Tim Downs, Ken Seeman and Mario Sanchez Among the Many Beneficiaries on a Longshot-Filled Sunday (Weekend Recap August 18-20)

Looking back over the weekend weather at HorseTourneys, one would have to say it was fair on Friday, sunny on Saturday, and downright bomb-y on Sunday.

The featured weekend slate started off with a fresh twist on Friday. The usual Friday cash game this week was a pool style tournament that was guaranteed at $6,000 but could have a significantly bigger purse depending on participation.

Ultimately, 45 signed up, which meant a total purse of $7,566—50% of which was grabbed by winner Raymond Riley, who also captured a featured Friday cash game on June 9. Anthony Trezza prevailed in a close battle with Joe Koury for second honors.

Over at HorseTourneys, Bob McIntyre rang up four winners out of ten races—all paying between $15.80-$19.60—to take the top spot in a 2-seat-guaranteed $50 NHC qualfier.

Bob’s performance suggests that a family known for taking big swings at big money pots can hold its own just fine in smaller buy-in games too. Congratulations also go out, of course, to Adam Aiken, who was the other to parlay his $50 entry into a coveted NHC seat/package.

Our marquee game on Saturday was a $25,000 Guaranteed affair where Peter Deys came out smoking with four winners from the first six races.

Deys coasted from there to take the $12,500 top prize in the sold out live-format game. We imagine there’s a good chance that Deys re-invests a portion of his winnings in this Saturday’s $100,000 Guaranteed game (a HorseTourneys first).

The biggest Saturday score was turned in, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, in our last-chance Monmouth Super Qualifier qualifier.

Fortunately for Robert Gilbert and Peter Duca, scores do not carryover, and they will start on even terms this Saturday at Monmouth against Darryl Mays and the others!

Another HorseTourneys first occurred on Saturday with a new NHC “Lower Ratio” qualifier, featuring a 1 in 45 ratio rather than the customary 1 in 65.

Here it was Dennis Gates and John Iannone who made the revised ratios (combined with several nice picks) work in their favor.

We’ve already begun offering qualifiers to the 2018 Horse Player World Series at The Orleans. But there is another big event at The Orleans coming up before then—the October 5-7 Orleans Fall Classic.

Saturday’s qualifier bestowed $500 Fall Classic entries to three players: Gary Tarnopol, Robert Yurgionas and Richie Bennett. At the Fall Classic, they can all win a nice cash prize and…a seat to the Horse Player World Series.

Over at HorsePlayers on Saturday, we hosted another of the increasingly popular Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge “Low Ratio” qualifiers with 1 in 23 winning a $10,000 entry.

Peter Dresens (the 2016 NHC Tour Rookie of the Year) and Vincent DePaio liked the lower ratios on Saturday. And if you like lower ratio BCBC qualifiers, then you’ll love this Saturday when we offer a BCBC Super Qualifier at HorsePlayers with 1 in just 13 winning a prize. Note that seats are already beginning to fill up for this game that’s still five days away. So if you know you want to play, sign up soon.

For Joe Pettit (runner up in the $25,000 game), the regular ratios worked just fine at HorsePlayers.

His $179 entry earned him a $10,000 at the November BCBC extravaganza where we will hopefully find out once and for all whether Arrogate is a great horse rounding back into form after a giant effort in Dubai…or an over-the-top Del Mar hater. Early exit poll data seems to be inconclusive on that one!

On Sunday, the most essential tools for victory were past performances, trip notes, workout reports perhaps, and most importantly, a bomb-sniffing dog.

The 12 featured races on Sunday from Saratoga, Del Mar, Ellis Park and Woodbine had, in chronological order, win mutuels of:

$5.50 (boo!)
$79.80 ($42.00 for contest purposes, of course)
$62.00 ($42.00)

No one won more than one featured tournament (though Mario Sanchez nearly did pull off an impressive…and fairly rare…double). But the star of the day had to be Tim Downs. And not just because he won our richest tournament of the day—our $15,000 Guaranteed game—or even because he put up the day’s highest score ($198.00).

With two races left, Downs had a nice lead in the $7,000-to-the-winner event. He already had five winners including the $27.30 horse, the $24.40 horse and the $31.20 horse. Play it safe? Chip up? Bah! Downs went for the gusto and played 38-1 shot Haveiture Way in the 5th at Del Mar. That left any other would-be last-race stabbers gasping for air—even those who actually did have last race bomb Six Point Rack.

Downs’s acumen did not go unnoticed in the world of social media, either.

Also worthy of notice was Mario Sanchez’s day.

Sanchez was the winner of our first qualifier for the 2017 Santa Anita Autumn Championship. And he put many of those same good opinions to good use to nearly pull off a pretty rare win/place game-exacta game double victory.

Somewhat amazingly, Sanchez’s score of $477.60 (which would have been a HorseTourneys Exacta game record) didn’t get it done against Neal Thomas’s $499.80. Admittedly, final scores are always a function of the prices that come in, but these were two outstanding performances no matter how you slice it.

Two of the most consistently outstanding tournament players out there punched their respective tickets to the 2017 The BIG One on Sunday.

Congratulations to Ken Seeman and George Chute who each receive all-inclusive packages and the opportunity to win a $500,000 lump sum bonus should they win both The BIG One and the NHC.

Our Keeneland NHC/BCBC Challenge qualifier was a tight battle between “The Colonel” Clay Sanders and Robert “Bat” Masterson.

But it mattered not because we had enough players to award two Keeneland packages. Congratulations to Clay and Robert.

Earlier, we mentioned next Saturday’s $100,000 Guaranteed game. One player already signed up is July’s $75,000 game winner Kirk Tesar.

In his Sunday prep race for the Hundred-Grander, Tesar won a $1,500 seat to the Horse Player World Series along with “Commissioner” Tim Smith, who topped even Tesar with a score of $122.60.

Dan Horvat hit Haveiture Way in DMR5, the next to last contest race…

…to win a seat to the rich Woodbine Mile Handicapping Tournament on September 16. (Note that if you will have played in three of their four 2017 tournaments, you are automatically eligible for the Woodbine Player of the Year award. Details are on the Woodbine website.

And Haveiture Way put Alan Levitt and Bruce Pratt over the top at HorsePlayers…

…in Sunday’s 2-seat-guaranteed NHC qualifier.

He who caps first caps best?

Thanks to all for playing on this wild-and-wooly weekend. Next weekend has a hard act to follow. But with a hundred-grander, a BCBC Super Qualifier and more all coming up on Travers Day weekend, we’ll certainly try.