Schutt Leads Quartet of Big Saturday Winners; Johnson Takes First NHC/BCBC Combo Prize (Weekend Recap April 22-23)

Saturday and Sunday played out in entirely different ways at HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers last weekend. On Saturday, the bulk of the rich prizes were won by a coterie of four. On Sunday, the in-the-money finishes were spread around like trophies at a youth soccer picnic.

Before there was Saturday or Sunday, however, there was Friday, and the big news of that day was made by Joe Johnson.

While his namesake was busy filling it up for the Utah Jazz against the L.A. Clippers, our Joe Johnson was scoring points of his own—most notably with Padilla ($17.80 to win) in the contest finale, the 10th at Gulfstream. Joe’s buzzer-beater heroics vaulted him into first place over a hard-luck Charles Grubbs in our first NHC-BCBC Combo Qualifier over at HorsePlayers. In one contest, Johnson checked off two of the most coveted boxes on any contest player’s wishlist. Our next NHC-BCBC double qualifier at HorsePlayers? Friday, May 5…Kentucky Oaks Day. See you there!

Saturday was an interesting Pick & Pray day. In recent weeks, we’ve seen such players as Bill Roth and Darryl Lacy run roughshod over a day’s menu with a single set of on-point selections. Saturday was sort of like that, but not exactly. What we had were four names that showed up over-and-over at the top of the leaderboards.

Our NHC qualifier yielded three of the key names of the day: Steve Arrison, Rob Henie and Geoffrey Schutt. And this was just a fraction of their days.

Arrison and Schutt were also the lone prizewinners in our Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier. But Schutt also registered the richest—and perhaps most interesting win of the day—in our $15,000 guaranteed game.

Geoffrey and Peter Behr finished in a virtual tie for the top spot. Often when this happens, players have identical or nearly identical selections. Not in this case, though.

By virtue of having picked more winners (5-4), Schutt won the first tiebreaker (saving HorseTourneys auditors a lot of time on their sliderules) and earned the $7,000 top money. Note that Schutt and Behr each racked up big scores, yet only had two winners in common.

It was a tough beat for Behr, but don’t feel too broken up for him…because over at HorsePlayers…

…Behr’s second-place finish to Jim Trepinski in our Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge was every bit as good as a win. The two will be firing away at Del Mar (or wherever they choose to play from) come Breeders’ Cup time with full, $10,000 entries.

Meanwhile, NHC seat winner Rob Henie also captured a seat in our Santa Anita Spring Challenge qualifier along with Michael Caposio.

By the end of Saturday, Schutt, Arrison, Behr and Henie had combined for four first-place finishes, nine top prizes and $10,500 in cash, not including travel awards. The biggest winner was Schutt with an NHC seat, a Monmouth package and $7,000 cash. Congratulations to Saturday’s “Big Four” and the others who also won nice prizes.

There was only one big, multiple winner on Sunday, and he needed a little help to get there.

Matthew Rentze scored a nice victory in Sunday’s Treasure Island Wager to Win qualifier. And he took a shot at HorsePlayers at another Treasure Island-hosted event—the NHC. It was a two-seat qualifier and, unfortunately, Rentze came in third.

But hold the phone! Kenny McMahan came in first AND second. And NHC rules permit a player to win only one NHC seat in any given tourney. So while McMahan will accrue some gaudy NHC Tour points for his Sunday exploits, he can only lay claim to one of the seats, with the other going to Rentze. And Rentze, of course, is now live for a second NHC seat (and some nice cash) at the Treasure Island Wager to Win tournaments on Preakness weekend.

On Kentucky Derby weekend, Oaklawn Park track announcer Vic Stauffer will be listening intently to the calls of Travis Stone, and hoping that Stone calls his horses first to the wire.

That may have been the case anyway, but it’s especially true now that Stauffer has won an all-inclusive package to the Kentucky Derby Betting Championship (including $12,000 entry) in our last-chance qualifier.

Christopher Podratz is another who won a lucrative, all-inclusive package on Sunday.

He’ll be one of no more than 57 playing at The BIG One at Laurel in late September. Should he win The BIG One, and then go on to win the NHC, he’ll earn a lump sum $500,000 bonus.

Sunday was our first Gold Coast Summer Classic qualifier.

Congratulations to winners Bruce Warren, Mike Yurczyk and Clint Cook.

A different trio won the prizes in our Wynn entry-only qualifier on Sunday.

And in our major cash game of the day, Steve Pavich parlayed seven winners into $5,000 first prize in our $10,000 guaranteed event.

Henry Karsen also came up with seven winners.

His seven came in our $1,500 Exacta game. None of his $1 exacta payoffs returned more than $37.20, but Karsen’s consistency yielded him the $600 top prize.

We’ll have another robust lineup of tourneys next weekend—including our first qualifier on Sunday, April 30 to the Belmont Stakes Betting Championship ($10,000 entry fee + $500 travel).

Thanks for playing (and reading) and have a great week ahead.