Another Week, Another Three Triumphs for Drew Keaton; Anthony Trezza Earns Spa & Surf Showdown Seat on Saturday…and One More on Sunday; William Smith Battles Away for $10,000 Plus Derby Day Challenge Entry (Weekly Recap, April 14-18)

Conditions were ripe for multi-tablers to have a big day on Sunday. Not only was it a Pick & Pray day/weekend, but there was one main longshot to have among the day’s 12 contest races—Mr. Walsh ($34.40, $18.00) in the 8th at Keeneland. If you came up with Mr. Walsh, you were in pretty good shape…in however many tourneys you might have played that day.

This week, the top accumulator of grand prizes (three) was the same person who enjoyed a three-bagger last week—Drew Keaton. And, yes, Mr. Walsh was key to Keaton’s hat trick this week.

Last week, Keaton grabbed a Spa & Surf Showdown entry, a Monmouth Pick Your Prize seat and a Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seat. This week, he added a spot in The BIG One to his portfolio.

Using the same set of selections, Keaton took things in a, for him, novel direction . He went for some cold, hard cash.

The same 3 winners and 3 runners up paid Keaton off to the tune of $8,549 in Sunday’s $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney, which closed with a purse of $12,213. 

Sunday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio Pick & Pray at HorsePlayers was a live-format tourney, not a Pick & Pray. So how did Keaton do here? He improved on his score.

In this one, Keaton added a fourth winner, Adeeb ($14.20, $4.40), in the 7th at Gulfstream. The result was Keaton’s second Low Ratio BCBC seat in as many weekends, and his sixth grand prize over a 10-day span. 

The featured-tourney week began on Wednesday, and Darren Rudnick took the day’s top prize, a check for $3,670 in the day’s $6,000 Guaranteed cash game, which wound up with a final purse of $8,156.

In recent years, high fashion has become an essential element to how horse racing sells itself. (Certainly I would never show up for a day of racing at Aqueduct without first perusing GQ.) Fortunately for Rudnick (3 wins, 3 places), he made High Fashion a priority during his Wednesday playing the races. The Union Rags filly not only won the 10th at Keeneland at 10-1, dare I see she looked very good doing it!

Scores were lower in the other two Wednesday features.

Frank Fosbre hit the final two tourney races at odds of 2-1 and 7-1 to finish with 4 wins, 2 places and one $2,000 Monmouth Pick Your Prize entry.

A score of $52.20 got it done for Daniel Mah in Wednesday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.

Mah finished with 5 wins and 2 places with his “good” entry. (His “bad” one came in second.) The best collection for Mah was his first one—Stand Tall ($13.00, $4.20) in the opening tourney race, race 5 at Keeneland.

On Thursday, Robert Hannan picked three harmless looking winners. The longest shot of the three went off at 5-2. However, he augmented those modest win prices with five place collections.

The last of those five was in the 9th at Keeneland where Flippant ($6.00) got up late by a nostril, providing Hannan with a victory worth $3,390 in the $4,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed with a pot of $7,534.

Friday’s big prize went to Joe “Heartbreak” Rotell.

Rotell’s big price among 5 wins and 2 places in Friday’s $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray was Ghosting Kim ($31.80, $13.40) in the 8th at Keeneland. Rotell earned $8,379 from a total final purse of $18,620.

With 4 wins and 4 places, Craig Rowe led the way in our first qualifier to the Derby Day Challenge, which will be held…on Derby Day…at Xpressbet.

Also earning a $3,000 entry to the May 1st event was runner up Brett Wiener. Using the same picks (2 wins, 2 places), Wiener also ran a productive second in Friday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.

The winner here was Ilan Cuellar (2 wins, 1 place). Both he and Wiener had Cadeau de Paix ($30.40, $10.40) in the 6th at Aqueduct.

The other Friday feature at HorseTourneys was a Monmouth Pick Your Prize Pick & Pray qualifier.

Frank Fosbre (2 wins, 3 places) and Steve Arrison (3W, 1P) each walked away from this one with $2,000 Monmouth entries in their pocket. For Fosbre it was his second Monmouth seat in just three days.

As it so often does on Fridays, the high score of the day came from the $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers. 

Michael Marlaire did the honors thanks to 5 wins and a place.

With 6 firsts and 1 second, Dale Hatfield, fresh off a victory worth $12,839 the previous Saturday, finished just 60 cents behind Marlaire and also punched his ticket to Vegas for 2022. 

Robert Little nailed four consecutive winners at one point of Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier at HorsePlayers.

Those 4 winners went well with 3 place payoffs. The net result was a $10,000 entry to this November’s BCBC. Little’s big horse was Ghosting Kim, the same horse that helped propel Joe Rotell to his $8,379 payday.

We mentioned Frank Fosbre’s Wednesday/Friday Monmouth double dip. There was one other player who bagged grand prizes on two different days. It was Anthony “Doczilla” Trezza.

The good (eye) doctor had 5 wins and a place to lead a parade of three $2,500 Saturday Spa & Surf Showdown seat winners that also included John Gaspar (3W, 1P) and Nick “48 Hrs.” Noce (2W, 4P).

The Pick & Pray (and vision) specialist, despite short rest, then came right back on Sunday to grab yet another Spa & Surf Showdown spot.

Here Trezza (5 wins, 2 places) defeated all but James Politano (4 consecutive winners plus a place). Both had the 14-1 winner Mr. Walsh in the 8th at Keeneland.

Saturday’s high score was posted by Michael Sussman.

It came in the $179 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier where collections in the final five races and 3 wins (including 19-1 Question Authority at Santa Anita) and 4 places all together earned Sussman a $10,000 BCBC seat.

George Bosch finished second to pick up a $5,000 partial entry.

Henry Conte also had Question Authority among his four winners.

The Santa Anita race 4 longshot led Conte to a $2,000 entry in the June 12th Monmouth Pick Your Prize tournament. Also earning a Monmouth berth, via tiebreaker was Rich Pawlowski, who got the nod over Mike McIntyre by virtue of having one place runner compared to none for McIntyre. (They both had a pair of winners.)

Steven Doodnauth was the victor in the richest tourney of the weekend.

Doodnauth’s 4 winners (including Question Authority) and 2 places resulted in a $15,014 windfall in Saturday’s $25,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which had a final closing pot of $33,384. 

The other big cash game on Saturday was the $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick Pray. It attracted 18 entries and generated a purse of $18,319.

The winner’s share of $12,823 went the way of Charles Browning. He had 2 winners, but his most important collection—at least from a dramatic standpoint—came via his final of three place cashes with Can’t Say No ($16.00) in the last contest race, the 10th at Keeneland.

Tony Calabrese picked 3 winners, included a 7-2 hit in the final race to take top honors in Saturday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney.

Had runner up Tim Catlett (also 3 winners) come up with that 7-2 shot, he would have captured the jackpot.

In Sunday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney, it was Tony Calabrese yet again!

This time, Calabrese selected two winners (at 4-1 and 16-1) out of the four races to secure the top spot. Since no one had a perfect ticket this past weekend, next Saturday’s will begin with a carryover of $1,704.

As for Sunday…Drew Keaton wasn’t the day’s only multiple winner.

“Battlin’” William Smith had 4 wins, including 16-1 Mr. Walsh at Keeneland, plus 3 runners up to pocket the top money of $10,837 in Sunday’s $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray (final purse: $27,094).

Here’s a look at Smith’s scorecard:

Those same selection served Smith well in Sunday’s Derby Day Challenge qualifier.

Dennis Decauwer (4 wins, 2 places) was the only one to outdo Smith. Like Smith, Decauwer hit big with Mr. Walsh.

Sunday’s high score was put up by Richard Reese.

The gaudy total earned Reese a 2022 NHC seat. 

Also nabbing a “Bally’s Berth” was runner up Joesph Rosen (5 wins, 2 places). Rosen had Mr. Walsh as well.

Mr. Walsh was also Frank Foss’s favorite horse of the day (at least in hindsight!)

The Keeneland race 8 longshot was one of 4 Foss winners on Sunday. He also chipped up with 2 places en route to a $2,000 seat in the day’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier. The victory by Foss means that three of the last four Monmouth qualifiers have been won by people named Frank.

Last but not least, Paul Cush and Steven Stupka will both be Texas bound after running one-two in Sunday’s Lone Star Million Betting Challenge qualifier.

Cush swept the first 5 races on the way to a 6-win, 2-place day. Stupka connected on 3 winners. Both had Tiz Wonderfully ($10.40, $6.40) in the opener at Santa Anita. 

Thanks for your role in yet another exciting week of featured-tourney action. Your business is greatly appreciated. The big money and important tournament seats will start flying out the door again on Wednesday. We’ll hope to see you then.