In an endeavor synonymous with up-and-down emotions and long dry spells, Joe Koury was pretty darned consistent in the two-day, $50,000 Guaranteed Exacta Extravaganza. He hit five three-horse exacta boxes on Saturday to finish the day in 3rd place. On Sunday, he connected on another five gimmicks to amass the second-best score of the day. When all the final accounting was done, it was Koury, “The People’s CFO”, who was the victor, earning the top prize of $22,500 plus an additional $1,250 in day money for his top-three finishes each day.
The competition, which wound up with a takeout of 1.7%, required its 68 entrants to make a mythical $1.00, three-horse exacta box in every race of the Aqueduct, Gulfstream and Del Mar cards on both Saturday and Sunday. As things turned out, the Aqueduct and Gulfstream cards were quite chalky. Koury’s biggest hit from those two tracks on Day 1 returned the princely sum of $8.50.
Things were different at Del Mar, though. He put himself squarely into the mix by having the $196.80 (for a buck) perfecta in the Del Mar opener—and then he was one of three to hit the $181.90 exacta in the Saturday Del Mar finale. The three who nailed that 9th race stumper—Carolyn “That’s the Fact” Jack, Koury and Thomas O’Connor—wound up first, second and third, respectively at the conclusion of the day. That meant $1,250 in day money for Jack, $750 for Koury and $500 for O’Connor.
The $1,250 for Jack was well earned, indeed. She hit a remarkable 13 exactas out of the day’s 29 races.
Unfortunately for Jack and the others, Koury did even better on Sunday than he did on Saturday.
Koury recorded two triple-figure scores during the first half of Sunday, including a $281.20 windfall in the 7th at Gulfstream. From there, Koury seemed to focus on more modest tallies, chipping up three times on exactas that paid between $11.00 and $20.70.
The strategy worked nicely, and Koury prevailed by $134.50 over Howard Welsh, who staged a furious Sunday rally with a Day 2-best $585.40. That got Welsh the second prize of $9,000 plus $1,250 in Sunday Day bonus money. The second-best Sunday scorer, Alexa Zepp, finished 3rd overall, receiving $5,400 plus another $750 as a Sunday bonus.
As for Koury, his five Sunday hits added $444.10 to his $394.00 Saturday figure. That got him a third-place Sunday Day Bonus as a cherry on top of his prodigious Sunday sundae.
Day 1 leader Carolyn Jack had to settle for 4th, which got her $3,375 to go with the $1,250 she made on Saturday.
Although Koury and friends were hunting for two good horses per race, the rest of the week’s featured tourneys involved good, old fashioned $2.00 win-and-place scoring—starting with Wednesday’s $5,000 Guaranteed cash game.
James Cosenza got the money here—$2,523 of it anyway—thanks to 3 firsts and 2 seconds that were capped off by Eden Paradise ($35.60, $8.20) in the 8th at Tampa which, by the clock, turned out to be the final contest race.
Scores were on the low side in the other Wednesday feature, a Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifier.
Ted “Core A” Apple (3 wins, 4 places) finished first as the only player to show a flat-bet profit. His top winner paid $6.20. “Battlin’” William Smith (4W. 1P) finished second to grab the other available $1,500 seat.
Thursday belonged to Anthony “Doczilla” Trezza.
The New Jersey-based optometrist saw the Thursday races—or at least the last couple of races—very clearly.
The 2-win, 2-place performance (highlighted by 35-1 Summer Shandee) got Trezza the up-top money of $3,390 in Thursday’s $6,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed with a purse of $7,534.
It also got him a $1,500 Flo-Cal Faceoff berth.
The stakes—and rewards—were even higher for Trezza on Sunday.
In Sunday’s Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier at HorsePlayers, Trezza saw the merits in Tizquantum in the 8th at Del Mar, the final contest race of the day. When Tizquatum won and returned $17.80 to win and $8.20 to place, Trezza had earned a $10,000 seat in the ’23 BCBC. Evan Trommer got second to wind up with a $5,000 partial entry.
We salute Trezza for his great week and, in his honor, we offer this public service reminder: Remember to use your yearly vision benefits before they expire at the end of 2022!
There were four HT Tour events during the week. One was the Exacta Extravaganza, captured by Joe Koury. The first of the four was Friday’s $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.
Ryan Reynolds was the big winner here with 2 firsts and 4 seconds. As was the case on Friday (and pretty much every day of its meet so far), Tampa ran late relative to its published post times and so the 9th at the Oldsmar, Fla., track turned out to be the last contest race of the day.
Reynolds caught an $11.40 place mutuel on 15-1 runner up Winning at Ease in that 9th at tardy Tampa to take down the grand prize of $8,603. The final total purse here amounted to $19,118.
There were two winners of $1,500 spots in Friday’s Flo-Cal Faceoff play-in.
Tom “Yo MTV” Rapps finished first with 5 wins and 1 place. Gregg “Sky” Kingma (2W, 2P0 got the other Flo-Cal berth. They both had Marie’s Honor ($25.20, $11.00) in the 9th at Gulfstream among their collections.
The high score of the day on Friday was provided by Nick Yerton in the day’s $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers.
Another “ton”—Robert Masterton—got the other low-cost ticket to Vegas.
Marie’s Honor at Gulfstream was also common to each of their scoresheets.
Saturday’s “single-day” HT Tour game was our Live-format, $30,000 Guaranteed cash tourney.
Jeffrey Ferrazano pocketed the top prize of $13,998 in a tourney ultimately worth a total of $31,107. In a pivotal move, Ferrazano came up with back-to-back $20 horses in mid-tourney…
…but Ferrazano—a big Budd Schulberg fan, no doubt—needed a $4.20 place collection from Whatmakessammyrun in the final tourney heat to get up for the victory. That was all that kept runner up Travis Pearson ($5,599) from extending his 2022 HT Tour lead even further.
The Saturday NHC qualifier took place right here at HorseTourneys.
Since runner up Jay Johns was already double qualified, the two 2023 spots went to first-place finisher John Fasola (4 wins, 1 place) and third-placer Tom O’Connor (2W, 3P). O’Connor saw the ball well on Saturday…he was also 3rd in the standings after Day 1 of the Exacta Extravaganza. Both Fasola and O’Connor utilized Housed ($20.60, $6.80) in the 9th at Gulfstream on their way to NHC qualifying success.
William “23” Sadoo also had Housed.
As a result, Sadoo (4 winners on the day) housed Saturday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray. He bagged $8,549 out of a total final pot of $12,213.
Saturday’s Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifier added two more names to the roster of participants in January’s $250,000 Guaranteed event.
Congratulations to “The Commissioner” Tim Smith (4 wins, 1 place) and Matt “The Fly” Tietze (4W, 2P). They each came up with Dubyahnell at the beginning, Tee N Conversation in the middle and Turn on the Jets at the end.
Over at HorsePlayers, Jim “Booze” Crews (4 firsts, 1 second) was the victor in Saturday’s $179 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge play-in.
The heavy lifter for Crews was Royal Tryst ($22.20, $9.60) in the sloppy 10th race at Aqueduct.
The big star—and top scorer of the day—on Sunday was Sean O’Malley.
O’Malley didn’t need the luck of the Irish after picking three winners at odds of 20-1, 14-1 and 16-1, respectively, in Sunday’s $210 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers. Neil Thornberry also advanced to March in Las Vegas after piling up 6 wins (including 20-1 Carabinero at Gulfstream) and a place.
That NHC qualifier was a Live-format tourney. So was Sunday’s Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship (PWCBC) qualifier. However, with the exception of one race, O’Malley used the same picks in both competitions.
And he won both competitions. For the record, O’Malley failed to collect in either tourney on the one race in which he divided his loyalties. No matter. O’Malley earned a $6,500 Pegasus package to go along with his NHC seat. Also securing a spot in the PWCBC was runner up Nick “48 Hrs.” Noce (3 wins, 1 place). Like O’Malley, Noce picked Carabinero ($42.60, $13.20) in the 8th at Gulfstream and Wentru ($30.30, $23.90) in the 7th at Woodbine. Wentru was a dead-heat winner at odds of 42-1 in the Valedictory Stakes.
Putting up a score almost as good as O’Malley’s was James Dickson in Sunday’s $20,000 Guaranteed cash game, an HT Tour event.
Dickson (3 firsts, 2 seconds) nailed Tisquantum ($17.80, $8.20) in the final tourney race, the 8th at Del Mar, to move up from 5th to 1st and snag the grand prize of $10,828. Entries closed with a total of $24,062 in the prize pool.
Paul Fishman (3 wins, 0 places) and this year’s Players Championship winner Riley “The Glide” Drexler (3W, 1P) were the two to grab $1,500 seats in Sunday’s Flo-Cal Faceoff play-in.
Both Fishman and Drexler had lucrative dead heat horse Wentru. Fishman did all his scoring over the first five contest races. Drexler’s scoring was completed after seven races.
Fishhman and Drexler each amassed totals exceeding $120. They would have fared well in Sunday’s $7,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney.
Only six showed up for this, resulting in a 1.4% overlay situation for the sextet. The primary beneficiary of the low turnout was Joseph Zuer. He won $4,900 with a score of $35.80. His top winner paid $5.00. And he was the only one to crack the less-than-magical mark of $30.00.
Some days you land on the right horses…and some days you land in the right fields. Such is featured-tourney contest play. We’ll have more such beginning on Wednesday. Thanks to all for being part of what was an exciting Exacta Extravaganza week.