Jose Giron Turns $118 into $33,000; Saturday Cash Game Returns $17,000 to Giuseppe Petrella; Peter Dresens Scores NHC/BCBC Double on Sunday (Weekly Recap, September 29-October 3)

Winning a qualifier is always a rush in itself. There’s nothing like the feeling of playing in a good tournament with “house money”. Jose Giron took that good feeling on Thursday—and kicked it up a notch on Saturday.

Make that several notches.

Sharpie, indeed.

Congratulations to Jose for taking an innocuous $118 and running it up to more than $33,000 by the time Saturday’s Santa Anita Opening Weekend Challenge at Xpressbet was said and done. 

We love running our big events like the Flo-Cal Faceoff and the Spa & Surf Showdown. But in many ways, our bread and butter are the qualifiers like Giron won on Thursday. Thanks, Jose, for reminding us of how a little can soon turn into a lot. It’s pretty much why all of us play contests.

Darren Rudnick turned $79 into $2,861 on Wednesday, the first day of the featured-tourney week.

Rudnick collected on three winners and one runner up—the most notable of which, by far, was Top Shotta ($128.00, $30.00) in the 9th at Parx—and that got him a victory in Wednesday’s $6,000 Guaranteed cash tourney, which had a final purse of $6,359.

Kirk Rockwell didn’t have Top Shotta, but he came up with Prince of Portland ($19.60, $11.20) in the 5th at Delaware.

Prince of Portland was one of three winners that Rockwell had to open up the competition. He finished with 4 wins and a place to take home a $3,500 seat to the October 16 Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge.

Scott Fiedler, the 2020 Spa & Surf Showdown champ, punched his ticket to Keeneland the following day.

Fiedler orchestrated his victory with 4 firsts and 2 seconds, including Ballydooley ($39.20, $11.60) in the 8th at Belmont.

Ryan Reynolds (3 wins, 1 place) also picked Ballydooley.

In fact, Reynolds had the winners of each of the final three contest races to bag the top prize of $3,577 in Thursday’s $5,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed with a pot of a robust $7,949. The 10-race total posted by Reynolds was the highest of the day.

At HorsePlayers on Thursday, there was a special Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier on the first eight races of that day’s Belmont card.

Wayne Tam led the way with 3 big winners. Despite the fact that it was a 1-per-65 qualifier with 121 entries signed on, we tossed in a second grand prize—and it was claimed by Braden Selvig (3 wins, 2 places). Both Tam and Selvig had Ballydooley in what served as the final race of this tourney.

Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier was a more traditional, 10-race, multi-track game.

Joe Hyerczyk emerged with the $10,000 entry here thanks to 4 wins and a place that included Choose Hope ($14.40, $5.70) in the 3rd at Woodbine.

There weren’t a lot of big prices to be had on Friday. The day’s NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers saw Wayne Atwell put up the high Friday score with a tally of $81.90.

Atwell recorded 7 winners, including the first 5 right out of the gate. Robert Jones (5 wins, 3 places) checked in second to grab the other available NHC spot.

Here’s a look at Atwell’s scorecard:

Back here at HorseTourneys, NHC Hall of Famer (and 2019 Spa & Surf Showdown champion) Paul Shurman was the hero of Friday’s HT Tour event, our $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray. 

The 6-1 Choose Hope at Woodbine was Shurman’s top collection among 3 wins and 3 places. He earned $8.902 from what was a final purse of $19,783.

There were three Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifiers during the weekend, and each one saw two players advance to the $250,000 Guaranteed finals here on January 8-9.

Kevin Willett (5 wins and 2 places, including 4 victories in a row at one point) and “Battlin’” William Smith (4 wins, 3 places) were the skillful duo on Friday.

There was also a skillful and successful duo in Friday’s Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge Pick & Pray qualifier.

Mike Castagnoli blasted out of the starting gate with 4 winners en route to 6-win, 1-place day that led the way, Not too far behind him was Marc Stateler (3 wins, 4 places). Stateler also picked up a $3,500 entry for October 16th.

Saturday’s big winner was Giuseppe Petrella.

Petrella enjoyed a sweet payday of $17,005 for capturing Saturday’s HT Tour event, out $30,000 guaranteed cash tourney. Petrella had 4 winners and a place—topped by Gongheifatchoy ($35.80, $10.20) in the 11th at Belmont. Gongheifatchoy, translated from Chinesse into English, means “Congratulations and be prosperous”…which is appropriate…because that’s what Petrella did. Here is how he did it:

John Covault (2 wins, 3 places) and Tom Bolek (2W, 3P as well) also both prospered with Gongheifatchoy.

They were the two players to top the $80.00 mark in scoring and they will move in two weeks’ time to try their luck further in the Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge either on-track or at Xpressbet.

More congratulations for Gongheifatchoy prosperity are in order for Craig “Home Sweet” Hom.

Hom racked up 4 wins and 3 places on the way to the Saturday Big Bucks winner’s circle. Hom received $13,536 in the $10,000 Guaranteed event that finished up with a purse of $19,337.

Saturday’s high score belonged to Kenny McMahan.

Gongheifatchoy plus 3 other winners and 4 runners up meant a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry for McMahan in Saturday’s $179 qualifier at HorsePlayers.His score of $115.10 was a Saturday best.

Back here at HorseTourneys, Evan Trommer (5 wins, 2 places) and Brett Wiener (3 wins followed by 2 places) were the recipients of $1,500 Flo-Cal Faceoff entries.

For Wiener, it is already the (maximum) second entry into the $250,000 Guaranteed event that he has won.

Neither Bill Redman (who missed an even-money winner in Leg 2)…

…nor G.T. Nixon (2 winners)…

…went 4-for-4 in winning their respective $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourneys last weekend. So next Saturday’s Jackpot will start out with a carryover of $2,737.

Sunday was a big day for Peter “Sharp Dressed Man” Dresens.

He took those three wins and a place and rode them to victory in Sunday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio Pick & Pray at HorsePlayers, an event that also saw Michael Waddle pick up a $10,000 entry.

The same picks also got Dresens second behind Robert Carlson in Sunday’s $165 NHC qualifier.

For Dresens, it was one of those great days when an NHC seat and a $10,000 BCBC entry are both won simultaneously. His score also happened to be the second highest of the day—which means that Robert Carlson’s was the highest.

Garry Addley won Sunday’s NHC Tour event—the $20,000 Guaranteed cash tourney.

Addley had 5 firsts and 1 second, highlighted by British Royalty ($51.20, $18.60) in the 8th at Woodbine. His return was $10,561 in a game ultimately worth a total of $23,470.

The other big Sunday cash game was our $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney. It was one by Jim Trepinski—despite the fact that he didn’t turn a flat-bet profit.

Trepinski registered 2 wins and 2 places to earn a winner’s share of $7,124 from a total final purse of $10,177. His biggest collection came with Tallestofthetall ($19.10, $8.00) in the 8th at Woodbine.

The biggest of the big wins for Brian “BC” Chenvert on Sunday was also Tallestofthetall.

The Woodbine victor was one of 2 winners and 4 places for Chenvert that earned the Minnesotan a $6,000 Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship entry.

Steve “The Admiral” Nemetz (3 wins, 2 places) and Stephen Wolfson (1W, 2P) were the two to grab $1,500 entries in Sunday’s Flo-Cal Faceoff play-in.

Nemetz’s tallest ship was Tallestofthetall. Wolfson’s (not surprisingly, since it was his only winner) was 24-1 British Royalty.

There were three winners of $3,500 entries in Sunday’s Keeneland BCBC/NHC Betting Challenge qualifier.

Congratulations to Terrence Severson (3 wins, 2 places), Bobby Marks (4W, 0P) and Chris Inman (3W, 1P).

Thanks to all who played last week for, as usual, giving me plenty to write about. I’ll be taking some time off next weekend around the Columbus Day holiday—so I’ll see you in two weeks with the next “Weekly Recap.” Until then…good luck and good handicapping!