Sarah Wiener Does it Again; Moomey Wins Two More; “The Bear” Breaks the Ice (Weekend Recap March 24-26)

It seemed like tourneys went to one extreme or the other this weekend. One day, prices were hard to come by; the next day, bombs were dropping all around. Two important races from a Kentucky Derby standpoint were Saturday’s Spiral Stakes from Turfway and Sunday’s Sunland Derby. They proved to be important from a HorseTourneys standpoint as well.

Friday’s $7,500 Guaranteed tourney included no Derby preps—and it also included no winners paying more than $13.00. Scores looked like Major League Baseball batting averages in 1968.

Capitalizing on this unique situation was Geoffrey Schutt, who picked four winners from the 10 contest races. His highest priced winner paid just $10.20, leading to a less-than-gaudy tally of $47.80. But pretty is as pretty does and that $47.80 was good enough to earn Schutt the top prize of $3,750.

On Saturday, it looked like the pitcher’s mound had been lowered. Suddenly Bob Gibson was not so overpowering and players were back to compiling big numbers. Our “Last Chance” qualifier for this weekend’s Horse Player World Series was very popular, and so perhaps it wasn’t surprising in retrospect that the day’s highest score came from this event.

Tim Downs’s score of $225.20 was an impressive accomplishment regardless of how many longshots won. And so was Charles Browning’s feat of placing two entries in the money. Good luck to them and to Bob Montgomery, Stephen Thompson, Frank Dittmar, Raymond Riley and Duane Colucci. Good luck at The Orleans. (And HorseTourneys will be there providing Twitter updates for those looking to keep track of things from afar.)

The big scores didn’t end there.

Thanks to Spiral Stakes cap horse Fast and Accurate in the final race of the tourney, Sarah Wiener and Robert Engelhard won themselves berths to the 2018 NHC. Though it should be pointed out that Wiener was leading even before winning with Fast and Accurate. And it turned out she needed that $64. Had she not selected the former $30,000 claimer, she would have been on the outside looking in…sort of…because Sarah had already qualified once for the NHC earlier this month on HorseTourneys. Now she is in twice!

There were no such anxious moments for Richie Bennett.

He crushed the field en route to a victory in our Surfside qualifier. Bennett had more than twice the score of his nearest pursuer.

The tourney rules were slightly different in our $50,000 All-Optional game.

Players had 20 races to pick from, but could only make 10 (rather than 12) plays. An early 99-1 winner got things off to an exciting start, and the excitement carried right through to the Spiral when Fast and Accurate catapulted Roger Ball and Stephen Thompson over Charlie Davis and into the top two positions. It was a $22,500 payday for Ball. And note that this guaranteed game went off at a nearly $2,000 overlay to the players. Congratulations to all those who took advantage of this positive-expectation game!

We’re guessing that Eric Moomey will be sorry to see March come to an end.

Champion of The Stronach Group Ultimate Betting Challenge a couple of weeks ago, Moomey added two more victories to his Curriculum Vitae in taking our first 2017 Treasure Island Wager to Win qualifier and also Saturday’s Keeneland Spring Challenge event.

If March had been a banner month for Moomey, it had been a frustrating one for Chris Fallica (who some football fans may know as “The Bear” on ESPN’s popular College Gameday telecasts).

Buoyed perhaps by an inspirational Knute Rockne (Lee Corso?) pep talk, Fallica persevered, and the frustration is now over.

On a Sunday when prices were back to being hard to come by, Fallica registered the high score of the day to finally earn that elusive 2018 NHC seat, along with David McCarty and John Agnello. (And Sarah Wiener checking in 4th, racking up those NHC Tour points!) Sunland Derby winner Hence ($23.60 to win, $2.60 to place) was easily the longest price to win all the day and was instrumental in victory for all three. We’re guessing that, once the results went official, The Bear might have done a Heisman pose.

Meanwhile in Sunday’s qualifier for The BIG One, Dustin Haluska did not have Hence…and barely showed a flat-bet profit for the contest.

But he still managed to become our 11th qualifier to the September extravaganza at Laurel. As the saying goes, you have to be in it to win it.

Well known tournament player Paul Shurman DID have Hence…

…and now he has a spot in the lucrative Kentucky Derby Betting Challenge, where, I suppose, he could make a big bet on Hence again if he wishes!

Elsewhere on the Sunday slate, Eric Pineiro and Frank Foss accounted for the two packages awarded in our Keeneland Grade One Gamble qualifier; Tom Michalczewski and Dennis DeCauwer took home Wynn entries; Marc Racenstein and Michael Doerrman captured packages to the Monmouth Pick Your Prize event; and Peter Behr garnered the $5,000 top prize in our sold out $10,000 Guaranteed event.

Last but not least, our $1,500 Exacta Box game was sold out this week and unlike last week, when Ronald Richardson won in a cakewalk, this one was a nailbiter.

Congratulations to Rhonda Fisk, who was the lone player to stand in the way of a repeat victory by Richardson.

Over at Hawthorne, James Tunick (BCBC and NHC) , Kenny Shaw (NHC), Mike Ferrozzo (BCBC and NHC) and Paul Georgian (NHC) were the big winners. We have a fuller list of Hawthorne winners elsewhere on our site.

Thanks to all for taking part last weekend–we had lots and lots of winners. And good luck to all of our HorseTourneys players who will be doing battle this weekend at the Horse Player World Series. If you’ll be at The Orleans, stop by and say hello!