Stephen Perreira and Joe Johnson Double Up; Michael Kavana Beats Himself; Dan Flanigan Returning to The BIG One (Weekend Recap August 10-12)

It was a live-format weekend for the most part at HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers. That often serves as an impediment to players winning multiple tourneys—but not this week.

We got things started on Friday with the only two Pick & Prays of the weekend. Now granted, final scores are, in good measure, a function of the winners that come in on a given day. Still, the best performance of the weekend—scorewise and otherwise—may have been that of Steve Nemetz in the BCBC Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers.

Low Ratio tournaments typically mean small fields and low scores. Not here. In a field of just 36, Nemetz racked up a score of $133.80, the highest of the weekend, from just 10 contest races. He picked four winners—at odds of 8-1, 22-1, 3-2 and 14-1. He didn’t have any runners up, but with winners like those, who needs places? Nemetz won his $10,000 BCBC entry by more than $40 over runner up Frank Story, who put up a nice score in his own right and was rewarded with a $5,000 partial BCBC entry. Story’s other entry checked in fourth.

Friday’s $5,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray at HorseTourneys attracted 44 entries, yet here, the scores were nowhere near as high as in the BCBC Low Ratio game.

Derrick Rogers’s score of $66.10 would have gotten him fifth place in the BCBC Low Ratio qualifier, but here it got him top money of $3,699 in a contest that ended up with a final purse of $7,398. The key for Rogers was that he was the only player in the tourney to select 22-1 winner Quickluckycoco ($42.00 to win for contest purposes, $18.00 to place) in the 6th at Gulfstream.

Turning the page to Saturday, we will start again with the goings on at HorsePlayers. There were two featured tourneys there…but only one winner.

Stephen Perreira won the “regular” BCBC qualifier on the strength of 6 winners and one runner up. Five of those six winners came in the first six contest races.

Perreira then did himself one better (one place collection better) in the $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers.

Playing the two HorsePlayers live-format events much like Pick & Prays, Perreira again hit five of the first six winners. The crazy thing is…after the fifth contest race by which Perreira had compiled four winners, he was actually trailing! That’s because Matthew Thomas picked the first five winners in a row. Unfortuately for Thomas, that was all the scoring he did—while Perreira added two more winners and two runners up here to pull off the “HorsePlayers sweep.”

Back here at HorseTourneys, Robert Reidy was the big winner of the day.

Reidy, a doctor from Pittsburgh, had four winners and one runner up to earn $8,973 in the day’s $17,500 Guaranteed cash game. That’s a good rate of pay even by a doctor’s standard. And for Reidy, it was his second win in as many weeks. On August 3, he won an Orleans Fall Classic qualifier.

Stephen McNatton won an NHC seat in the day’s Low Ratio qualifier.

McNatton’s score of $80.000 wasn’t necessarily earth-shattering, but he won by more than $23. Give him some extra credit for spotting himself cleverly—the event drew just 12 entries. That’s what I call a Really Low Ratio Qualifier.

Competition was quite fierce in Saturday’s Orleans Fall Classic qualifier.

Douglas Schenk had 5 winners and 3 places. Runner up Kyle Snowden collected even more often, connecting on 6 winners and 4 runners up. Schenk and Snowden needed every bit of that too to hold off the others, including the red-hot Stephen Perreira who finished in third and fourth and was just a few bucks away from a Saturday hat trick or four-bagger.

On Sunday, tournament player Joe Johnson emulated his NBA shooting guard namesake by hitting a buzzer beater from downtown to win our $10,000 Guaranteed cash tourney.

Johnson scored in the final contest race with Coniston ($25.60, $10.60) in the 12th at Gulfstream to win $5,608 in a tourney that finished up with a pot of $11,217.

Johnson also played the live-format BCBC Low Ratio game at HorsePlayers on Sunday—and much as Stephen Perreira did on Saturday, Johnson played his two entries almost as though they were Pick & Prays.

Johnson actually didn’t do quite as well here, scoring $3.00 less. But again it came down to Coniston in the 12th at Gulfstream and, rather than hedging his bets, Johnson doubled down on Coniston. The result: a $10,000 BCBC entry to go along with his $5,600 cash win. Not a bad day at the office.

An 11-1 last-race winner, Coniston played very big on a day with several low-priced winners. In Sunday’s qualifier for The BIG One, Coniston was a must.

Dan Flanigan (3 wins, 4 places) and Robert Engelhard (3 wins, 3 places) both had decent enough days, but it was Coniston who got them over the hump and on their way to Laurel. Many will recall Flanigan, a Minneapolis investment pro, as the 2016 Champion of The BIG One. Insiders say that Laurel is his third-favorite gaming venue in the country behind only Canterbury Park and the opulent Las Vegas Strip property Casino Royale (home of the $2 Michelob Lights).

Note that Flanigan also finished second behind Joe Johnson in Sunday’s $11,217 tourney. For Flanigan, the runner up finish was worth $2,243–or 1,121 Michelob Lights plus tip.

Coniston was also key for Rudolph Hardin.

The Gulfstream longshot got Hardin up to $67.10—good for first place and a $3,500 package to October’s Keeneland NHC-BCBC Challenge.

One of the summer’s hottest players, Jorge Cruz-Aedo had Coniston…and plenty of other winners to go along with that one.

Cruz-Aedo’s tally of $102.00 was the high score of the day, and it got him a $500 entry to next Saturday’s Pacific Classic Betting Challenge at Del Mar. Runner up (and fellow Coniston fan) John Ukelja also won a $500 entry.

Another of the summer’s most frequent featured-tourney winners is Michael Kavana. In Sunday’s qualifier for the September 15 Woodbine Mile Horseplayers Tournament, Kavana hit Coniston in the last race to vault himself past the poor sap in second who didn’t have Coniston…

…Michael Kavana. For Kavana, it was the second consecutive weekend earning a ticket to a nice, brick-and-mortar tournament. Last week he won a $1,000 package to the August 25 Monmouth Super Qualifier. Kavana actually did get a little lucky in here when Joe Johnson used Coniston on his lesser entry, but not his better one. Had he flip flopped that, he would have won this event as well.

Speaking of the Monmouth contest, this week’s qualifier to it was won by Michael Guadagno and 2015 NHC Champ John O’Neil.

Guadagno prevailed despite not having Coniston. O’Neil did have the Gulfstream longshot.

Another fellow who won despite not using Coniston was Burton Rapkin in the Laurel Champions Tournament qualifier.

Runner up (and fellow $300 entry winner) Edward Wright had Coniston, but Rapkin didn’t need him. All he did was pick seven winners plus a runner up. And five of those winners came in a row.

Now that’s a performance worthy of all caps!

Nowhere was Coniston more popular than in HorsePlayers’s NHC qualifier.

The top nine (and 12 of the top 13) all had the Gulfstream 11-1 winner. Congratulations to Karen Richards and Vincent Easley who were having the best days among those 12 heading in to that final race. They are on to Vegas.

So concludes another fun weekend…no thanks to the Saratoga weatherman. Thanks to all for playing—and reading.