Weekend Recap (August 6-7)

With Saratoga and Del Mar in full swing, it’s a given that things were hopping at HorseTourneys this past weekend.

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Our big event on Saturday was our 3-seat NHC tourney, run in the All-Optional format whereby players make 10 plays from among 20 eligible contest races. The red hot Shawn Turner finished first. But he had already garnered two NHC entries, so he was competing essentially just for the NHC Tour points. The NHC seats, themselves, went to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th-place finishers, Ty Alexander, Dennis Klein and Pete Manzo.

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Saturday was our last chance to qualify for this week’s Battle of Saratoga, which is being conducted for the first time this year as two single-day tournaments. Our winners were Trey Stiles, Steve Arrison, Chris Dewey and Frank Foss. We thank all the players for their outstanding participation in these Saratoga qualifiers. Since starting these tourneys (the first ever to offer seats at a Saratoga tournament), we managed to send no fewer than 26 to Saratoga with full, 2-day packages that included a generous $750 in travel. I’ll be in Saratoga this week and hope to meet all 26 of you!

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While Saturday represented a last chance for Saratoga, it represented a first chance to qualify for one of the stalwart tournaments on the schedule — the Horse Player World Series. William Payseno and Wayne Tam rode the parimutuel power of longshot Paola Queen (Test Stakes at Saratoga) to victory. Look for HPWS tourneys pretty much every weekend between now and next March.

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Saturday also featured a pair of popular cash games. Our $12,500 Guaranteed game went to Juan Benedetti who tabbed not just Paola Queen but four other winners to grab the $6,250 first place prize. And Paola Queen was also a prominent part of our $2,000 Guaranteed exacta box game. Rick Vasquez correctly picked the Paola Queen-Lightstream exacta (it paid $289.50 for $1) to win the $750 first place money. This was hardly the highlight of the day for Vasquez, though. He also finished second that day in the prestigious Wynn Handicapping Challenge, earning $45,000 and an NHC seat. Congratulations, Rick!

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The Sunday headliner was our The BIG One qualifier. There weren’t a lot of longshots winning on Sunday so the standings were tight. In the end, it was Nicholas Fazzolari and Gary Johnson who captured the two guraranteed full packages (from just 29 entries). Be aware…there are only 12 more seats available to The BIG One. So if you haven’t already earned one, be sure to keep playing each Sunday at HorseTourneys. We also have feeders during the week.

Our $7,500 Guaranteed game was another tight affair. Here it was Matthew Whitaker who took the crown (and the $3,750 top prize).

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One of the top scores posted anywhere on Sunday at HorseTourneys was the $119.30 registered by Ryan Scharnowske in winning a double-entry to the August 20 Indiana Grand NHC qualifier. Scharnowske really demonstrated the power of multiple entries in a tournament. He controlled three of the 17 entries in this particular tourney, and while his first two didn’t make much noise, the horses he opted for in entry #3 really got him where he needed to be (and then some!) For the $123 cost of three entries, Scharnowske won $350 in entry fees, and now has a shot at one of the three NHC seats on offer at Indy Grand on August 20.

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There were a pair of Last Chance contests on Sunday. Ryan Leeper shot out to a nice lead, then held on late to take our full package to next weekend’s Hawthorne tournament. And Douglas Schenk prevailed by a dime to win the Last Chance Monmouth qualifier over Anthony Kite and…Anthony Kite.

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Schenk also took the exact same picks he used in the Monmouth tourney and entered them in our first-of-the-year qualifier for the Orleans Fall Classic. Smart move. This time, Schenk only managed second place. But that was more than good enough for an Orleans package. Look for Schenk at the Alligator Bar this fall along with winner Wayne Kwan and 3rd-place finisher Phil Cleek.

Congratulations to all of this weekend’s winners. And the very best of luck to all our HorseTourneys qualifiers playing this week at Saratoga, Monmouth and Hawthorne.