Dane Moore’s December to Remember Continues; “Boom Boom” Joffrion Lights the Cash Game Lamp Twice; Michael Kavana Scores a Hat Trick (Weekend Recap December 20-22)

When it came to the NHC, Dane Moore entered December on the outside looking in. In fact, he wasn’t just outside…he was way down the street. He had just 3,500 or so Tour Points to his name but then the calendar flipped—and so did Moore’s fortunes.

He picked up a couple of thousand points for a good finish in the Del Mar Fall Internet contest, then he broke through and secured his NHC spot with a second-place finish in a HorseTourneys qualifier on December 7. He added another 1,900 points for a near-miss on December 13, then picked up seat number 2 two days later at HorsePlayers.

Dane Moore

Maybe it was because they say “You don’t choose the Tour; the Tour chooses you.” Maybe it was just because he felt like he was on a roll. Whatever the reason, Moore decided to find out this weekend whether his hot streak could continue. We trust the answer was to his liking.

Moore had 11,791 Tour Points entering the weekend and on Saturday he added to that total (how much we won’t find out until later in the week at by finishing second—in between seat winners Kevin Engelhard (4 wins, 3 places) and Shawn Heron (6 wins, no places)—in the $210 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers.

Perhaps Moore felt the NHC qualifiers were getting to be too easy for him…so he took a shot on Saturday at a full package to the Horse Player World Series.

Moore’s same picks—containing five first-place runners—got him the entry/hotel/travel deal to The Orleans where he will be joined by runner up Brian O’Kane (5 firsts, 2 seconds.)

As it turns out, maybe Horse Player World Series qualifiers are too easy for Moore as well.

He won another one on Sunday—here utilizing just three winners to amass the winning total of $116.20. Francis Drew (5 wins, 2 places) checked in second to scoop up the other available $1,500 entry to the March classic.

Moore and his three winners also led the way in Sunday’s NHC Last Chance tournament qualifier.

By virtue of his $500 seat victory, Moore will be playing for a 2021 NHC spot (and cash) in the NHC eve event. Six others also won Last Chance entries. Congratulations to Roger Cettina, G.T. Nixon, Stephen McNatton, Robbie Courtney, Michael Odorisio and Michael “Copa” Kavana,

Believe it our not, Dane Moore’s most lucrative victory of the weekend—and the year—was still to come.

This time it was a win worth $10,000—in the form of an entry to next year’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge via the Sunday Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers.

Moore didn’t win the other feature at HorsePlayers on Sunday, but…

…he picked up even more NHC points for finishing a good third behind runaway winner Ron Tackett (5 wins, 1 place) and runner up Carl Thobe (2 wins, 3 places) in the day’s “regular” Pick & Pray.

It’s both to Moore’s current detriment—and his future potential—that he has yet to pick up an onsite-tournament score. If he CAN get one prior to the end of the Tour year, it will be a 100% addition to his total since it won’t be replacing an earlier, lesser on-track score. That could mean some hefty bonus money for Moore…which seemed highly unlikely at the start of the month. “You don’t choose the Tour…”

Last weekend, Phillip Conway took the cash games by storm, sweeping the Saturday and Sunday featured editions. No one did that this weekend. Though Jeff “Boom Boom” Joffrion did almost the next best thing.

Joffrion put the biscuit in the basket in Friday’s $7,500 Guaranteed Pick & Pray. He had just one winner—the 14-1 Gulfstream allowance winner Ete Indien (trained by Patrick Biancone, who seems suddenly as hot as Dane Moore)—but he augmented that hit with four nice-paying places to take down the top prize of $4,708 in an event that closed with a final purse of $9,416.

Joffrion’s second boom came on Sunday when he tickled the twine in the day’s $10,000 Gtd. Pick & Pray.

Jeff had four wins and a place in this one, and he made no mistake in the final three heats, sniping winners at odds of 6-1, 18-1 and 2-1. His haul here was $6,290 (making for a weekend cash total of $10,998) in a game that finished with a pot of $13,978.

Joe Scanio also had a starring role in a what for him was a Friday double feature.

He’ll be taking his show to South Florida on January 25th after recording four winners in Friday’s Pegasus World Cup Betting Challenge.

Scanio will also be performing in Vegas on February 6th in the NHC Last Chance Tournament at Bally’s.

Sharing the stage with Scanio at Bally’s will be fellow $500 entry winners Joe Johnson, Mark Stovall, Stephan Grevina and Michael Canale.

Rick “I-65” Broth simmered early with three places…

…then came to a boil late with three winners, and he won a $1,500 entry in our first Friday qualifier to the $100,000 Gtd. Flo-Cal Faceoff on February 29-March 1.

Carl Rasak (3 wins, 2 places) and Rudolph Hardin (3 wins, 3 places) each had Ete Indien ($30.00, $7.40) in the 9th at Gulfstream.

That longshot made even a chilly December day seem like Indian Summer for Rasak and Hardin, who won $1,500 Horse Player World Series entries.

The highest score of all of the Friday features was turned in not by Joffrion or Scanio, but by Dave Bryant.

Bryant picked six winners out of 10 races to capture the day’s $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers. The runner up was the double-qualified Joseph Rosen. So the second available Bally’s Berth went to third place finisher Christopher Olsson.

Bryant closed with a flourish in this one, sweeping the final four races. Here’s how his scorecard looked:

We noted earlier that Michael “Copa” Kavana picked up a $500 NHC Last Chance entry for finishing 7th behind Dane Moore on Sunday. That same day, he also won a $1,500 Flo-Cal Faceoff entry.

Kavana squeaked out a $2.90 victory by doing all of his scoring (one first and two seconds) in the final five races. His big hit was Noble Drama ($39.29, $17.80) in the 10th at Gulfstream.

Music and fashion may or may not be among Kavana’s passions, but contest play certainly seems to be one of them. He had a victory on Saturday too.

This day, it was the Santa Anita Opening Day Challenge (now to be held on December 28th rather than December 26th, we presume) to which Kavana (3 wins, 1 place) won an entry. Also garnering a $1,500 pass to the Arcadia, Calif., contest was runner up Ryan McCarthy (5 firsts, 1 second). McCarthy had Exatlon ($10.00, $6.00) in the contest finale (GP11) to get up.

G.T. Nixon was another who earned an NHC Last Chance entry on Sunday…and who also won something on Saturday.

Nixon picked up a pair of $300 entries to this coming Saturday’s NHC qualifier at Monmouth. Finishing ahead of him—and also picking up double entries at Monmouth—were Frank Foss, Robert Pennell and Frank D’Angelo.

Saturday’s gaudiest score was recorded by Phillip Tremper.

None of his victors paid more than $17.80…but he had six visitors to the winner’s circle plus one exacta completer. That added up to a triumph worth $8,490 in the weekend’s richest event, the $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which ended up with a purse of $18,778. Here’s how Tremper’s big day transpired:

Tremper won with a big score. Paula Petrino won with a little score.

Horse racing tourneys are like home runs. They count the same whether you hit a tape measure job or just barely clear the fence. Petrino definitely hit a wall-scraper here, but it had just enough carry to send her to the Tampa Bay Downs High Rollers Contest on January 11 with a fully-paid-up $1,000 entry.

Getting back to the remainder of the Sunday featured action, Upstate NY’s Robert Schintzius Jr. assured himself of a Merry Christmas with a lucrative victory in our $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray.

Schintzius had an Aqueduct slam dunk with The Sicarii at 17-1, then added a few layups in each of the final three races to go above the rim and grab the up-top money of $9,261 in a game that closed with a purse of $13,230.

James Morgan had just one winner…but it was a good one: Noble Drama ($39.20, $17.80) in the 10th at Gulfstream.

That bomb, plus just one other place collection got Morgan a $6,500 package to the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship on January 25. Despite just the two collections, Morgan’s margin of victory was $23.00.

Christopher Skotz also had Noble Drama.

Skotz augmented that pricey pick with two other firsts and three seconds to send himself on his way to Sam Houston January 26 with a $1,000 entry in his pocket.

In our $1,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney, Adam Lewis was up by $8.00 with just two races to go.

Rather than playing it safe, Lewis went medieval on his opponents, landing a $1.00 exacta worth $214.20 in the 10th at Gulfstream. Lewis, thus, nearly quintupled up his nearest pursuer and won the top prize of $1,084 in a game ultimately worth $1,548.

Stefan Stojkovic (3 wins, 3 places) drew off to a handy victory worth a $1,500 entry in our qualifier to the NTRA/Santa Anita NHC Super Qualifier on January 4.

There were two entries to be awarded here, however, and while it was a good distance back to second, Chris Podratz also picked up a $1,500 ducat thanks to a $7.40-to-place cash in the final tourney race.

Gary Maguire had his three winners in the final three races.

That got Maguire top honors in Sunday’s $8 Pick 6 Jackpot tourney. Next weekend’s Pick 6 Jackpot will be up to $4,097…available to any player or players who go six-for-six.

Last but certainly not least, the Sunday high score was put up in a tourney that drew a mere 15 entries.

The feat was performed by someone who knows how to put a good day or two together—2005 NHC Champ Jamie Michelson.

Jamie Michelson, shown here either making a point to one of his advertising clients…or watching one of his longshots commence a move around the far turn.

Michelson had 4 winners and 3 runners up en route to his score of $153.80. He will be one of several bidding to become the first-ever two-time NHC winner at the 2020 event. Here is a look at his happy Sunday.

Before we sign off, we want to congratulate James Lisowsky, who took the two entries he won at HorseTourneys and parlayed them into first- AND third-place finishes at last Saturday’s NTRA/FG Super Qualifier in New Orleans. Joyeux Noel!

James Lisowsky

We wish you and your family Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays as well. On behalf of all of us here, we’re both delighted and grateful to have you as part of the HorseTourneys family.