A Saturday Hat Trick for Pete Acocella; Daniel Fischer Orders Up a Flo-Cal Seat with a Side of Big Bucks; Another Lucrative Week for Rudolph Hardin (Weekly Recap, December 1-5)

With 33 featured tourneys this past week, we were busier than Joe Namath and Jimmie “J.J.” Walker during the last few days of Medicare Part C enrollment. We weren’t able to award any free rides to medical appointments, but we did hand out lots of cash and important contest seats to a number of skillful players. 

The featured-tourney fun began on Wednesday, and arguably the player who had the most fun that day was Larry Messier.

While his messiah was Styner in the 8th at Tampa, Messier couldn’t guarantee victory in Wednesday’s $6,000 Guaranteed tourney until Reelfoot crossed the wire first in the 7th at Turf Paradise. The victory was worth $2,700 to Messier—in a game that went off with a takeout to players of 9.6%.

Eric Boyd also used Styner…

…and that 11-1 winner led him to a $1,500 entry to the $250,000 Guaranteed Flo-Cal Faceoff here on January 15-16.

Appropriately enough, the big horse for Kelly Frost on Wednesday was Molly’s Angel ($39.40, $12.40) in the 7th at Tampa.

We say “appropriately enough” because Molly’s Angel was the heavy lifter in earning Frost a $1,000 entry to Tampa Bay Downs on January 8th for the Last Chance/First Opportunity NHC qualifier presented by HorseTourneys on-track in Oldsmar, Fla.

Matthew Rentze got off to a jackrabbit start in Wednesday’s Santa Anita Opening Day Challenge qualifier.

Rentze reeled off five straight collections to open the competition and added a couple more later on to take home the $1,500 Xpressbet entry.

Gary Johnson (3 wins, 4 places) was a runaway winner of Wednesday’s Bally’s NHC Last Chance contest qualifier.

Fortunately for David Brownfield, Don Allen and Pat Murphy there were enough entries to award four $500 entries so they will all join Johnson in the NHC Eve field at Bally’s.

Last week, Rudolph Hardin earned an NHC seat and a Flo-Cal Faceoff entry. On Thursday, he continued his winning ways.

Hardin raised his glass to Courvoisier winning the 9th at Aqueduct—which helped him win $2,830 in Thursday’s $5,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which settled its books with a final pot of $6,290.

Hardin used those same picks in Thursday’s Bally’s Last Chance qualifier.

Pat Murphy (5 wins, 0 places) and Jon Van Niel (another lover of Courvoisier…for one day at least) ran second and third to also secure Bally’s entries. For Murphy, it was his second such seat in as many days.

Jim Lisowsky was the victor in Thursday’s Flo-Cal Faceoff play-in.

Lisowsky rang up 3 winners followed by 3 runners up.

On Friday, there was another dual winner—Evan Trommer—and he accomplished that with a score of just $59.00.

Perhaps even more surprising was that one of Trommer’s victories came in the day’s richest tourney, our $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.

Trommer pocketed $8,154 (and earned HT Tour points) from a final purse of $18,121. Not bad for four winners that topped out at $10.20!

Trommer’s score also carried the day in Friday’s Bally’s NHC Last Chance Pick & Pray.

Behind Trommer, Mike Schneider (3 wins and 2 places including cashes in the final three heats), Kirk Rockwell (3W, 1P) and Sheldon Usprech (5 winners that were all of the single-digit variety, plus a place) also picked up $500 Bally’s entries.

The day’s high score on Friday was provided by John “The Clocker” Nichols.

Nichols had the two highest-priced winners of the day to capture a $1,500 Santa Anita Opening Day Challenge entry.

She Fled the Scene ($16.60, $6.40) in the 9th at Tampa was the big horse among 5 Friday winners selected by Stephen Kuhn.

Kuhn will, thus, be trackside at Tampa Bay Downs on January 8th competing for an NHC seat with his $1,000 entry fee already covered.

John Kaiser (1 win, 3 places) topped the field in Friday’s Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifier.

Having She Fled the Scene helped make Kaiser the only contestant in this one to turn a flat-bet profit in the 10-race test.

She Fled the Scene was a common denominator for Gerald Trovato and Robert Moore in Friday’s $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers.

Trovato had the winners of each of the final five races to finish with 7 firsts and 1 second. Moore had no runners up, but he did connect on 6 winners.

The star of the day on Saturday—with three tourney victories—was Pete Acocella,

Acocella led a band of 6 $500 seat winners—that included Mitchell Hiatt (4 wins, 2 places), Micael Guadagno (2W, 1P), Matt “The Fly” Tietze (2W, 2P), George Bosch (2W, 1P) and Jon Van Niel (5W, 1P)—in Saturday’s Bally’s Last Chance qualifier.

Acocella played the same selections to great success as well in Saturday’s Santa Anita Opening Day Challenge and Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifiers.

An NHC Final Table performer last August, Brendan Fay also grabbed himself a Flo-Cal entry for finishing second to Acocella. They both had Sweet Wilhelmina ($18.60, $7.80) in the 7th at Gulfstream.

While Pete Acocella was Saturday’s most prolific winner, Justin “How do you” Dew was Saturday’s most prolific scorer.

Dew picked a good spot in which to put forward his gaudy score—our richest tourney of the weekend, the $30,000 Guaranteed cash game (which is also an HT Tour competition).

The 4 wins and a place brought Dew a payday of $15,246 in a game ultimately worth a total of $33,880. His effort even outdid Pete Acocella, who had to settle for second for a change, According to contest player Steve Simonovic, Dew achieved his victory while participating in an on-track contest at Indiana Grand, and Simonovic shared this photo on Twitter of Dew in the afterglow of his HorseTourneys triumph.

Dew wants YOU!

College administrator Joel Wincowski reeled off three straight victories at the start of Saturday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray.

Another 3 wins and a place later, Wincowski was $7,836 richer. The final Big Bucks pot on this day came to $11,195.

James Morgan prevailed in Saturday’s Tampa qualifier.

Morgan cashed during each of the final four races to lock down the $1,000 entry for January 8th. 

Over at HorsePlayers, both Ralph DeBartelo (4 wins, 4 places) and Michael Marlaire (3W, 3P) had Twelve Volt Man ($23.60, $10.00) in the 10th at Gulfstream.

Thanks in part to that high-voltage winner, both punched their tickets to next month’s NHC.

Wendy Long started out with three runners up that were followed by three winners.

Combined, the six-pack was sufficient to earn Long a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier in the $179 Pick & Pray at HorsePlayers.

After missing 6-5 and 3-1 winners in the first two legs, James Smith hit the final two to finish first in Saturday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney.

Sunday’s Pick 4 Jackpot game was nearly impossible with cap horses winning the first two races. Joseph Laliberte nailed one of the bombs—plus another winner and a place—to take top honors.

Since no one put in a 4-for-4 ticket over the weekend, though, next Saturday $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney will begin with $2,236 already in the pot.

There were several winning longshots out there on Sunday. The player who did the best job of unearthing them was the day’s high scorer, Brian “BC” Chenvert.

Chenvert couldn’t smoke out ALL of the prices—almost no one seemed to come up with the 50-1 Justintimeforwine in the 9th at Aqueduct—but he did have Lobsta and, in the final race, Carmenootz. Those two helped him win a Santa Anita Opening Day Challenge seat…

…in a qualifier that saw Michael Park Sr. also nab a $1,500 spot (Carmenootz was his only winner).

Chenvert also led a group of seven happy players in Sunday’s Bally’s Last Chance qualifier.

Congratulations as well to fellow Bally’s contestants-to-be Micahel “Copa” Kavana, Matthew Nixon, Lou Arellano, Hank Uffmann, John Vogel and Joseph Karabaich.

Another Sunday double winner was Daniel Fischer.

Fischer capped off a 2-win, 1-place day with Carmenootz in the tourney nightcap at Woodbine, and that enabled him to $7,124 in Sunday’s $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks game, which closed up shop with $10,177 in the till.

Fischer also used Carmenootz as a springboard to success in Sunday’s Flo-Cal Faceoff play-in. 

Brendan Fay also had Carmenootz to get up for the place spot and grab a Flo-Cal Faceoff entry for the second consecutive day.

Another big Carmenootz fan (now more than ever, no doubt!) was Darren Rudnick.

He had the Woodbine toterocker to hit for $10,783 in Sunday’s HT Tour event, our $20,000 Guaranteed No Limit cash game which finished up with a purse of $26,958. 

Rudnick has been on a bit of a tear of late. He also captured our November 17th and November 19th featured cash tourneys. His total haul over those three events comes to $22,460. Expect lots of presents under the tree at the Rudnick household this Christmas.

The big horse for Edward Enborg on Sunday was Lobsta ($58.00, $17.40) in the 10th at Aqueduct.

I’d be happier for Enborg if not for the fact that instead of betting on Lobsta in that race, I went with Chowda (who, I believe, is still running). All that notwithstanding, Enborg finished with 3 firsts and 1 second to earn a $1,000 Tampa Bay Downs Last Chance/First Opportunity NHC qualifier entry. See you down in Tampa, Edward!

Over at HorsePlayers, Joseph Costello and Steven Schmidt each earned their way to the NHC, albeit in separate events.

Costello (3 wins, 1 place) got $55.90 of his $88.00 total courtesy of Carmenootz at the end of the $500 Low Ratio qualifier that was .open to all.


…Steven Schmidt nailed four of the final five winners to come from behind and take Sunday’s $165 NHC qualifier that was restricted to those who had yet to garner a 2022 berth.

Last but not least, Zachary Agamenoni had some of that tasty and highly satisfying Lobsta/Carmenootz stew to bring home a $10,000 entry in Sunday’s Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge at HorsePlayers.

We hope last week’s featured tourneys didn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth and make you cranky like Martha…

…but if they did…you can always choose to begin anew on Wednesday. One good day may just have you saying…Dyn-O-Mite!