More Wins for Wieners; Ragab Captures Second Big Money Cash Game in as Many Weeks; Another Happy Humpday for “Husker” Henry (Weekly Recap April 8-12)

The workweek has taken on a decidedly different feel of late, but Wednesdays are still the humpday in the Monday-to-Friday continuum. Typically, it is just a day to get through and get past…but not for James Henry.

The 2013 Horse Player World Series champ earned his second seat to the 2021 NHC by capturing his second consecutive $75 Wednesday qualifier. Henry’s biggest return among his 4 wins, 2 places (the same tally he racked up the previous Wednesday) came with Senator Robert ($14.00, $7.80) in the 4th at Fonner Park. This, in turn, raises the question of whether Henry likes Wednesdays…or just likes Fonner Park (home of the Pump & Pantry). His highest yielding horse on April 1 was a victorious 7-1 shot at the Grand Island oval. Questions notwithstanding, we feel confident in speculating that Henry is the first player ever to earn two seats to an NHC due to unmatched expertise in Nebraska racing.

Senator Robert was the longest-priced winner in Wednesday’s featured-tourney action, and Daniel McKeehan missed him.

McKeehan didn’t miss many others, though. He wound up with 6 wins and a place from the 10 races to pocket top money of $2,453 in Wednesday’s $2,000 Guaranteed cash game, which closed with a purse of $4,907.

Paul Cush also didn’t vote for Senator Robert, but he did well enough in the other precincts to make a victory speech following Wednesday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.

Cush receives a $2,000 entry to the $150,000 Guaranteed online event on August 15-16 thanks to having come up with 6 wins and 2 places. His score of $61.20 was, by 60 cents, the highest of the day.

Missing out on Senator Robert was certainly not a fatal omission on Wednesday…but on Friday, you really, really wanted to have Autograph in the 6th at Tampa.

Autograph was #8 in your program but #1 in the hearts of Justin Mustari and Gary “Macho Man” Machiz. They were the only two to have the 38-1 Tampa bomb in Friday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.

The top eight finishers in Friday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray all used Autograph.

Curtis Meyer (5 wins, 1 place) did the best job of building around his $64.00 Tampa windfall, and that got him the grand prize of $9,950 in a game that closed with a pot of $22,111.

Over at HorsePlayers, Jeff Bussan was the only “Autograph seeker” among 30 in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio qualifier.

Bussan added just two place collections to Autograph, but those helped him fend off runner up Mike Castagnoli by $2.20.

The first-place finisher in Friday’s $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers was one of the hottest players of 2020.

Sally Goodall was already double-qualified to next February’s big dance at Bally’s., so she was just playing for NHC Tour Points…and NHC Tour Points she will receive! She was 6th on the NHC Tour leaderboard entering this weekend and figures to move up several spots as a result of her Friday-best score of $119.60.

There were enough entries in this event to award a third NHC seat along with the two that were guaranteed up front. The three to punch their tickets to Vegas were Gary Wright (5 wins, 0 places), Danny Chavez and Daniel Edwards (3 wins, 2 places).

Taking nothing at all away from Goodall, Wright or Edwards, the Friday performance by Chavez was pretty amazing. Unlike the other three, he did not have Autograph ($79.00, $26.80) in the 6th at Tampa. How did he possibly overcome not having a “capper” like that in such a large field?

Seven wins in a row in the final seven races of the Pick & Pray! This may be the first time in history that a player won a grand prize in an online tourney and was, nonetheless, sorry to see the contest end! Well done, Danny.

Saturday’s $20,000 Guaranteed cash game once again generated the week’s biggest purse—and the week’s single biggest winner.

Congratulations to Saturday high scorer Turner West, who hit 7-1 and 9-1 winners right out of the gate and never looked back en route to a $15,278 payday that was extracted from an overall final pot of $38,196.

Mark Aylward (3 firsts, 2 seconds) and Anthony “Doczilla” Trezza (4 wins, 2 places) were the two on Saturday to earn $2,000 spots in the August 15-16 Spa & Surf Showdown.

The horse that brought the biggest smile to Aylward’s face on Saturday was Farley ($23.40, $8.60) in the 13th and final at Gulfstream. Other than Trezza, the rest of the field was left in a van down by the river.

The other Saturday feature at HorseTourneys was won — with three wins and one place — by Kirk Tesar.

Tesar’s three win payoffs all fell within a tight range between $12.40 and $17.40. The final tally of $68.80 got it done for the Indiana resident who earned a $1,000 entry to the Lone Star Park Spring Betting Challenge on June 27th.

“Final race Farley” was a key factor in the outcome of Saturday’s live-format, three-seat NHC qualifier over at HorsePlayers.

Michael Odorisio (a final table competitor at the most recent NHC), G.T. Nixon and Steven Schmidt were all rolling in the aisles after the final-race 10-1 shot served to punch their tickets to Vegas. Chris “The Bear” Fallica also had Farley in the nightcap but didn’t find the result funny. He finished fourth.

Peter Strauss strung together four firsts and three seconds to capture Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier—after an anxious moment or two at the end.

Strauss didn’t have Farley…but neither did his five closest pursuers going in to the last race.

Turning to Sunday’s action, Hesham Ragab is a pediatrician in California…and lately he’s really been specializing in three year olds and up.

Led by 12-1 Gulfstream winner Varanasi, Ragab compiled 3 wins and 4 places to take home $14,248 in Sunday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney, which closed with a sold-out field and a purse of $20,355.

This was only the latest big-money cash-game triumph for Dr, Ragab. On Saturday, April 4th, he pocketed $16,659 by winning the day’s $41,000 cash game. Extra lollipops for his customers, perhaps!

You’ve probably been a sucker lately if you’ve dared to tangle with anyone in the Wiener family.

Last week, Brett Wiener won $9,398 in two cash game victories, and he also annexed seats to Spa & Surf Showdown and NHC. This week, his better half, Sarah Wiener, won the right to join him in the Showdown starting gate. She had a score of just $7.20 after seven races, but clicked on three winners over the final five to garner the $1,500 entry. Also winning a spot in the August 15-16 online Showdown was runner up Dylan “DD” Donnelly, who continues to display impeccable 2020 handicapping vision. Donnelly held second by a mere 20 cents over unlucky third-place finisher Craig Hom.

Sarah Wiener played the same Showdown qualifier picks back in the Sunday play-in to The BIG One.

While Brett may have been the first Wiener to qualify for the Spa & Surf Showdown, Sarah is the first Wiener to qualify for the 2020 renewal of The BIG One. This recent run of success brings to mind Luis Tiant’s prescient words back in 1979.

New Englander George Chute probably appreciated Tiant’s Red Sox days much more than El Tiante’s time in New York (1979 and 1980…when the Yankees actually didn’t do all that much winning).

Chute does a fair amount of winning, though, and on Sunday he hit for 5 winners and 4 places—good for a top payoff of $11,105 in the day’s $12,500 Guaranteed tourney, which finished up with a purse of $24,678. His biggest collection out of the nine came with Zippy ($39.00, $16.20) in the 10th at Gulfstream. (Personally, I could never name a horse Zippy. It reminds me too much of Zippy Chippy—a horse no one would want to have in a contest.)

We hope there are no Zippy Chippys in Karl Broberg’s barn. If there are, then perhaps the prolific trainer can take solace in the fact that he is headed to the 2021 NHC.

Broberg has been running horses at Oaklawn and Will Rogers Downs of late. This victory for Broberg was 100% Gulfstream all the way, though. He recorded three wins and two places from the full card of 12 races at the Hallandale, Fla., track—the only racetrack operating on Easter Sunday.

Adam Lewis successfully selected three winning exactas in Sunday’s $1,000 Guaranteed tourney…but only one of them really mattered.

Lewis crushed the 10th at Gulfstream (the Zippy race) to the tune of $228.80 for a buck. That blew his opponents away and earned him the first prize of $1,804 in a competition that ended up with a pot of $3,609.

“The Commissioner” Tim Smith had four winners to lead the way and to take home $514 in Sunday’s $8 Pick 6 Jackpot tourney.

A couple of players nailed the first three races, but no one swept all six. That means that next Sunday’s Jackpot will start out at $8,581.

Sunday’s high score of the day was turned in by Eugene Spruck.

Spruck struck for 5 wins and a place and will head to the NHC where he hopes to have comparable luck. Joining him at Bally’s will be runner up Jim Murphy (6 winners)—and since there were enough entries for three spots to be awarded, Matthew Ache will be at Bally’s as well. Ache got up for 3rd thanks to a final-race, $14.20 place collection with stretch-out turf sprinter Gran Hombre. That had to make Ache feel good!

The winner of Sunday’s Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Pick & Pray was the only player to crack triple digits.

That was Sammy Richman (4 wins, 1 place), who did the bulk of his damage (85 dollars’ worth) in the first seven tourney races.

Thanks for spending part of Easter/Passover weekend with us. We’ll crank up the featured tourney action again on Wednesday this week with, among other games, a $75, no-tour-points NHC qualifier. Presumably James Henry won’t be in this one!