Close is Just Fine for Kevin Jones on Saturday; Michael Caposio Puts up a 170; Steve Arrison and Stephen Thompson Enjoy Sunday Double Ups (Weekend Recap November 16-18)

For the third consecutive weekend, we had someone pick seven winners in a single tourney. (Evan Trommer did it each of the previous two weeks.) Actually, this past weekend we had two different players do it…including one who did so on Friday when we only offer 10 races.

Kevin Willett was strong early (hitting the first three races) and strong late (tabbing the last two) in capturing our $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers with seven winners plus a place horse for good measure. The next three slots were all filled by players already double-qualified to the NHC—Steven Perreira, Kevin Engelhard and Jeff Bussan. So the second available NHC berth dropped down to fifth-place finisher Keith Fenton, who had four winners and a runner up.

Here’s a look at Willett’s Friday scoresheet. Needless to say, he was on point!

Jeff “Boom Boom” Joffrion had an excellent Friday as well.

Joffrion had four winners, including longshot Mercer Island ($36.00, $17.40) in the 6ht at Del Mar to show the way and collect $5,296 in Friday’s $5,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed with a final total purse of a very solid $10,593.

On Saturday, Kevin Jones did not finish first in any tourneys. Yet he walked away with an NHC seat and a full package to the Horse Player World Series.

It took a seven-win day from Paul Aussenhofer to beat Jones in the HPWS qualifier, but there was no shame (or penalty) in coming in second or third since there were enough entries to award three packages (including four nights’ hotel and travel stipend). Joining Aussenhofer (who finished seventh with his other entry) and Jones at The Orleans next March will be third-place finisher Douglas Schenk, who captured an NHC seat here just eight days earlier.

Jones recorded six wins and a pair of placings in the Lower Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers, and again that was second best.

This time, Jones’s vanquisher was Rich Pawlowski (four wins including tallies in the final two races plus one place), but these are the kinds of defeats we could all use more of. With two guaranteed seats on offer, Pawlowski and Jones are both headed to Treasure Island next February. Now if Jones can improve his performance by just one position in that one…

The richest tourney of the weekend went to Jon Petoskey.

Petoskey’s selection of Makemineamanhattan ($28.10, $13.00) was the big hit en route to a score of $93.40 and a payday of $8,801 in Saturday’s $17,500 Guaranteed event, which closed with a pot of $19,558. Cheers!

On Sunday, we had eight featured tourneys, including a “regular” NHC Pick & Pray at HorsePlayers.

As was the case in Friday’s $75 qualifier, double-qualified players were very prominent. In fact they accounted for the top two slots here with Joe Pettit and Steve Arrison pocketing beaucoup de Tour Points. That left the berths, themselves, to the third-and fourth-place finishers Nick “529” Fazzolari and Rick Broth, who both heated up thanks to 25-1 winner Early Deligh (their typo, not mine) in the 11th at Gulfstream Park West.

Pettit and Arrison were far from mere point-mongers, though.

Pettit’s strong score of $128.80 got him second money of $2,657 in our $10,000 Guaranteed tourney, which wound up with a purse of $13,288. But, hey, check out that score put up in victory by Southern California car dealership maestro Michael Caposio.

Caposio had Early Deligh AND 23-1 Woodbine winner Sable Island to run over Pettit and the others in an authoritative triumph worth $6,644.

Like Pettit, Arrison also had plenty of action beyond his NHC points grab.

Steve’s five wins and two places added up to $119.70, good for first place and a $900 package to the December 29 Monmouth NHC qualifier (where he can get more tour points!).

Arrison did even better in Sunday’s Horse Player World Series entry-only qualifier.

First-place is first-place, but Arrison bumped up his score by $20.40 in this one—and he needed to in order to hold off the likes of David Snyder and Stephen “The Undertaker” Thompson, who also won $1,500 entries in this 59-entry affair.

While Thompson may have squeaked out a Horse Player World Series entry, he really buried his competition in Sunday’s Gulfstream Park Conquer the Crown qualifier.

Thompson had three wins and one place for a total of $120.60. Every last penny of that scoring came over the first seven races of the 12-race tourney. I guess you could say that, in this one, Thompson left his opponents for dead.

The qualifier for the Lone Star NHC qualifier was in doubt until the very last race.

Here it was Josh Thorpe who broke through thanks to Push Through…the winner of the last contest race at Del Mar. The $5.00 to win and $3.00 to place meant a $500 entry for Thorpe on December 1.

Kevin Harrell had three winners in our $1,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney but, with the benefit of hindsight, he only needed one of them.

Harrell’s connection on a $124.55 exacta (for a dollar) in the 10th at Woodbine provided all the scoring he would need in capturing the $1,161 top prize over exacta game stalwart Jorge Cruz-Aedo. Last week’s winner, Ted Fabiniak, checked in fourth.

Lastly, there was our last-chance qualifier to this coming weekend’s Hawthorne Fall NHC qualifier.

I’m not sure where George Henning and Gary Steichele will be spending Thanksgiving, but I’m confident that they will be spending at least part of Black Friday in Chicagoland as they prepare for the two single-day contests on Saturday and Sunday. Henning had six winners, including Sable Island, and two places; while Steichele chimed in with four on top and one down below. Both receive $800 in entry fees plus $500 for travel.

Before we sign off, congratulations to Bill Rendino, who defeated runner up Tony Zhou and 102 others in last Saturday’s Aqueduct Challenge.

Also—a heads-up that we will be offering an up-to-$5,000 tourney on Wednesday afternoon/evening featuring the stakes at Penn National plus some other early-evening heats. And on Thanksgiving, the HorseTourneys menu is replete with a $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray (Pick & Eat & Pray?) with no limit as to how high the purse could grow. We’ll also offer have an entry-only Horse Player World Series qualifier on our Thanksgiving Day table. Tempting!

Have a great week ahead and safe travels to you and yours.