Michael Caposio Follows Up Wednesday Double With Sunday Hat Trick; Big Belmont Stakes Day Winner Michael Somich Stays Hot; Stirring Comeback by Clint Anuszewski (Weekly Recap July 1-5)

Multiple featured-tourney victories in a single week is always impressive. Five such victories in a single weekend is even more impressive. Five such winners split up over two different days…now that’s someone on a serious roll.

Michael Caposio

No need to wonder why this man is smiling. Temecula, Calif., auto dealer Michael Caposio took a couple of swings on the Wednesday featured tourneys, and his many hits included one tape-measure home run.

Caposio swept races 6-9 of Wednesday’s 10-race, $75 NHC qualifier to punch his ticket to Vegas next February. The last of those winners—which closed the books on a 5-win, 1-place day—was 27-1 Delaware race 8 victress Elegant Gal.

That NHC qualifier was a Pick & Pray. Fortunately for Caposio, he played the exact same picks back in Wednesday’s live-format, $2,000 Guaranteed cash game.

Same picks, same results. This time the Delaware destroyer delivered Caposio a cash prize of $2,550 from a final purse of $5,668.

Caposio was quiet on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, however, he found a longshot that almost made Elegant Gal seem chalky.

When #1, Promise Illgetyou, took Monmouth race 9 at odds of 107-1, it meant another really good day for Caposio (and others fortunate enough to pick the $216.00 winner). Caposio (2 wins, 1 place) and Timothy Hughes (just 1 win and 1 place) each had the overlooked gelding, and both are now heading to the August 15-16 Spa & Surf Showdown—whose guaranteed purse is now up to $161,000 and counting.

Caposio also used Promise Illgetyou in his Pick & Pray selections for Sunday’s Keeneland Summer Challenge qualifier.

In this 85-entry event, Caposio was the only one to spend a pick on the William Hogan-trained, Jorge Panaijo-ridden charge. That meant a spirited battle for the three other available $3,000 Keeneland entries…which were ultimately captured by Battlin’ William Smith, Robert Schintzius Sr. and Rob Novicki (winner of a BCBC seat last week).

Those Sunday Spa & Surf Showdown and Keeneland qualifiers were Pick & Prays. Sunday’s qualifier to The BIG One was a live-format game. Just as he did on Wednesday, Caposio didn’t use format as a factor in who he used. He just entered his Pick & Pray picks in the Live game and…presumably…just started praying here as well.

Prayers answered. Never question the power of prayer…or a 107-1 shot, especially when no one else has it.

Californians occasionally have the pleasure of seeing Mike Caposio on TV—in commercials for the car dealerships he runs. The other Wednesday featured-tourney winner was another face that’s no stranger to the small screen.

Dave Weaver wasn’t playing ice-cold exactas here, but the TVG personality was still in his comfort zone enough to land the 27-1 Elegant Gal in Wednesday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.

Weaver was the only one of 46 to have the Delaware longshot, though we do wonder whether that pick was provided to him by Sophy. In any event, minors are not allowed to participate here so—at least for appearance’s sake—Dave will continue to receive credit for the selection. Ample credit also goes to runner up Tony Calabrese (3 wins, 1 place), who had Elvis Cole ($25.80, $11.20 in the 10th and final at Tampa) to leave the building with the other available Showdown entry.

We had at least a double winner on every day of the featured-tourney week last week. On Friday, the star was Eddie “The Wright Stuff” Wright.

At 5-1, the price was right for Eddie with Laki in the final race of Friday’s Keeneland Summer Online Challenge qualifier. Trained by Damon Dilodovico, Laki propelled Wright to the $3,000 entry. Also picking up Keeneland cyberseats were Dave “The Gambling Actuary” Nichols (3 wins, 4 places) and Marc Stateler (3W, 2P), who got up for 3rd in the last race not with Laki, but with a $3.60 place collection on the runner up.

Time for a quick trivia break: Did you know that Maryland-based trainer Damon Dilodovico is the head sound man for us when we go to Laurel for The BIG One? Yep. For, I believe, about 20 years, Dilodovico has trained his string in the mornings and worked in the afternoons at the track for International Sound. I guess when he saddles a horse in Maryland, he must be doing so while on his lunch break. When he runs one at Monmouth like he did on Friday, he must need to take a whole vacation day.

Sound guru at The BIG One…and trainer of Laki

Anyway…Laki’s win also helped Wright out in Friday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.

Here Wright and his 4 winners (including first three in a row) and a place were only second best to George Duarte (3 wins, 2 places). However, it was a two-seat contest, so second was just fine and dandy. Both will be handicapping the full cards from Saratoga and Del Mar on August 15-16 in the Showdown.

Friday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray was a close one.

Even Trommer’s big collection among his three winners came with Litabitamedal ($26.80, $6.80) in the 5th at Los Alamitos. However, he needed Laki at the end in order to get up by $2.30 and secure the top prize of $8,753 in an event that closed with a pot of $19,451.

Litabitamedal was also the big producer for Shad Walton over at HorsePlayers.

The 12-1 Los Alamitos longshot was one of four winners on the day for Walton, who picked up a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry in Friday’s Low Ratio qualifier.

The high score on Friday—by a good bit—was put up by Keith Castleberry in the day’s $75 NHC qualifier.

Castleberry recorded 5 winners and a runner up to garner a cut-rate NHC seat along with runner up Dane Moore (4W, 1P). Here’s how Castleberry did it:

The dual winner on Saturday was Brian Chenvert. Contest regulars can guess what one of his grand prizes was.

And they’d be right. You can’t spell BCBC without Brian Chenvert. (You can spell half of it, but not the whole thing.) He just had two winners on the Fourth of July to go along with two places…but he had the two best winners: Skywire ($36.10, $13.80) in the 8th at Woodbine and Ekklesia ($26.40, $7.60) in the 9th at Los Alamitos.

All of the 4th of July features were Pick & Prays. For Chenvert, the Keeneland Summer Challenge qualifier was a Pick & Paste & Pray.

Here, Chenvert gained a $3,000 entry for next Saturday’s Keeneland qualifier. If he finishes in the top six there, he’ll get another BCBC seat…plus an NHC seat…plus cash. Also in the Keeneland Summer Challenge field will be runner up Eric Kurzhal, who missed Ekklesia at the end, but had Skywire earlier to go along with three other winners.

Kurzhal also had a perfectly lucrative second-place finish in Saturday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.

Rich Pawlowski wore the blanket of roses at the end of this one. His big winner was Ekklesia, who capped off a string of three straight victories at the end of a 6-win, 2-place day. Runner up Kurzhal and third-place finisher Tim Moline each had Skywire as their big horse, and they accounted for the other two $2,000 entries that were on the table.

The top score of the day—by almost 60 bucks (!)—was turned in by Stephen Wagner.

Wagner had Skywire en route to a 7-win, 2-place day that included victories in the final four contest races of our $25,000 Guaranteed cash game. For his gaudy handicapping display, Wagner got a winner’s share of $14,910 from a final total prize pool of $37,276.

Here is a look at that gaudy handicapping display:

Not as gaudy, but still eminently profitable, was Sean Nolan’s performance in Saturday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray.

Actually, the beginning of the Virginian’s tournament WAS quite gaudy—three wins and a place (including Skywire) from the first five races. Nolan collected nothing from the final seven races…but his early $87.90 stood up, sending the $17,098 first prize his way. Total purse for the sold-out affair was $24,426.

Another who could see the merits of Skywire was optometrist Anthony “Doczilla” Trezza.

Skywire caused the biggest bang of the 3 wins and 2 places that Trezza set off on the Fourth. He’ll hope for similar oohs and ahhs from the crowd when he does battle in The BIG One on September 19-20. If he merely finishes in the top 10 of the 57-entry tournament in the fall, he’ll take home his choice of seat to a major competition (NHC, BCBC or Pegasus) plus bonus cash.

There were two BCBC qualifiers and two NHC play-ins on the Fourth of July at HorsePlayers. Brian Chenvert won the first BC qualifier as noted above. The other was a Super Low Ratio tourney captured by David Basler.

Here’s the funny thing. Basler paid $1,000 to enter the Super Low Ratio game and did terrifically, winning by $51.40, thanks to 6 wins and a place that earned him a score of $108.90. Chenvert defeated 77 rivals in the $179 qualifier with a score of $94.20. It just goes to show you—big scores can come from anywhere on any given day. I’m not sure whether to feel bad for Basler for “overspending”…or for the 13 other Low Ratio players who thought they were buying themselves an easier path to victory.

On the NHC side of the HorsePlayer ledger, Mark “Doctor” Detro missed on Skywire, but he had Ekklesia late.

The result was a victory over 16 rivals in Saturday’s $500 Low Ratio qualifier.

The other Saturday NHC qualifier was a more traditional $165 game…but it was untraditional in that the winning ratio was 1-per-52, rather than the usual 1-per-65.

The obvious beneficiary of the altered ratio in this 177-entry tourney was Vincent Easley, who punched his ticket to Vegas by running third. Full kudos go, of course, to first-place finisher Zachary Ledford whose “Zac Attack” was comprised of 4 wins and 3 places. Special kudos, however, go to runner up Stanley Bavlish, and not just because the finish will send him back to Bally’s where he won the 2007 NHC. Bavlish got second without the benefit of either of the two long-priced names mentioned in most of the other Saturday recaps—Skywire and Ekklesia. Instead he pieced things together with 6 modestly priced winners and 3 seconds from the 12 races. It’s as if Stanley ate at Subway, everyone else ate at Ruth’s Chris, but Stanley had an equally satisfying meal.

As one might surmise from the Michael Caposio recaps earlier in this blog, there was one really key horse to have in the Sunday featured tourneys.

If 99-1 shots didn’t come in from time to time, I guess they’d all be 1,000-1. We, therefore, have no qualms at all about celebrating the many players who used Promise Illgetyou as a springboard to victory. We’ll start with Kevin Engelhard.

Engelhard (winner of $8,154 on June 26) led the way in the NHC qualifier here thanks to Promise Illgetyou plus four other winners and one place. Michael Somich—who won $32,000 in our big Belmont Stakes Day cash game—also had the Monmouth bomb and got second to account for the other NHC seat.

Michael Somich (photo credit: DZ Solutions)

Somich finished with 3 winners, but his recent run of good fortune looks even better when you factor in Sunday’s $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.

Here the Monmouth longshot put another $10,406 in Somich’s pocket. Final pot for this one was a robust $23,125.

The day’s other big-money cash game was our $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney.

Jon Petoskey took the $9,973 grand prize here thanks to three place collections, followed by one winner…Promise Illgetyou, of course. Final total purse was $14,248.

No one had the monster $1,075 exacta in the Promise Illgetyou race at Monmouth, but Michael “Copa” Kavana did the best across the other 11 races in our $1,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney.

Kavana connected on 4 gimmicks, including the last three in a row. The final one was his best one—a $1 hit worth $53.00 in the 10th at Belmont that earned him the top prize of $1,071 from a total purse of $1,531.

The 9th at Monmouth was part of Sunday’s $8 Jackpot Pick 6 tourney. Obviously that did a number on would-be sweepers.

Despite short prices in the first two legs, only three were alive heading into the Promise Illgetyou race. And none after that. Aron Pritchard took top honors with four overall winners. Since no one defied the odds by having all six, next week’s Jackpot will have a starting point of $15,202.

On Sunday, we finally “filled” a qualifier for the Xpressbet NHC Super Qualifier on July 18. None of the 20 entrants used Promise Illgetyou, which made for a wide-open affair that wasn’t decided until late.

That decision was made forcefully by David McCarty (5 wins, 2 places), who hit the last two races at odds of 5-2 and 5-1 to exit with the $1,500 Xpressbet entry.

Neither of the two features at HorsePlayers on Sunday was decided by Promise Illgetyou.

No one had the Monmouth capper in the 26-entry Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio game. Robert “Tractor” Traynor nailed Sanctuary City ($13.60, $6.40) to get up and win the coveted $10,000 entry. The James Ferraro trainee capped a 5-win, 2-place day for Traynor.

In the 110-entry NHC qualifier, seat winner Bob Frear (3 wins, 1 place) had Promise Illgetyou. But he couldn’t defeat Clint Anuszewski, who didn’t!

Anuszewski had to have figured all was lost when Promise Illgetyou blew up the tote board while his horse ran a nothing fourth. After all, there were just five races left, and he suddenly had a lot of ground to make up. Rather than just stab at bombs, though, Anuszewski decided to chip away. And chip away he did!

This might be a good tourney to try and file away in your memory banks for the next time you find yourself behind by a lot. You never want to be in such a position, but there’s almost always a chance to get out of it.

Congratulations to Clint and to all of the week’s winners. And thanks to all for competing. We have a special series of “Summer Week of Free” tourneys coming up this week. They start on Tuesday. Check out the “Free” filter on our homepage to quickly gain all of the details. This coming week also marks the return—if for a short period of time—of racing from Keeneland. The first Keeneland card is on Wednesday, which coincides with our next round of featured tourneys. See you then!