What better than picking six winners in one day? Picking six winners on two different days. That’s what Kevin Engelhard did on Friday and Sunday.
On Friday, Engelhard swept the final five contest races to finish with 6 firsts and 1 second on the day. That allowed him to best all but NHC Hall of Famer Paul Shurman (4 firsts, 5 seconds) in the always-tough-to-win $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers.
Happily for Chad Passante (5 firsts, 1 second), there were enough entries to award three Vegas seats, and that last one went to him.
On Sunday, Engelhard took a backseat to no one in the day’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier.
Here, Engelhard spread out his six winners rather than saving most of them for the end. He and fellow Monmouth seat winner George Chute (7 wins, 2 places) were the only players to top $80…or $70 for that matter.
What was the second grand prize of the week for Engelhard was also the second grand prize of the week for Chute.
Chute also had his game going on the day before when he led a group of three $1,500 seat winners in Saturday’s Preakness Challenge play-in thanks to 3 wins and 4 places. The other two winners also cracked the triple-digit barrier—Ron Tang (3W, 2P) and 2019 NHC Tour champ David Snyder (3W, 2P). More recently, Snyder won the 2022 Flo-Cal Faceoff, earning $183,000. Chute, Tang and Snyder all came up with the biggest-priced winner of Saturday, Upward Mobility ($35.60, $14.40) in the final contest race, the 7th at Santa Anita.
The featured-tourney week began on Wednesday, when the horse you really wanted to have was One More Scoop ($31.20, $15.00) in race 9 at Parx.
Nicholas Nagy (2 firsts, 4 seconds) had One More Scoop, and he earned $2,519 in Wednesday’s $5,000 Guaranteed cash game, which closed with a purse of $5,599.
Michael Caposio also helped himself to One More Scoop.
That indulgence helped Caposio (2 wins, 3 places) to a $24.90 victory in Wednesday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize Challenge qualifier.
You’d think that One More Scoop would have been a prerequisite to Wednesday featured-tourney success, but that was not the case—for the very good reason that no one had the Parx longshot in our Spa & Surf Showdown. That left the door wide open…really, really wide open.
Not a single one of the 25 entrants turned a flat-bet profit. The winner of the $2,500 seat here was Edward Enborg with a score of $32.20—nothing to brag about. However, Enborg CAN brag to friends, family and others that he now has a freeroll in a $400,000 Guaranteed all-cash event here on August 5-6. So from that perspective, he kicked ass!
Vinny O’Toole can proudly include the final score in his recap to friends of his Thursday victory in our $6,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.
O’Toole tallied $97.60—a total that was largely built late in the game with 4 straight winners that included Daddy Knows ($20.20, $7.50) in race 7 at Belmont. He pocketed $4,354 in a game ultimately worth a total of $9,677.
April was a great month for Lucas Van Zandt, who won $154,153 for finishing first here in the Players Championship, the middle leg of the 2023 Tourney Triple. So far, May is seeming like a pretty good month for him too.
Van Zandt landed on the highest-returning horse of the day in Lady Thoroton ($25.00, $10.40) in the 7th at Belmont. That plus 3 other winners and 1 runner up got “LVZ” the $10,000 seat in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio qualifier.
The same Pick & Pray selections also got Van Zandt some action for this coming weekend in the form of the Preakness Challenge.
In this one, Van Zandt finished in between fellow Preakness Challenge participants Jim Colbert (5 wins, 1 place) and Sharon Rosenstein (3W, 1P). All three had Lady of Thoroton.
John Agnello was flailing along with just one small place collection over the first 6 Friday contest races. Then he got hot.
Agnello’s “late Pick 4” got him a $2,500 berth in August’s Spa & Surf Showdown.
Another who used Lady of Thoroton to great success was Alan “The Muscle” Baze.
The “Lady” was one of four Baze winners en route to his victory worth $8,678 in Friday’s HT Tour competition, our $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed its books with $19,285 in the pot.
There were two winners of $2,000 entries in Friday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize Challenge qualifier.
Congratulations to George “Ki” Bosch (3 wins, 2 places) and David Wheeler (4W, 1P). Wheeler was the only Friday player to snag a grand prize without having Lady of Thoroton. His biggest win price came at the end with Auntie Rona ($12.00, $4.20) in the 9th at Pimlico.
Several people had really nice Saturdays.
We already mentioned that Dr. Ron Tang picked up a Preakness Challenge entry on Saturday for finishing second to George Chute. In Saturday’s Spa & Surf Showdown play-in, Tang was on the top step of the victory stand thanks to a 3-win, 2-place performance that included Upward Mobility ($35.60, $14.40) in the final contest race, the 7th at Santa Anita. The second Spa & Surf Showdown seat in this qualifier was earned by Scott Fiedler who won the 2020 edition of the Spa & Surf.
Fiedler’s Saturday achievements (yes, there was more than one) were unique. In the Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier—a Live-format game—he was the only all day who managed to secure a grand prize without having Upward Mobility at the end.
Saturday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney was a Pick & Pray—and guess who had Upward Mobility in that one!
It’s almost as if Fiedler got his formats mixed up! We’re kidding, of course. Here, Fiedler won $10,686 from a total final prize pool of $15,266.
The other Saturday cash feature—the richest tourney of the week—was our $30,000 Guaranteed game, which went off with a takeout to players of 9.8%.
Derek Isenberg got the up-top money of $13,500. Obviously, he had Upward Mobility, which sent him from 6th to 1st at the end. He also selected 3 other winners and 3 runners up.
The same picks got Isenburg a $2,000 Monmouth Pick Your Prize entry.
The other available spot for June 3 went to Matthew Weisenburger (3 wins, 1 place).
John Fisher hit the last two winners to finish with 4 firsts and 1 second.
His total of $106.90 got him the bulky $6,500 package in Saturday’s play-in to the Del Mar Summer Challenge.
Who had the highest Saturday score? It was Mark Elliott…and it was no contest.
Elliot’s tally of $160.00 was almost $40 higher than anyone else’s. It was built on a gaudy 6 wins and 4 places, and it got him a $2,500 Lone Star Betting Challenge seat for Memorial Day. It was a long way back to second place, where it was Steve Arrison (3W, 2P) who emerged with the other available $2,500 seat to the on-track Texas contest.
Over at HorsePlayers, Patrick Casale put up 3 winners and another 3 runners up on Saturday.
Casale took home the $10,000 seat in the day’s $179 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier.
There were two Upward Mobility-driven winners in Saturday’s $165 NHC qualifier.
Congratulations to Jeff Joffrion (4 winners, including the final 3) and Tom Cannell (4 wins, 2 places).
Sunday was a low-scoring day in which the most lucrative winner was Masterof the Tunes ($14.60, $6.70) in the 6th at Belmont. Since bombs were nowhere to be found, the best “strategy” turned out to be frequent collections. Tom “Moral” Compas did just that.
He had 5 wins and 5 places in taking Sunday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio Pick & Pray. One of the place collections for Compas came with a horse at the end named…The Compas Man.
The other Sunday feature at HorsePlayers was the 2nd of five 2023 free NHC qualifiers. The winner was Joe Kasperski who came up with a remarkable 9 winners out of the first 11 races.
Kasperski whiffed on the final four races, so things were fairly tight at the end. He held on, though. Finishing 2nd and 3rd and thereby also earning seats to the 2024 NHC were Alan Lynch (7 wins, 4 places) and Chad Scianna (also 7W, 4P).
Here at HorseTourneys, the Sunday HT Tour game was our $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.
Jake Brown didn’t hit anything that paid more than $8.80 to win…but he did rack up 7 winners plus a place horse. His score of $76.40 got him the top prize of $12,304 in a game that paid out a total of $27,343.
That $8.80 horse, Max K O in the 7th at Gulfstream was also the biggest winner for Gary Brous (4 firsts, 3 seconds).
Brous earned $8,549 in Sunday’s $7,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks game, which obviously exceeded its guarantee. The final purse amounted to $12,213.
With 5 consecutive winners late, G.T. Nixon (6 wins in all) led a quartet of $1,500 seat winners in Sunday’s Preakness Challenge qualifier.
Joining Nixon in the Preakness Challenge field will be Jake Gillen (3 wins, 4 places), Marc Stateler (4W, 3P) and Tom Cooper (6W, 1P, including each of the final 3 winners).
The heaviest lifter on Sunday for Dennis Clark was Greatheart ($12.00, $5.80) in race 8 at Monmouth.
Greatheart was one of 4 winners for Clark on the way to the winner’s circle of Sunday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.
On Sunday, we offered our first play-in to the June 24-25 Hawthorne NHC qualifier.
Ken Kieras (4 firsts, 1 second) was the winner of the $1,000 entry thanks in no small part to having top price of the day Masterof the Tunes ($14.60, $6.70) in race 6 at Belmont and a $5.70 place payoff with The Compas Man in race 10 at Belmont.
Thanks to all of you for spending part of Mother’s Day weekend with us. Up next: Preakness weekend! Hope to see you then.