In terms of last-race drama, we couldn’t have scripted the Exacta Extravaganza much better.
In as contentious a race as you’re ever going to see, Dylan Donnelly, 30, of Alta Loma, Calif., saw two of his three exacta box horses—Hallie’s Hero (9-1) and Abbaa (also 9-1)—prevail in a five-horse blanket finish in the final race of the two-day, $50,000 Guaranteed Exacta Extravaganza, the 11th at Woodbine. The dueling 9-1 shots combined on a $1 exacta payoff worth $152.20, and that propelled Donnelly from 3rd-place to first—a distinction that came with a prize of $20,250.
Saturday marks the inaugural “running” of our newest guaranteed, multi-day cash tourney—the Exacta Extravaganza.
It begins on Saturday, ends on Sunday, and the format is simple. For an entry fee of $500, you get to make a three-horse exacta box selection on every race of the Kentucky Downs and Woodbine cards on both Saturday and Sunday. It’s a live-format game, so you can enter your picks right up until “off time” if you wish. Also, it happens to be an HT Tour event, so if you are participating in that, there are points to be won if you finish in the top 10.
Despite a potential “NHC hangover,” players came out in full force during Labor Day weekend (and week). Some big prices along the way enabled several aggressive—and sharp—multi-tablers to visit the winner’s circle more than once on a given day. Meanwhile, a couple of players managed to have a couple of highly successful days.
As usual, the week’s featured-tourney action began on Wednesday.
Parting is such sweet sorrow, especially where Saratoga and Del Mar are concerned. We’ll try to keep the accent on the sweet—and not so much on the sorrowful—during a Labor Day Weekend that offers a rare HT Tour event on a Monday plus daily qualifiers to The BIG One and the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge.
The eyes of the contest world will rightly be focused on this coming weekend’s NHC. But this Thursday’s Bally’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance tournament is a pretty big event in its own right. Thirty-five $500 entries to the traditional NHC Eve preamble flew out the door last week—including five on Wednesday.
With the record-breaking Spa & Surf Showdown now in the books and the ink barely dry on Randy Miller’s first-place check of $235,764, it’s time to redouble our focus on our next major event—the September 18-19 The BIG One, played once again in 2021 right here at HorseTourneys.
Most of the time Randy Miller, 67, is kept busy by his still-flourishing, one-man law practice in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, which is not far from Lancaster. Some of the time, he is busy with one of his favorite avocations—singing gospel music. And a little bit of the time, Miller indulges his longtime love of playing the races.
“Hey, Randy,” one of his horseplaying buddies quipped to him not long ago, “you need to get your priorities straight!”
Seeking the value in a six-horse grass race at Del Mar, Randall Miller zeroed in on Pulpit Rider in the Southern California track’s 7th race on Sunday, and when the daughter of Lucky Pulpit prevailed at odds of 7-1, Miller leapfrogged from fourth-place to first. The attorney from Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, held on from there over the final two races and captured the grand-prize of $235,764 in last weekend’s Spa & Surf Showdown at HorseTourneys.
Last year, the Spa & Surf Showdown set what is believed to be a record for an online horse racing handicapping contest by offering a final purse of over $644,000. That mark could be in jeopardy this Saturday and Sunday when many of the nation’s finest contest players square off in the third annual Showdown, which features two days of full-card selections on every race from each day’s Saratoga and Del Mar cards.
Obviously the purse is the main attraction for this weekend’s 3rd annual Spa & Surf Showdown. Last year, Scott Fiedler of Babylon, N.Y. won $248,000 from a record online purse of over $644,000. This year’s purse has already exceeded the $342,000 mark with a few days of qualifying and the lion’s share of buy-ins (at $2,500 each) still to come.
However, the lucrative, all-cash purse is not the only draw for the two-day, full-card, Saratoga and Del Mar competition this Saturday and Sunday.