Nicholas Fazzolari Wins Wynn Handicapping Challenge

Nicholas Fazzolari had a nice enough Day 1 at the $460,000 Wynn Handicapping Challenge. But his final day today was superb.

After scoring a solid but unspectacular $78.80 on Friday, the 56-year-old financial services professional found himself in 26th place. On Saturday, he hit a series of winners including 22-1 shot Trumpi at Saratoga and 12-1 shot Waldorf in the finale at Del Mar to finish with not only the top Day 2 score of $233.80, but the top overall score ($313.60)–good for a total of $154,000, including $28,000 in Day 2 day money.

“Yesterday was so chalky, that I figured I’d go for prices today,” said Fazzolari. “In the first race at Saratoga, I played a 25-1 shot that finished second. I said to myself, ‘Well, I’m right about that there will be longshots today. Then I just looked for value and horses that could win.

The Colts Neck, N.J. resident thought he might win when 26-1 shot Warrior’s Reward led to deep stretch of the last race at Saratoga before getting caught by odds-on choice Neolithic. But he saved one of his best opinions–and his day’s double bet–for last, winning with Waldorf to sew up the victory.

HorseTourneys qualifier Jon Van Niel earned $46,000 for finishing second with $247.30. Fellow HorseTourneys qualifier Kevin Willet finished third and fourth with his pair of entries–good for a total of $42,000. (HorseTourneys set a record number of qualifiers to the Wynn this year–66). And former NHC Champ Jose Arias ($12,500) rounded out the top five with a score of $195.00.

Day 1 leader Cheryl McIntyre finished 20th with a score of $155.20 and earned $2,000 to go with the $28,000 she made on Friday.

Fazzolari has had good days before. He once won $20,000 in a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. “But this is by far the most money I’ve ever won playing the horses.”

Approximately $24,000 of Fazzolari’s prize winnings are already spoken for, however. During a Facetime conversation with his 8-year-old daughter this morning, she asked him if he thought he might win.

“I told her I’m definitely going to win,” Fazzolari laughed. “Her sister and her cousins were in the background, and I told her I was going to put $3,000 in each of their 529 [college savings] accounts if I did. I don’t know how I came up with $3,000…but I did, and I have six nieces and nephews. So there’s $24,000 heading their way.”

Money well spent. And well earned.