Cook Does it Again; Reese Does it Twice (Weekend Recap Jan. 13-16)

Saturdays and Sundays are our biggest days in terms of prizes and number of tourneys. But sometimes the most notable occurrences take place during the week. Take Friday, January 13, for example.

For the third time in the last four weeks…


…Terence Cook won our Friday Horse Player World Series Entry Only tourney. He wasn’t in the money three times, he didn’t win a seat three times, he finished first three times.

It doesn’t matter that we’ve begun offering HPWS tourneys on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays of late. Cook just wins on Fridays.

Another interesting thing happened on Friday – in addition to Vince LaRocco winning our new and improved $6,000 tourney (soon to be $6,500) and Matthew Rentze, Stephanie Davis, James Kinslow and John Nichols all winning last chance entries.

Most of us understandably get ticked off when we see our horse make a decent-enough run only to finish third. To paraphrase Ricky Bobby, if you’re not first or second, you’re last…you earn zero. Well, that’s almost always the case…but not last Friday.

When Tero won the 10th at Gulfstream as a cap horse, many HorseTourneys players had him—and that’s all they had, making $64.00 a very popular final score for the day. As a result, we had to invoke tiebreakers for many of our tourneys and when players have picked the exact same scoring horses (in this case, horse…as in singular), you quickly burn through a bunch of tiebreaker parameters. With the case of the single-casher $64.00 scorers, we had to drill down to tiebreaker #5, which was most number of third-place finishers. These show horses determined a whole bunch of outcomes on Friday, including some of our featured-tourney prizes.

So next time your horse runs 3rd, take solace in the fact that it might—just might—help you out a tad.

Our big winner on Saturday was Ed Peters, who took the $12,500 top prize in our $25,000 Guaranteed tourney over John Nichols and Roger Cettina.


Elsewhere, Michael Marlaire won an Entry to next summer’s Wynn Handicapping Challenge and Dave Durkin and John Vogel claimed full packages to the Horse Players World Series.

One of my favorite moments on Saturday, though, came a short time after Dino Herrera captured a hard-fought win (worth $1,000) over Ed DeRosa in our new $2,000 Guaranteed Saturday night tourney, which went as an overlay to players. It was this tweet from Herrera that made me smile.


I won’t lie. When a guaranteed tournament isn’t filling fast enough to suit us, we may sometimes elect to send out a tweet at the last minute to try and spread the word a bit further. We do take pains, however, to not overdo that. We don’t want to clog up your feed. At the same time, we know some of you love the mathematical edge afforded by the opportunity to play a tourney that carries a positive expected value. So we’re hoping that such tweets are viewed more as public service announcements rather than shameless solicitations. We’re glad it worked for you, Dino. And thanks for filling that seat for us!

Our Sunday was jam-packed last weekend. The marquee games were our direct qualifiers for the Kentucky Derby Betting Championship, our first of the 2017 season, and for The BIG One, our second of the 2017 campaign.

Thomas Clark took the big prize in the Kentucky Derby qualifier, hitting four winners and one place horse in the last five races to seal his victory.


(It should be noted that after we began taking entries and running feeders for this qualifier, Churchill Downs announced that the entry fee for its KDBC would be dropped to $12,000 ($8,000 bankroll + $4,000 entry) from the previous $20,000. So what we did was pay the difference ($8,000) to Thomas as an added prize. Going forward, we have adjusted our entry fees accordingly downward on KDBC qualifiers.)

The BIG One now has a BIG Two.


Howard Welsh prevailed by cashing in the last two races of a tight live-format event, and he now joins Joel Wincowksi as early qualifiers to The BIG One, set for September 23-24 at Laurel. That’s where eight BCBC seats, 10 NHC seats, 10 HPWS seats and lots of cash will be won by a field that won’t number more than 57. Next qualifier is next Sunday with feeders leading up to it.

Elsewhere on the Sunday front, Bill Shurman, Josh Thorpe and Steven Turner each won Horse Player World Series entries, and a full dozen players won NHC Last Chance entries to the Jan. 26 event at Treasure Island.

However, the most impressive performance on Sunday, in my opinion, was put in by Travis Reese.


He won the $3,750 grand prize in our $7,500 Guaranteed game, where he cashed an impressive nine times in 12 races. Given how many times his selections ran either first or second, perhaps it is not altogether surprising that…


…he also won our $1,500 Guaranteed Exacta Box tourney that day, hitting four exactas (a rather gaudy number based on recent history) to complete his unique “double”. Clearly Travis was seeing the ball very well on Sunday. Well done!

Since Monday was the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday we added a couple of featured games to our menu, including a $5,000 tourney that went to Craig Hom ($3,000). Hom was second on Jan. 8 in a $7,500 event so the new year has been good to him, thus far.

We also had six more winners of Treasure Island NHC Last Chance entries, including Brendan Fay twice – he finished first and sixth.


This makes a total of 91 entries to the Treasure Island Last Chance competition won at HorseTourneys thus far. We thank you for your incredible support of these contests. Note that your last opportunity to win a seat hear for that NHC Last Chancer is Saturday, January 21. Let’s see if we can get to 100.

Last but not least, we have very strict age requirements that must be adhered to at HorseTourneys. But no such requirements exist when it comes to our HorseTourneys Best Turned Out Award.


Our co-winners of this, just our second bestowal of the Award, are Joshua and Sarah Beychok, seen here in Orlando. Not only do they look great—both happy and well cared for—they each have exquisite pedigrees, being by Ben Beychok, a full brother to NHC Champ Michael Beychok.

Some may wonder why Sarah was named a co-winner given that Joshua is clearly the better turned out of the two.

After considerable debate, the judges felt that Sarah’s refusal to wear mouse ears or any other silly, theme-park-type hat was a positively winning choice so as not to deflect any attention from Joshua’s beautiful headgear. Therefore, two winners. Well done, all around.

If you spot someone in your travels deserving of a HorseTourneys Best Turned Out Award, email a photo of him/her/them to We’ll take it from there.

Thanks to all who played last weekend. Have a great week ahead.