Crystal Andaur Clearly Best in Thursday and Sunday Featured Cash Games; Michael Caposio Records Friday Hat Trick; Edward Wright Gets Two Right on Saturday (Weekly Recap, June 16-20)

Sometimes the HorseTourneys gods prove to be right and just. And sometimes our players are just so good that they are able to take fate into their own hands. We saw examples of both last week.

When last we left you, Albert Tiernan had just suffered a painful defeat in a Sunday Pick 4 Jackpot tourney that cost him both the Jackpot and first place in the event. On Wednesday, the gods did a make-good…or at least a partial make-good.

Actually, let’s not forget to give Tiernan his due in all of this. He hit 2 winners and 2 runners up and—equally important, as it turned out—he blocked Basil DeVito in the final two races. The end result was a narrow, 60-cent triumph for Tiernan that rewarded him to the tune of $2,892 in Wednesday’s $6,000 Guaranteed cash tourney. Final purse for the event came to $6,428.

Michael “Copa” Kavana (3 wins, 1 place) and James Morgan (2W, 3P) were the first two of 10 $500 Bally’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance entry winners last week.

In Wednesday’s Bally’s lid lifter, Kavana and Morgan each had Leme at Em ($22.60, $4.80) in the 10th at Delaware Park.

Jason Alonzo had 5 Wednesday winners (4 of them coming over the final 5 races) to capture Wednesday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier. 

Alonzo biggest collection en route to the $2,500 seat for August 14-15 came with Philadelphia Belle ($17.00, $9.00) who won race 10 at—where else?— Parx, 

Crystal Andaur came out firing on Thursday, nailing the first 3 winners on the way to a 5-win, 1-place afternoon that brought her top money of $2,519 in Thursday’s $4,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which had a final purse of $5,599.

This laudable achievement was overshadowed, however, by Andaur, herself, on Sunday.

Another Crystal clear victory. This one was worth $9,000 in Sunday’s $20,000 Guaranteed All Optional Live event. Actually, though, the outcome was far from clear until the last race when Andaur (4 wins, 1 place) saved a pick for the end and used it wisely on Gypsy Blu ($4.40, $3.40) in the 11th at Santa Anita to get up for the $9,000 triumph.

Last-race heroics were also on display back in Thursday’s Bally’s First Chance/Last Chance qualifier. 

Scott Cavalieri hit Arizona Sun ($5.60, $3.60) in the final contest race, the 7th at Canterbury, as his final of four winners to get up and grab the $500 entry.

(By the way…don’t be surprised when you see a lot of horses with “Arizona” in their name compete at Canterbury. Turf Paradise has long been a prolific provider of horses (and horsemen) to the Shakopee, Minn,, meeting.)

There were six featured tourneys on Friday. When they were done, the biggest smile was on the face of Michael Caposio.

The Temecula, Calif., car dealer got a good deal in Friday’s $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray. He drove off with $6,882 of the pot.

Those same picks (3 wins, 1 place) made it possible for Caposio to participate in the Spa & Surf Showdown at considerably less than full sticker price.

Caposio will also be in the big showroom…err, ballroom…in 2022 at the NHC.

Also there will be Scott Cavalieri who, fresh off his win in the previous day’s Bally’s qualifier, came up with an $18.80 place collection on Starship Sky in the 7th at Santa Anita (the actual last race by the clock that day) to get up for second.

Meanwhile, here’s the scoresheet that wound up sending so much of the Friday inventory Caposio’s way:

Caposio did leave a few things on the lot for others.

Bob Gianquitti actually topped Caposio’s score in taking our first qualifier to the Lone Star Summer NHC Finals on July 10.

Kirk Rockwell (2 wins, 3 places) and Michael Marlaire (4W, 1P) were the two $500 Bally’s First Chance/Last Chance winners on Friday.

Rockwell and Marlaire both had Peace Pipe ($17.40, $8.60) in the 7th at Santa Anita to smoke their rivals at the finish.

Over at HorsePlayers, Zachary Agamenoni picked just one winner in Friday’s Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Pick & Pray, but it was a good one.

It was Ballydooley ($63.80, $19.40) in the 9th at Belmont. To that bomb, Agamenoni added two place collections including the $18.80 payoff with Starship Sky in the 7th at Santa Anita, and it all added up to a $10,000 BCBC entry for this November.

On Saturday, Edward Wright was right twice.

In Saturday’s All Optional Live Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier, Wright came up with Starship Nterprise ($68.40, $16.00) in the 11th at Gulfstream among his 4 winners. That got him a $2,500 entry along with runner up Ken Seeman (2 wins, 2 places), whose big score came with Jimmy Blue Jeans ($33.40, $10.60) in the 9th at Santa Anita. 

Saturday’s first qualifier to the July 17th Monmouth Park Haskell Challenge was a traditional, 12-race play-in, which meant that Wright could play some—but not all—of his winning Spa & Surf picks back here.

He won again—thanks in part to the fact that the 11th at Gulfstream (and Starship Nterprise)—was available to him here as well. Jimmy Blue Jeans was also part of the 12-race contests, and that one assisted runner-up “Captain” Frank Sorensen (2 wins, 1 place) in his landing of a $1,000 Monmouth entry.

Saturday’s richest prize went to Lucas Van Zandt.

The Nutmeg State resident connected on just 2 winners and 1 runner up in Saturday’s $25,000 Guaranteed All Optional Live cash game, but the two winners paid $41.40 and $33.40 on top, and the place collection returned a more-than-solid $14.20, which combined to earn Van Zandt the grand prize of $11,907 in a game ultimately worth a total of $26,461.

Another sizable chunk of Saturday cash went to Gary “Macho Man” Machiz.

The Standardbred/Thoroughbred Renaissance man booked 4 firsts and 1 second to bag $9,261 in Saturday’s 12-race, $10,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed up shop with a total pot of $13,230. Machiz got up to first by having Fi Fi Pharoah ($6.00, $3.60) in the final contest race, the 10th at Santa Anita.

Matthew Nixon hit the last two winners to finish with 3 wins (and no places) and lead the way in Saturday’s All Optional Live Bally’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance qualifier.

Also picking up $500 entries for NHC Eve were Michael McEvoy (2 wins, 3 places) and Evan Trommer (2W, 1P).

Over at HorsePlayers, Bill Bochenek is on to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge.

Bochenek “did his job” in Saturday’s 12-race Pick & Pray by recording 3 winners and 4 runners up.

There were several close calls in the weekend $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourneys, but no one quite managed to break through.

Mike Ellis had all but the $10.80 winner of Saturday’s Leg 2. (His selection in the race ran second.)

Meanwhile on Sunday, John Van Arnum topped Kimberly Moffut by 20 cents for the top spot.

They each had 3 winners with Von Arnum missing only a 7-2 winner in Monmouth race 11, and Moffut sweeping all but the 4-1 winner of Monmouth race 9. Since no one went 4-for-4, this Saturday’s Jackpot will begin with a carryover of $7,124.

You might recall that on Wednesday, James Morgan was one of the week’s first two winners of Bally’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance entries. On Sunday, he took home another.

Morgan had 4 winners that ranged in price from $2.60 to $36.80. Joining Morgan in the big ballroom on NHC Eve will be the other contestant to scale $60.00, Mark Wilgard, who had just one first but five big seconds, including an $18.20 place mutuel in the 9th at Monmouth.

That $36.80 winner of Morgan’s was Oleksandra, an in-foal, turf sprinting mare who, despite carrying her precious cargo, managed to stretch out to a mile and beat the boys in Belmont’s Poker Stakes. Oleksandra was one of Mark Rudy’s 3 Sunday winners.

As a result, Rudy earned himself a $500 entry to the Colonial Downs Handicapping Contest on Monday, July 26th.

Oleksandra was also key for Paul Sadler in Sunday’s $7,500 Guaranteed All Optional Live Big Bucks tourney. 

Not only was Oleksandra Sadler’s biggest return, she was his first pick despite her race not coming until race 14 of our 25 available races. Either this was clever strategy…or Sadler just had a really busy Father’s Day. In any event, Sadler pocketed $5,250 in a game that went off at a juicy 8% overlay to the players.

Wendy Long is not a Dad…but she had a Happy Father’s Day too.

Oleksandra was one of Long’s 5 winners en route to victory in Sunday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio Pick & Pray at HorsePlayers.

The other Father’s Day feature at HorsePlayers was the NHC “Pick Your Year” qualifier.

Congratulations to the top two finishers George “W.” Bosch (4 wins, 4 places) and Jay Johns (4 wins, 3 places)—who presumably “picked” 2021…since they are already double-qualified for 2022.

Here’s a look at Bosch’s Sunday scorecard.

There is no truth to the rumor, by the way, that Amazon Prime Video is planning a mini-series on the exploits of Bosch.

Newly qualified…to the Del Mar Summer Challenge…is knowledgable contest person, and all-around-good-guy Tyler Frausto.

Tyler won our Sunday qualifier to the July 31-August 1 on-track event by compiling 5 winners and 3 runners up. To achieve that lofty total, he collected in each of the final 5 (of 12) contest races.

James Lisowsky took the opposite approach.

Lisowsky cashed tickets in 7 of the first 8 contest races to come home a winner (and a runner up!) in Sunday’s $368 Spa & Surf Showdown Low Ratio qualifier. So Lisowsky garnered not just a $2,500 entry, but a $368 breakage refund as well. Perhaps he will use that to tip the cyber maitre d’ at the Showdown.

If Richard Resnik wishes to tip the Spa & Surf Showdown maitre d’, perhaps he can just tell him his best play of the day.

Such information has to be considered of value given that Resnik was the winner of Saturday’s $147 Showdown qualifier.

Breaking news: Nick “48 Hrs.” Noce’s long national nightmare is over.

For weeks and weeks, Noce has given it his all to qualify for The BIG One, only to come up with several “closes” but no cigars. On Sunday, he got his cigar. His biggest win, we must report, was a bit on the cheesy side—Ricotta ($12.20, $7.00) in the 6th at Santa Anita. Perhaps the Rochester, N.Y., native can request a little ricotta on his next “garbage plate” (a Rochester, ahem, delicacy). 

I suppose garbage plates are like race cards. Sometimes they look ugly at first glance, but if you pick the right spots, they can be really satisfying. We hope your Father’s Day weekend was a satisfying—and enjoyable—one. If not, there’s still time to go out out a big winner in June. We’ll look for you next week.