HT Tour Titan Jorge Cruz-Aedo Captures Third Saturday Cash Feature to Earn $1,000 Bonus; Vic Stauffer Records Triumphs on Consecutive Days; Brett Wiener Bags Three Sunday Grand Prizes (Weekly Recap, September 22-26)

Jorge Cruz-Aedo was second in the HT Tour standings heading into this past weekend. Look for the Texan to improve his position.

Cruz-Aedo is a fine handicapper any day of the week, but he seems to be especially good on Saturdays! This past Saturday, he won $15,193 for taking the day’s $30,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray (final pot came to $33,762).

For Cruz-Aedo, not only does he get valuable HT Tour Points for the success—which should move him past Brian Chenvert in the 2021 standings—he gets a $1,000 bonus for registering his third Saturday-cash-feature victory since the HT Tour began earlier this summer. (He got a $500 bonus, per HT Tour rules for Saturday victory #2.). 

Any additional Saturday first-place feature finishes and they will continue to be accompanied by $1,000 bonuses. Pretty sure we’ll be seeing his name in the entries from this point out!

Cruz-Aedo earned his cash—and points—thanks to 3 wins and a place.

It was a scoresheet that also served him well in Saturday’s Keeneland qualifier.

Joining Cruz-Aedo with paid-up $3,500 entries in the October 16th Keeneland competition will be runner up Allan Schaefer (3 wins, 1 place) and Gary Johnson (2W, 2P).

Of an even more pressing nature (time-wise) than the Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge is this coming Saturday’s Santa Anita Opening Weekend Challenge.

Greg “Cookin’ With” Gass was up to the…challenge…in Wednesday’s first qualifier of the week to the Xpressbet-hosted competition. He had a single winner—Frisky Feeling ($29.00, $12.60 in the 8th at Parx)—plus two place collections in what wound up being a 9-race competition when Thistledown couldn’t complete its Wednesday card.

In Wednesday’s other marquee game, our $6,000 cash event which went off with a takeout of 2.6%, Steve Pavich was rewarded for following the rules.

Actually…Pavich was rewarded for following…Rules. Pavich swept the final three contest races, including the 10th at Parx, which was won by Rules ($19.60, $7.60), and that left him with 5 wins and 2 places on the day—good for the top prize of $2,700.

Thursday’s cash feature, our $5,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, was accounted for by 2020 Spa & Surf Showdown champion Scott Fiedler.

The Long Island sports camp owner picked two winners and one runner up—most notably Big Castle ($23.60, $8.80) in the 7th at Belmont—to pocket $2,612 from a final total pot that closed at $5,806. (As you might have noticed from the above graphic, the 10-race Thursday feature became a 7-race Thursday feature due to heavy rains that forced the cancellation of the Woodbine card.)

Friday’s cash feature—an HT Tour event—saw Bob Schreiter emerge victorious.

Schrieter nailed the first three races en route to a 5-win, 1-place day that got him $7,331 in Friday’s $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed up shop with a final purse of $16,292.

There weren’t a lot of bombs bursting in the Friday air, but that didn’t stop Evan Trommer from getting the job done in the day’s Santa Anita Opening Weekend Challenge.

Trommer connected on 3 winner’s circle visitors and 3 runners up to leave with the $1,500 Xpressbet seat. His big horse was Pnutbutter Special ($10.60, $3.40) in the 7th at Monmouth.

The two players to top the $50 mark were the two to earn $3,500 entries in Friday’s Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge qualifier.

Congratulations to Keeneland (or Xpressbet) bound Mark Simonovic (4 wins, 2 places) and Marc Racenstein (3W, 3P).

On a day in which a 5-1 winner was about as good as you were going to do, Tyler Smith did a great job of finding a bunch of winners in that price range.

Smith had Friday’s high score in capturing the day’s $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers.

Also punching his ticket to the 2022 NHC in this one was NHC Hall of Famer Trey Stiles, who came up with 6 wins and a place.

John Cilia picked 5 winners (which came consecutively) plus a place on the way to the $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seat he earned on Friday at HorsePlayers.

Edward Diamond came in second to grab a $5,000 partial BCBC entry.

In Saturday’s Santa Anita Opening Weekend Challenge play-in, $90 was the line you wanted to top, and Norma Mendoza (4 wins, 1 place) was one of two to be over that line.

The player closest to that Mendoza line—and, thus, also a recipient of a $1,500 entry—was Ken Jordan who compiled 3 firsts and 1 second.

At HorsePlayers, Paul Kimos registered Saturday’s highest score thanks to some last-race magic.

It earned him a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry. 

Runner up Shawn Pilar also had victorious Belmont Race 11 14-1 shot Cinderella’s Cause to get up for second and take home a $5,000 partial BCBC entry.

In Saturday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney, Sean O’Malley was the only one who used Turf Monster terror Hollywood Talent ($219.20, $55.40) in the 9th at Parx.

That alone got him top honors over Mark Stillmock who had the next three…somewhat less surprising…winners.

Speaking of longshots, Evan Trommer had the last-race, 16-1 winner (Happy Hill Lil) in his Sunday Pick 4 mix.

That, his second winner of the sequence, shot Trommer to the top. William “The Explorer” Clark, David Herberholz and Travis Massey were all alive for the Jackpot but none could connect in the finale. Since no one went 4-for-4 over the weekend, next Saturday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot will begin at $2,063.

We need to rewind just a tad because there is one more Saturday feature on which to report.

Vic Stauffer had Keepsake Kitten ($20.40, $9.20) in the 8th at Gulfstream among his 4 wins and a place. Collectively, they added up to $53.30, a score good for the grand prize of $9,973 in Saturday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray, which had a final pot of $14,248.

On Sunday, Stauffer was at it again.

Stauffer got more scoring with a single horse, Cliffy ($46.20, $17.00 in the 10th at Monmouth) than he did with all 5 of his Saturday collections combined. The end result though was the same on both days: Victory. This time it was worth a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seat for Stauffer, Evan Trommer completed the exacta to garner a $5,000 partial BCBC entry.

Sunday’s high score came from the day’s other feature at HorsePlayers, a $1165, two-seat NHC qualifier.

Kevin Engelhard did the honors here thanks to 3 wins and 3 places. Here’s a look at his scorecard.

Timothy Hughes got the other available NHC entry. He had just two winners (and no places), but the winners paid $46.20 (Cliffy at Monmouth) and $35.20 (Happy Hill Lil at Belmont)

Another Cliffy fan was Steven Meier.

Meier had Cliffy as one of the three winners that propelled him to a $6,000 entry in Sunday’s Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship qualifier.

Joseph Zuer was also a Cliffy backer.

Cliffy did most of the heavy lifting for Zuer among five winners that brought him glory—and $9,319—in Sunday’s HT Tour event, our $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray. Here’s a little-known fact (as Cliffy Klaven might say); The game finished up with a purse of $20,709.

Charles Browning didn’t hit any longshots, but he did sweep the first three races, and he added a pair of place collections later on.

It still didn’t add up to a flat-bet profit for Browning as none of his winners went off at more than 5-1. What it DID add up to, though, was a triumph worth $5,250 in Sunday’s $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks game…that had a takeout to players of just 6.8%. Browning will no doubt cry over his low score all the way to the bank!

Chris Bertolucci, Brett Wiener and Carl Richard Logan…come on down!

You’re the first three contestants in the $250,000 Guaranteed Flo-Cal Faceoff. Bertolucci had 4 wins and 2 places in leading the way.

Runner up Brett Wiener picked 3 Sunday winners.

That winning trio wound up resulting in a trio of grand prizes for Wiener.

Douglas Schenk (4 wins, 1 place) was the other winner along with Wiener in the Santa Anita Opening Weekend Challenge qualifier. They both had Agent Creed at Belmont.

In Sunday’s Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge qualifier, Wiener bested all but Kirk Tesar (4 wins, 2 places)…

…so both Hoosier Tesar and Floridian Wiener will be competing on October 16th with their $3,500 entry fees already taken care of. Now they just need to find some more nice winners.

We’ll have another nice slate of featured tourneys this coming week—including a second Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifier (on Friday) to go along with the existing one on Sunday. Until then, have an enjoyable and productive week ahead, and thanks very much for playing last week. Your participation is always greatly appreciated by all of us here at HorseTourneys.