Shurman Surges to Nice Cash Win; Marlaire Posts Biggest Score in Smallest Tourney (Weekend Recap January 5,7)

Eric Wing blog pic

You’ll see that there’s a comma between the two numbers in the title of this posting rather than a dash. That’s because Saturday, January 6 didn’t go as planned, to put it mildly.

As angry, disappointed and or frustrated as any of you were (and you had a right to be all three on Saturday), I dare say that McKay Smith had you topped in all three departments. He takes this stuff personally. It’s his business—and a major part of his life.

One of the beauties of a small business, though, is that—without bureaucratic red tape, layers and layers of middle management and people consumed with covering their behinds—problems are much easier to identify…and remedy.

Upon investigation, the problem was found to be on our end—a small piece of incorrect code that had gone undetected in part because it hadn’t caused any problems until Saturday. If I knew or wanted to know anything about computers, I wouldn’t have majored in English or gone on to a writing/editing/PR career. Still, I was impressed that we could get to the bottom of our own technical problem in relatively short order.

And I was also impressed—though not surprised—that McKay did what he did to try and make things right for those who had so much riding on the NHC “Final Five” tourney at HorsePlayers. (It’ll be back Saturday, now as a “Final Six” and the 320 affected individuals received $50 account credits in addition to an entry in the replacement contest.)

Reputation means a lot to all of us here at HorseTourneys. And, in a world where all too often one can feel like his or her patronage is being taken for granted, we’d prefer to be viewed differently. We’re not perfect—but we do care.

We also like to celebrate our players’ successes. And on Friday, the most notable of these belonged to Jobby Blevins.

0105 6000 Gtd

With just a couple of contest races left, it appeared all in our $7,903 Pick & Pray were playing for second money behind Anthony “Doczilla” Trezza. But it turned out that Blevins had saved his best picks (and prayers?) for the end, connecting on 9-2 and 16-1 winners at the end to snatch the $3,951 first prize away from Trezza, who did hold safe the $1,580 runner up prize.

Tom Dillon had that last race 16-1 winner (Gotham Desire) as well.

0105 HPWS

The late-game heroics earned him a $1,500 Horse Player World Series entry by $1.40 over Dane Moore.

But Moore could take some solace in the results of Friday’s Treasure Island NHC Last Chance qualifier.

0105 TI Last Chance

Moore played the same ticket as in the HPWS game and, here, his score of $70.60 held up to earn the $500 entry over G.T. Nixon…and G.T. Nixon…and G.T. Nixon.

Order was restored in time for Sunday’s featured-tourney action. With three races left in the day’s $12,000 Guaranteed game (which finished with a pot of $17,084), NHC Hall of Famer Paul Shurman needed things to break just right for him to have a shot at winning. And that’s pretty much just what happened.

0107 12K Gtd

In the third-to-last race he hit 13-1 shot Overcomer. The next race, the 7th at Santa Anita, he scored with a 9-1 shot to take a slim contest lead. And then he whiffed on his last play. But the race was won by the favorite—a horse who could do him no damage, and the Long Island barrister found himself the winner of $7,688. His competition at the upcoming NHC certainly does not want to see Shurman heat up any further between now and February 9.

Among that NHC competition of Shurman’s is Albert Wong and Craig Hom.

0107 NHC

They “punched their tickets” after finishing in the top two of the Sunday NHC qualifier. (That was some final score by Wong!)

The most lucrative victories of the day were registered by Shane Muscarello, John Holmes and Yolanda Labordo.

0107 Pegasus

They each won $12,500 to this month’s Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship at Gulfstream Park. Nice to see these qualifiers steadily gaining participatory momentum, which bodes for a fun final event.

Competition was equally fierce in Sunday’s Horse Player World Series entry-only qualifier.

0107 HPWS

Jerod Dinkin, Gary Sutton and George Chute separated themselves from the rest of the field by just enough to secure the $1,500 entries to the venerable annual at The Orleans.

Michael Kavana played a couple of entries in Sunday’s $2,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney.

0107 2000 Exacta

For the most part, his plays on ticket 2 involved just one different horse from the three he used on ticket 1. And the strategy worked rather well. He left with a total of $1,452 in the event that ended with an overall purse of $2,421.

Our first HorsePlayers featured tourney action of the weekend took place on Sunday, and the day’s NHC Super Qualifier drew enough entries to award two packages.

0107 HP NHC Super Q

Blake Courtney (five winners and one runner-up) and Robert DiFusco (three winners and two places) were the two big swingers who cleared the fences.

The other featured event at HorsePlayers on Sunday was a qualifier to the NHC Last Chance tournament at Treasure Island. The $58 entry fee and $500 prize meant that it was tied (with Friday’s NHC Last Chance qualifier) as the smallest-scale featured tourney of the weekend…

0107 HP TI Last Chance

…and yet it featured the weekend’s highest win/place total. Congratulations to Michael Marlaire who jogged to victory (and who had separately earned $2,050 for finishing 3rd behind Paul Shurman in the $17,084 game. Kudos also to Luke Peltz and Michael Tomatz who had to sweat a little more before securing their own $500 entries to NHC eve at TI.

Many thanks to all of you this past weekend for your business, your enthusiasm and, yes, your understanding. Have a great week ahead.