Ronald Peltz Pelts Opponents Three Times; Jimmie O’Nail Nails a Pair; Four Big Prices Make Saturday Super for Michael Sussman (Weekend Recap September 28-30)

When Ronald Peltz captured the first featured tourney of the weekend, our $5,000 Guaranteed Friday Pick & Pray, it meant $5,128 to his bankroll since the purse wound up growing all the way to $10,257. Little did we know that he was just getting warmed up.

Peltz hit an early cap horse en route to his Friday victory. After an unmemorable Saturday for him, he came back strong on Sunday.

Ronald hit four winners and four places Sunday to capture our one and only qualifier to next weekend’s Doubleheader contests at Santa Anita. Fittingly it was his pick of Flip the Coin Jan ($14.60, $6.40) in the final contest race, the 9th at Santa Anita, that punched his ticket to The Great Race Place. But Peltz wasn’t done winning.

Using the same picks as in the Santa Anita qualifier, Peltz grabbed third place in Sunday’s Keeneland NHC/BCBC Challenge—which was just fine since this was a three-seat qualifier.

The only two to finish ahead of Peltz were runner up Steve Simonovic (by 50 cents) and winner Marc Stateler, who posted a score of $109.70—the highest of anyone in a Sunday featured tourney. On what was a day devoid of bombs, Stateler got to that number by picking six winners (including one that paid the day’s highest win price, $15.40) and two runners up.

Rewinding back to Friday’s action, HorsePlayers offered a pair of featured events, and it was Gary Fenton and Alan Levitt who were all over the day’s big prices.

Fenton had three wins (and no places) and Levitt had two wins and a place to take the payoff spots in the day’s $75 NHC qualifier. Both Fenton and Levitt had 31-1 winner Benevolence in the 8th at Belmont, which was the second of 10 contest races.

No one had Benevolence in Friday’s BCBC Low Ratio qualifier. That left the door open for lower scores to capture the glory.

There were just enough entries to award two BCBC prizes in this tourney, and John Cilia and Tom Cooper did the best job of piecing things together—though they did it in largely opposite manners Cilia (three wins, one place) did most of his winning early. Cooper had four wins and one runner up. Though after six races, Cooper just had the single second-place horse to his credit and his score stood at a meager $6.40. Then he reeled off four straight winners at the end to get all the way up to second place.

The richest tourney of the weekend came Saturday in our $35,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.

The event ran at virtually no takeout to players and at a loss to HorseTourneys. The biggest beneficiary of the player-friendly percentages was Jeff “Boom Boom” Joffrion who, indeed, made big noise twice. Both he and runner up Pat Nufrio had 26-1 longshot winner Smiling Tigress in the 8th at Santa Anita. But Joffrion also had 45-1 shocker Discreet Lover in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont, and that allowed him to eke out a narrow victory worth $15,750. Just 70 cents behind, Nufrio had to settle for second-palce and $6,300.

Another special Saturday offering was our Orleans Fall Classic Blowout.

Ben Clayton led the way with four wins and two placings. Clayton will be joined at The Orleans by the second-through-seventh-place finishers: Michael Markham, Ira Hirsch, Jimmie O’Nail, Mr. Lindsay Hurst (who won two entries for finishing fifth and seventh), Michael Triozzi and Robert Blake. Look for our Last Chance Orleans Fall Classic qualifier this coming weekend.

One of those eight Orleans Fall Classic qualifier winners had an excellent go of it in Saturday’s NHC qualifier.

Jimmie O’Nail will clearly be racking up the frequent flyer miles to Las Vegas after finishing first in this live-format qualifier. The second-place finisher Timothy Yohler was already double-qualified to the NHC, so that meant that the second available spot slid down to third-place finisher Jeff Bussan.

Joseph Brady and Adam Lewis are also Vegas bound.

They were the two winners of $1,500 entries in Saturday’s 2019 Horse Players World Series Pick & Pray qualifier.

Saturday’s highest score—a gaudy $193.10—was registered by Michael Sussman in capturing the day’s live-format BCBC qualifier at HorsePlayers.

This one was determined by longshot Smiling Tigress in what turned out to be the final contest race. Sussman needed every bit of that price to stay ahead of runner up Roger Cettina, who also had Smiling Tigress. The last-race result made for a tough beat for Darwin Labordo who put forth a gallant effort in finishing third.

Here’s a look at Sussman’s score sheet from the BCBC qualifier:

Taking a look at Sunday featured events that weren’t significantly impacted by Ronald Peltz, our $15,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney wound up with just two players who showed a flat-bet profit.

Those two—Anthony Trezza and Ted Apple—took home the lion’s share of the bucks. For Trezza, it was a case of “every little bit helps.” He had just two winners out of 12 races, but he recorded five-runner up finishes, and those made the difference in him taking home the top prize of $12,111 in a game that closed with a final purse of $17,301.

Our other big Sunday cash game was our $10,000 Guaranteed tourney that closed with a pot of $13,978. Evan Trommer and Frank Foss finished in a dead heat here with $82.10 apiece. Alarms then sounded and the HorseTourneys stewards sprang into action to review the forensics. The HorseTourneys stewards are known for being a thorough, meticulous bunch, but this was a case that even Inspector Clouseau could solve easily. It came down simply to the first tiebreaker—number of wins. Trommer had six and Foss and four. That meant $6,290 for Trommer and $2,795 for Foss. (Sorry, Evan. I somehow lost the screen shot for this tourney. Perhaps Frank will be glad that I did.)

Things were also close in our $2,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney, though here the HT Stewards didn’t have to be disturbed from their football watching/afternoon naps.

Pierre Poulin, the winner of $1,400, hit just two exactas, but one was worth $90.25 for a dollar (in the 9th at Belmont). Runner up Michael Gotkin connected on five exactas, but they didn’t add up to Poulin’s two. Sacre bleu!

Over at HorsePlayers, final race 6-1 shot Flip the Coin Jan made all the difference for Edward Reidy.

The victory moved Edward Reidy from third to first place. Next February, it will move him from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas for the NHC. Joe Rodgers finished second to secure the other available seat in the live-format, “regular” qualifier.

There were two BCBC qualifiers on Sunday—one for high rollers…and the other for really high rollers.

The “one in five,” really-high-roller one was captured by John Gaspar, who broke slowly but had the winners of the 9th, 10th and 11th contest races (of 12) to get his $10,000 entry for Nov. 2-3.

Steve Arrison was another Flip the Coin Jan beneficiary.

The final-contest-race winner propelled Arrison to the top in our “pretty high roller,” one-in-ten qualifier.

Whether your budget is more suited to $2,300 BCBC qualifiers or $75 NHC qualifiers (or even our free tourneys), we hope you found a game that brought you some enjoyment. Thanks for playing…and reading.