Brian Chenvert Finishes First in Five Weekend Tourneys and Earns Eight Grand Prizes; After Knocking on the Door, John Van Arnum Wins Pick 4 Jackpot; Engelhard Boys Enjoy Fast Start to the Week (Weekly Recap, July 21-25)

Which do you find more impressive? The fact that Brian “BC” Chenvert finished first in five featured tourneys last week? Or that he accumulated a total of eight grand prizes (though really nine as you’ll learn later) for the five triumphs plus three other close calls?

I respectfully suggest that the right answer is “None of the above” and instead offer up the possibility that his most impressive feat was racking up the above tallies over three different—and consecutive—days, showing a level of both excellence and consistency that is seldom seen, especially during this highly-competitive time of year.

Brian Chenvert

Chenvert got the ball rolling on Friday when Rocket Joe Copper ($19.00, $8.80 in the 5th at Gulfstream) was among 2 firsts and 3 seconds that helped him earn a $4,000 entry to this coming weekend’s Del Mar Summer Challenge. 

The same selections got Chenvert second place behind Richie Bennett (4 wins, 0 places) in Friday’s Bally’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance Pick & Pray.

The runner up finish still garnered Chenvert a $500 Bally’s entry. And a fourth-place finish earned him likewise in Friday’s Colonial Downs qualifier.

Kevin Engelhard led the way here with Marc Stateler, 2007 NHC champ Stanley Bavlish, Kenny “Call me Kenneth” Peck and G.T. Nixon also picking up Colonial passes.

By Chenvert standards, Saturday might have been considered an “off” day. He only scooped up two grand prizes.

A runner-up finish behind Frank Foss yielded Chenvert another $500 Bally’s entry for NHC Eve, when he will also be joined in the starting gate by 3rd-through-5th-place finishers Rob Ramirez, Myles Richards and Charley Witt.

Actually, it was no mean feat topping Chenvert on Saturday. For Frank Foss to do so, he needed the day’s highest score. And note that this score was fully amassed all in just the first four races.

What a start!

Chenvert’s almost-as-excellent score of $145.60—built on the strength of 4 wins and a place, including Sifting Sands ($58.00, $27.20 in the 7th at Saratoga) was best of the lot in Saturday’s Colonial Downs Handicapping Challenge play-in.

Also earning $500 entries for the Virginia/Xpressbet/TVG contest were Gene Davenport, Jean Demarco, Alan “Flo-Cal” Levitt, Anthony DeCaspers, G.T. Nixon and Jason Phillips.

And it doesn’t count as a “grand-prize win,” but Chenvert also got a $5,000 partial Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry for finishing second to Joseph Parella (3 wins, 2 places) over at HorsePlayers.

On Sunday, Chenvert didn’t have any winners of the magnitude of Sifting Sands.

However, his 3 wins and 2 places were plenty good enough not once, not twice but three times.

Chenvert landed his second $4,000 Del Mar entry of the weekend, along with runner-up Patrick “Gino” Gianforte (3 places, followed by 2 winners).

Chenvert also bagged $2,600 in entry fees for September’s Kentucky Downs Turf Handicapping Championship

Michael Caposio (2 wins, 2 places) was a distant but profitable second. Both he and Chenvert had Cinnte Winter ($28.20, $11.80) in the 5th at Del Mar.

With Chenvert’s near-term schedule filling up rapidly, perhaps he noted that he still needed something to do in October.

Here it was a $3,500 Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge seat that Chenvert won. Rick Vasquez (4 wins, 1 place) got second to claim the other available Keeneland berth.

You know you’re having a great weekend when…even when you lose, you win. 

Yep, there’s Brian Chenvert grabbing a $5,000 partial BCBC entry for the second straight day. For those of you keeping score at home, two partial entries equals one full entry! Which is what Christopher Maiello got for beating Chenvert on Sunday. Maiello had just 2 winners and no places in Sunday’s Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers, but those two winners were Fourteen Days ($37.50, $13.40) at Woodbine and Cinnte Winnte ($28.20, $11.80) at Del Mar—the day’s two best returners in terms of price.

The final 72-hour tally for Chenvert—eight grand prizes plus two (!) partial BCBC entries worth a total of $25,100. We may have to change his nickname from “BC” to “Big 10”. He is probably ticked off that we don’t run any features on Mondays and Tuesdays…though at least he has that Colonial tournament to keep him busy on Monday.

Another headline-grabber over the weekend was John Van Arnum and, in his case, we can’t say that he didn’t warn us.

Nailing a quartet of single-digit winners, Van Arnum pulled in a total of $1,353 for “sweeping the card” in Sunday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney. In addition to being a nice achievement and a good payday for Van Arnum, the victory was one that afforded him excellent value. A $15 win parlay on the four winners would have returned approximately $524. So Van Arnum doubled that and then some for his 15 bucks. 

As to the “He warned us” part, Pick 4 tourney players (or readers of this blog with excellent memories) might recall that just a week earlier, Van Arnum won both the Saturday and Sunday Pick 4 tourneys but with just three winners each day. The previous Saturday, he missed an 8-5 shot and the next day he overlooked a 2-1 winner. Van Arnum made no such mistakes this time around. Congratulations, John. Persistence paid off!

Rewinding the tapes back to Wednesday, Anthony “Doczilla” Trezza was the day’s biggest winner, having taken top honors in the day’s Live-format $6,000 Guaranteed cash tourney.

Trezza counted Vincent Van Gogo ($27.20, $12.00 in the 7th at Colonial) as his best return among 4 firsts and 2 seconds, and he received a winner’s share of $2,706.

As things played out, Vincent Van Gogo was a common denominator among all of the Wednesday featured-tourney winners.

Both NHC Hall of Famer Steve Wolfson Sr. (4 wins, 0 places) and Peter Osella (5 wins, 0 places) had Vincent Van Gogo along with Front Man ($25.20, $10.40 in the 7th at Saratoga) to be the front men in Wednesday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.

Robert Schintzius Sr. (2 wins, 2 places) and Robert Engelhard (3W, 1P) also both picked Vincent Van Gogo.

As a result, both have paid-up berths to the Bally’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance qualifier.

It was a quick start to the week for brothers Robert and Kevin Engelhard. In the course of noting one of Brian Chenvert’s 37 victories, we recognized Kevin’s first-place finish on Friday in a Colonial Downs play-in. Then, as mentioned a minute ago, Robert grabbed a $500 Bally’s qualifier. And on Thursday, it was apparently Kevin’s turn.

Kevin made collections in each of the first six races en route to a 4-win, 4-place day.

The performance ensured that both Engelhards will have action on NHC Eve.

Thursday’s $4,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray was a tight one.

G.T. Nixon (who won a Colonial seat on Saturday for finishing behind Brian Chenvert) got up here by 90 cents over Drew Keaton. Nixon (5 wins, 2 places) got away from the gate quickly with 7-1 and 2-1 victors in the first two races, but the pivotal moment for him came at the end in Saratoga race 10 when Social Whirl ($8.20, $4.00) got him up and over for the $3,359 top prize. Final pot for this one was a robust $7,465.

Perhaps as a result of the newly-announced HorseTourneys Tour—or just because of some great summertime racing—participation was up in the weekend’s featured cash games…and that meant some extra juicy purses and prizes.

Friday’s $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray closed with a pot of $20,281. The biggest piece of that, $9,127, went to Alan “The Muscle” Baze—along with the distinction of being the first leader in the HT Tour standings! Personal accolades notwithstanding, Baze’s score of $105.20 was the day’s highest.

One of the few other triple-digit scorers on Friday was Tony Brice.

Brice and his 5 wins and a place led the way in Friday’s $75 NHC Pick & Pray at HorsePlayers. His biggest hit came with Bold Figure ($22.40, $9.40) in the 6th at Ellis Park. The other available berth to the 2022 NHC went to Chad Anshelewitz, who compiled 6 firsts and 1 second out of the 10 contest races.

The other Friday feature at HorsePlayers, a $500 Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Pick & Pray, went to David “The Great” Santoni.

Santoni (3 wins, 2 places) connected with Miranda Sofia ($8.60, $3.60) in the final tourney race (the 9th at Gulfstream) to move up from third to first and bag the $10,000 BCBC entry.

There were enough entries on Friday to award three $2,500 berths into the $300,000 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown.

Congratulations to Randy Bauer (4 wins, 2 places), Ken Jordan (4W, 0P) and Keith Fenton (2W, 3P). All three had Bueno Bueno ($12.80, $8.20) in the 7th at Ellis and 3-1 Miranda Sofia in the tourney nightcap from Gulfstream.

Saturday brought another higher-than-usual crowd out to the featured cash game, a $30,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.

Giuseppe Petrella recorded 4 double-digit winners, topped by Relishment ($35.60, $11.40) in the 12th at Monmouth, and he pocketed $17,702 from an overall final purse of $39,338.

Alexa Zepp also had a 4-win, 0-place day.

Zepp’s best two were her final two—victorious 8-1 and 7-1 shots in the last couple of races—and she walked off with $9,973 in Saturday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which finished up with a pot of $14,248.

As was the case on Friday, there were three winners of $2,500 Spa & Surf Showdown seats on Saturday.

Raymond Riley led the way with 4 wins and 1 place. Also securing seats to the final leg of the Tourney Triple here on August 14-15 were Mark Aylward (3W, 1P) and Jeff Sandler (2W, 3P). 

There were two Spa & Surf Showdown qualifiers on Sunday. The $368 Low Ratio one—which attracted just 14 entries—wound up being the home of the day’s highest score.

Carl Rasak turned the ratios on their heads by sweeping the final three races and finishing with 4 wins, 3 places and a $52.90 victory. Here’s how his day went.

Meanwhile Patrick Gianforte (who won a Del Mar entry on Sunday for finishing second behind Brian Chenvert) and John Kaiser were the two $2,500 seat winners in Sunday’s regular, $147 Spa & Surf Pick & Pray.

Both Gianforte and Kaiser booked 2 winners and 3 second-place finishers. The results had to be somewhat frustrating for Low Ratio runner up Dan Wilde (winner of $213,000 in this year’s Players Championship) who, in hindsight, would have won a $2,500 Showdown seat had he entered the $147 qualifier instead of the 14-player, $368 game.

Scott Mauer picked the right game. He had 2 winners—including Fourteen Days ($37.50, $13.40) in the 11th at Woodbine—plus 2 places…

…and that got Mauer the top money of $11,389 in Sunday’s $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed with a final purse of $28,474.

There was a 2-seat NHC Pick & Pray here at HorseTourneys on Sunday, and it turned out to be a family affair.

The two 2022 seat winners were Chris Goodall (3 wins, 3 places) and his stepmom, Sally Goodall (2W, 3P), though the two only had 3 of their 12 picks in common. Their disparate paths to victory were made possible by the numerous good prices out there on Sunday, including 17-1 Fourteen Days (which Chris had) and Cinnte Winnte ($28.20, $11.80 in the 5th at Del Mar) which Sally selected.

Paul Sadler had just 2 wins and a place on Sunday, but one of those winners was Fourteen Days.

From a total final pot of $9,159 in Sunday’s $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks game, Sadler pulled in $6,411—which, if spent over the period of Fourteen Days, would come to about $457 per day.

A hurricane swept through Sunday’s qualifier to The BIG One.

The skies were a bit too calm for the liking of Jon “Hurricane” Hurd during the first 7 races of the play-in for The BIG One. Hurd had accumulated just $6.90 to that point—more like a drizzle than a hurricane. But with the swiftness and ferocity of a true natural disaster, dropped 3 collections over the final 5 races including a 13-1 winner in Del Mar race 5, and in the finale, a $6.40 place payoff (by a nose) that more than accounted for Hurd’s $4.60 margin of victory. Hurd will now look to improve upon his 2nd-place finish in the 2017 edition of The BIG One.

The Last-Chance qualifier for Colonial sent 6 players on to today’s final.

We hope that Ret Grady (3 wins, 3 places), John Northern, Eddie Wright, Frank Foss (winner of a Bally’s entry on Saturday), Mark LoneTree and Zachary Agamenoni are all having good days today!

Daven Turner had a good day on Sunday.

He led a pack of four winners of Bally’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance seats that included Dane Moore, Dave Gray and Tony Garofalo. The big return for Turner among 4 wins and 3 places was 13-1 Cinnte Winnte in the 5th at Del Mar.

So concluded another exciting week of featured-tourney action. Thanks to everyone for giving me plenty to write about. We rev things back up again on Wednesday.