Darryl Lacy and Neal Thomas Take Few Prisoners on Friday, Sunday (Weekend Recap October 12-14)

Sometimes, when a player has a really good day, you find yourself thankful that he or she didn’t play every single tourney. There were certainly some who may have felt thankful in that regard on Sunday…but not so much on Friday.

Friday was Darryl Lacy’s day…almost to the exclusion of everyone else.

At HorsePlayers, he won the day’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) Low Ratio qualifier with three wins and two places adding up to a score of $122.00.

Unfortunately for Gary Machiz, among others, Lacy copied and pasted those same picks into his entry for Friday’s $5,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.

Lacy now had $5,128 in cash to go with his $10,000 BCBC entry—and at least Machiz, who picked six winners out of the day’s 10 contest races, had $2,051 to show for his fine efforts.

Lacy went for a Friday clean sweep in the day’s $75 NHC qualifier…and he nearly pulled it off!

Only Texan Trey Stiles and Matthew Abbott managed to outdo Lacy’s $122.00 in this tourney, and they were the two who walked away with the NHC packages. And though it wasn’t a clean sweep for Lacy, he did add another $225 (via a third-place breakage refund) to his Friday haul.

The key horse for Stiles (who also finished 7th), Abbott and the next 12 in the final standings was longshot All Hansens Ondeck in the 10th at Keeneland. One non-fan of tournaments opined on Twitter that this result was proof, yet again, that contests were nothing more than stabfests. Though having 14 at the top correctly selecting a 21-1 shot in a 312-entry tournament seemed about right to me. Tournaments (or losing out to players who can successfully sniff out viable longshots) just aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, I guess.

There was no singularly dominant player on Saturday, and that meant five different winners across the day’s five featured tourneys. The high score of the day (and weekend) was recorded by Peter “Sharp Dressed Man” Dresens.

We’re not sure if Dresens dons a fancy suit while playing from his laptop at home, but he will undoubtedly have a couple of nice sets of threads ready for the BCBC. Dresens earned a $10,000 entry to that event thanks to his five wins and two runners up in Saturday’s “regular” BCBC qualifier at HorsePlayers. Dresens, who bested the Beychok Boys, did most of his damage early in this one, hitting the first three winners right out of the gate, and four of the first five, en route to victory.

Tom Arndt put up a Saturday score not even half as good as Dresens’s…but Arndt spotted himself well.

Arndt’s tally of $55.20, built up via two wins and two places, was best of six entrants in HorsePlayers’s $2,300 “Elite” BCBC qualifier.

Lynn Ray had four wins and four places in Saturday’s richest event at HorseTourneys…

…and it was that last place collection (worth $9.90 in the final contest race) that moved Ray into first place—and the $8,490 that went with it—in our $17,500 Guaranteed Pick & Pray that closed with a total purse of $18,868.

The two featured qualifiers on Saturday at HorseTourneys were won by rather comfortable margins.

Steve Arrison collected nine times, via four wins and five runners up, to win our Horse Players World Series entry-only qualifier by $21.40.

That $21.40 margin was narrow compared to Timothy Vatne’s cushion in Saturday’s NHC Low Ratio qualifier.

Vatne’s four wins and two places added up to $103.10–$43.50 more than the score of his nearest pursuer.

His margins of victory were smaller than those of Arrison or Vatne—but the undisputed star of Sunday was cash-game specialist Neal Thomas.

Thomas recorded five wins and a place—including wins in the final two races worth a combined $34.50 in win/place returns—to pull in $9,261 in our $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney, which closed with a total purse of $13,230.

In our other five-figure Sunday cash game, our $10,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which wound up with a pot of $11,907, Thomas somehow lost his lone place payoff, but his five wins still carried the day.

His earnings here were $5,953, making for a two-tourney total of $15,214. That was almost as much as Darryl Lacy won on Friday. In fact, Thomas would have bested Lacy in that informal competition were it not for the $225 breakage return that Lacy received for coming in third in the $75 NHC qualifier. (Also note that Lynn Ray, winner of $8,490 on Saturday, cashed for another $1,428 by finishing third here.)

Thomas also took a shot in Sunday’s other featured cash game, our $2,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney.

Coming up with that “second horse” proved a bridge too far for Thomas in this one, and he finished fifth behind $1,400 winner Elizabeth Canning (five winners). Canning took the lead with a $33.50 (for a dollar) exacta payoff in the next-to-last contest race. Then she cleverly used the chalks in the final race, cashing for an additional $7.60 and, more importantly, blocking runnerup David Wilganowski who also had the smallish exacta and would have passed Canning had she not had it as well. The tourney, incidentally, was run with no takeout to players (and, after track and credit card fees were factored in, at a loss to HorseTourneys).

On the qualifying side of the Sunday ledger, a small, late payoff also made a key difference in our “regular,” two-seats-guaranteed NHC qualifier.

Eliot Honaker (four wins, two places) had the lead to himself here. Greg Helm grabbed the second NHC spot thanks to a $2.60 place payoff in the final contest race that allowed him to retain second place from Russell Weber, who had the final race winner (the 6th at Santa Anita) and otherwise would have passed him.

Michael Odorisio won our first qualifier to the Hawthorne Fall NHC Super Qualifier.

Odorisio had four winners and four places overall, but things weren’t decided until he hit the winners of the final two races. He will move on to Hawthorne on November 23-24 with his $800 in entry fees covered, plus another $500 in his pocket for travel to Chicagoland.

There was another “first chance” qualifier on Sunday…one for the Lone Star Park NHC qualifier on December 1. It drew just 10 entries…

…but what a score Gilbert Maldonado put up in victory. His four wins and four places added up to $120.80 and would have won any of the Sunday featured tourneys with the exception of our Big Bucks event. (Neal Thomas scored $122.80 in that one.) Maldonado’s margin of victory in the Lone Star qualifier: $69.70.

Scores were considerably lower in our qualifier to the Monmouth NHC qualifier on December 29.

This contest drew just 13 entries but we ran it anyway, and the winner was Nick “529” Fazzolari who, as has been noted in the past, always seems to show up in tourneys where the players are absolutely getting the best of it. Fazzolari got himself into the top spot thanks to having R Cha Cha ($5.40, $3.20) in the final race (the 6th at Santa Anita) of this Pick & Pray.

Dan Wilde had a less nervewracking go of it in the lone featured tourney of the day at HorsePlayers.

Wilde didn’t bother with place horses…but his four winners secured him a cozy-enough $24.40 triumph. More to the point, those winners secured him a $10,000 BCBC entry.

From time to time, we all run into white-hot opponents, but one of the nice things about HorseTourneys is that there is almost always a wide enough variety of top-shelf games so that the list of individual winners is still quite lengthy. And we’re delighted, each and every week, to celebrate them all right here. Thanks for being part of this week’s “celebration.”