Dennis Montoro the Top Winner on Back-to-Back Days; Christopher Podratz Picks Six on Sunday (Weekend Recap April 12-14)

It was a live-format weekend with lots of longshots and multiple paths to victory (at least on Saturday and Sunday). That meant that almost no one was able to win more than one big prize. There was one notable exception, however.

Not only did Dennis Montoro win tourneys on both Saturday and Sunday, he was the single biggest winner of cash/prizes on each day.

On Saturday, Montoro had winners at odds of 18-1, 32-1 and 12-1 among his four firsts and two seconds. That got him top money of $9,319 in Saturday’s $17,500 Guaranteed cash game, which closed with a pot of $20,739. That victory alone wasn’t quite enough to make Montoro the top winner on Saturday (since there was a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seat up for grabs at HorsePlayers). However, Montoro played a second entry in the $20,739 tourney and he had 32-1 Madame Barbarian (AQU race 7) and Lexington Stakes winner Owendale (12-1 in KEE race 9) on that ticket as well. It was good for third place and another $2,485 in cash for Montoro, who walked away from the game with a total of $11,804.

Montoro had to be feeling confident when he cracked open the Sunday past performances. He took a shot in the day’s most lucrative tournament, the BCBC Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers.

He started off modestly, hitting two winners (and no places) from the first nine contest races. He finished strong, though, hitting “the late Pick 3” to finish with five winners and a total of $95.10. The winning score was the lowest of Sunday’s featured events, but his winning haul was once again the largest of the day—as represented by the $10,000 BCBC entry. Such is the beauty of low ratio tourneys…you don’t typically need giant scores to win a big prize.

The only winning score of the weekend lower than Montoro’s Sunday triumph came in Friday’s $5,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.

Craig Hom had just one winner all day—but it was an important one: Ballard High ($40.40, $17.80) in the 8th at Keeneland. Hom and runner up David Wilganowski were the only two to have Ballard High…but Hom also added a couple of place collections that moved him into the top spot, which was worth $6,053 in a game that closed with a final pot of $12,107.

Scores were higher in Friday’s 345-entry, $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers.

The top finishers all had Ballard High, and leading the pack among that group were Christy Moore (4 wins, 3 places) and Howard Blumberg (5 wins, 2 places), each of whom won 2020 NHC berths for their $75 initial investments.

There was also a two-seats-guaranteed NHC qualifier on Saturday, this one with a more traditional entry fee of $165.

“Minnesota Mike”…Mike Ferrozzo led the way with two wins and three places, followed closely by Peter “Sharp Dressed Man” Dresens (three wins, two places). Both punched their tickets to Bally’s for next February.

Over at HorsePlayers, there was a Saturday BCBC qualifier that was captured by Tyler Spinner.

Tyler was spinning his wheels after the first five contest races. His score was a nice round number (zero). Over the final seven, though, he hit 32-1 shot Madame Barbarian, 12-1 proposition Owendale, plus one other winner and two runners up. As a result, he’ll be giving the wheel another spin come November in the BCBC.

We mentioned Dennis Montoro’s Sunday victory at HorsePlayers in the BCBC Low Ratio qualifier. There was also a regular NHC Pick & Pray there that day.

Alan Levitt and Darin Gielow each had three winners and two places, and they finished just 90 cents apart, which was good enough for both to walk away with NHC packages.

Back here at HorseTourneys, Christopher Podratz became the latest to earn an all-inclusive trip to The BIG One on September 21-22.

Podratz had a strike rate in this one of 50%, with six wins from 12 races. Here’s a look at his scoresheet.

The $100,000 Gtd. Spa & Surf Showdown has already filled 35 of its seats after Sunday’s qualifier.

The two players to break triple digits—Albion Benton and Jeff Bussan—were the two to earn $2,000 entries to the August 3-4 online tourney that will challenge players to make win-place plays from the full card of races at Saratoga and Del Mar on those two days.

Tom Falter was not true to his name in Sunday’s Saratoga Challenge qualifier.

Falter racked up five winners plus a place to snage a nice $3,500 package to the Spa’s onsite handicapping competitions on August 9-10 (run as two separate, single-day contests).

The highest winning score of the day was turned in by Matthew Whitaker in Sunday’s $10,000 Guaranteed cash game.

Whitaker recorded 5 wins and 2 places on the way to that big score of $146.20. He went to bed on Sunday night $5,004 richer.

Our first qualifier to the April 27 NHC Super Qualifier at Santa Anita was a hotly contested affair.

Bryan Millang (3 wins, 2 seconds) caught a $7.40 place collection with Rinse and Repeat in the final contest race, the 8th at Santa Anita, to edge past Captain Frank Sorensen and claim the $1,500 Santa Anita entry.

The day after the NHC Super Qualifier at Santa Anita is the Steve Sexton Mile Day Challenge at Lone Star Park.

The two triple-digit scorers here are the two who emerged with $1,000 entries to the contest deep in the heart of Texas. Congratulations to Robert Childress (3 wins, 3 places) and Steve “People Are” Stange (5 wins, including wins in final three races plus two places).

Sunday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier wasn’t much of a contest.

Gary Gristick’s five wins and three seconds led to a final score of $136.20, which was more than $50 higher than his nearest pursuer. He’ll be heading to Monmouth on June 1 with a paid-up $2,000 to the popular Pick Your Prize event—plus he’ll have an additional $500 for his travel expenses.

Joe Yuracka had two winners in Sunday’s $1,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney, but only one of them really mattered.

Yuracka hit the Gulfstream race 8 exacta to the tune of $250.80 (for a dollar). That blew everyone else out of the water, earning Joe the top prize of $1,239 in a game that closed with a final purse of $1,770.

We’ll have 20 or so more winners to report on next week—including the results of three first-chance qualifiers: one for the May 18 Santa Anita Preakness Challenge; one for the June 7-8 Belmont Stakes Challenge; and one for the July 27-28 Del Mar Handicapping Challenge (always one of the year’s favorites). Until then, have a great week ahead.