTourneys on Breeders’ Cup Friday and Saturday.
It promises to be a fun and lucrative week ahead. Happy Halloween. And more importantly, Happy Handicapping.