David Snyder Wins $183,750 in $501,500 Flo-Cal Faceoff (Weekly Recap, January 12-17)

When David Snyder, the 2019 NHC Tour Champ, noticed on the day before the Flo-Cal Faceoff the the purse for the first leg of the Tourney Triple had reached $400,000, he decided to buy himself an entry. When he saw that the purse was nearing half a million dollars about a half an hour before the first Saturday race at Gulfstream, he plunked down another $1,500 for a second entry.

It was that second entry that was the charm. With it, the 66-year-old Information Technology executive in Mission Viejo, Calif., topped a field of 376 to earn the first-place prize of $180,000 plus another $3,750 in Day 2 bonus money in last weekend’s two-day Flo-Cal Faceoff.

The third annual Flo-Cal Faceoff, won in 2021 by Alan Levitt and in 2020 by Thomas Blosser (a good friend of David Snyder’s), would have closed with a final purse of $499,140. However, HorseTourneys President McKay Smith decided to kick in an additional $860 to bring the purse up to an even half-million, then he added $375 to each of the final four cashing spots to bring them up to $1,500 (equal to the event’s entry fee), so the final purse for the 2022 renewal settled at $501,500. 

Included in the prize pool was a total of $50,000 in daily bonus money ($25,000 each day) that was paid out to those who performed best on each specific day. The Day 1 leader—and, thus, the earner of a $12,500 Day 1 bonus—was Steve Arrison, seen here discussing his Saturday exploits with Bill Downes and Chris Larmey on the live HorseTourneys YouTube webcast. 

Arrison finished as the Day 1 leader thanks to a place collection in the day’s final race. 

The $5.80 place return with Big Novel in the 10th at Santa Anita allowed him to prevail over Giuseppe Petrella in what was a veritable see-saw match between the two throughout much of Day 1. Key for Arrison was that he had the day’s one real longshot on Saturday, 42-1 cap horse Moms Moon in the 11th at Gulfstream.

It might be interesting to note that nowhere to be found on this screenshot of Saturday’s top 37 finishers is the name “David Snyder”.

Snyder certainly didn’t have a bad Day 1. In fact, a $6.60 place return from Cowboy Diplomacy in the 9th at Gulfstream moved Snyder up at that time to third place in the Saturday standings.

That’s when the Saturday cheering stopped for Snyder, however. He didn’t cash a single thing over his final nine plays, and Sunday didn’t start out great for him either. He blanked on his first four plays, extending his “cashless streak” to 13.

After those early Sunday misfirings, though, Snyder went on to cash in eight of his next 13 plays, capped off by 21-1 Santa Anita race 8 victory Half Past Twelve.

The Half Past Twelve score shot Snyder all the way to the top.

Though there were now just two races left, the result was far from settled.

That’s because Thomas Kolschowsky followed up his selection of Half Past Twelve in race 7 with Wishtheyallcouldbe ($15.60, $5.40) in Santa Anita race 8 to move from 4th up to 1st. 

The one-two punch by Kolschowsky was part of a day-long salvo that earned him the $12,500 bonus prize for the best Sunday score.

But who would win the $180,000 grand prize? With the 4th-place contestant Michael Cherello less than $2.00 away from him in 2nd, and a $45,000 payoff difference between 2nd and 4th, David Snyder opted to try and protect his position with 6-5 favorite Constitutionaffair (#2), who he felt was the best horse in the race. Thomas Kolschowsky went with 11-1 outsider Niles Channel (#6).

It was as if the riders—Flavien Prat on Constitutionaffair and Kent Desormeaux aboard Niles Channel—knew what was going on in the Flo-Cal and tried to ride for maximum dramatic effect. Prat went right to the top on the favorite…and Desormeaux stayed glued to his flank for basically the entire backstretch.

In the end, it was Constitutionaffair—and David Snyder—who prevailed, with Niles Channel (white colors) tiring slightly to finish fourth, but beaten just barely over a length for all of it.

The gutsy pick by Kolschowsky still left him with a very nice payday of $72,000 (plus the $12,500 in Day 2 bonus money) for finishing second, while Michael Cherello caught a place payoff with #5 Liberal to edge past John “The Clocker” Nichols for the $36,000 third-place prize. Cherello also picked up another $7,500 for having the second-highest Sunday score.

Nichols had to settle for fourth ($27,000), but he played a throughly excellent tournament throughout. He had the 7th-highest score ($125.40) on Day 1, added another $105.20 on Day 2, and both he and 5th-place finisher Stephen Thompson ($22.500) had each of the Faceoff’s two big longshots—Moms Moon on Saturday and Half Past Twelve on Sunday.

Here’s a look at all of those who finished in a Flo-Cal Faceoff cashing position:

As for Snyder, a contest stalwart who enjoyed his biggest tournament victory ever in the Flo-Cal, he is now eligible for a $1 million bonus should he take either the April 8-9 Players Championship (run in All-Optional Live format) or August’s Spa & Surf Showdown. If he wins them both, he gets a $2 million bonus.

Snyder’s Flo-Cal Faceoff triumph also earned him a maximum score of 100 points in the Tourney Triple series. All those in the Flo-Cal Top 100 got points, ranging from 100 points for first place to 1 for 100th place. The three with the highest point totals after the Spa & Surf Showdown get seats to such contests as the NHC, the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and The BIG One.

We’ll be back tomorrow with a more in-depth look at David Snyder and the weekend that made him $183,750 richer. For now, though, let’s review some of the other important featured-tourney results from the week just completed.

The featured-tourney week got underway on Wednesday when William Moravec capture the day’s $6,000 Guaranteed cash game.

Moravec came up with 7 winners and a place out of just 10 races to earn $3,328 from a final purse that closed at $7,396. Here’s a look at his scorecard:

The marquee Thursday cash tourney went to Kirk Tesar.

Tesar’s 4 firsts and 2 seconds were topped by Dontbelate ($66.00, $28.60) in the 9th at Aqueduct. The timely bomb enable Tesar to cash for $3,079 in a game ultimately worth a total of $6,843.

Nick “48 Hrs.” Noce ran first—and second—in Thursday’s Bally’s NHC Last Chance qualifier.

Of Noce’s two successful entries, one contained 25-1 Gulfstream race 8 winner Oriental Trigger; the other did not. Picking up the other available $500 seat for NHC Eve (the one Noce carelessly left behind!) was Jay Johns.

Among the Friday featured offerings was our first qualifier to the March 5th 1/ST Ultimate Betting Challenge. At the end of this one, George “Boomer” Scott (3 wins, 0 places) was guilty of Encroachment.

This turned out to be a good thing, though. Instead of losing five yards, Scott gained a $3,500 entry to the Ultimate Betting Challenge, which can be played on-track at Gulfstream and Santa Anita or online at Xpressbet.

Bruce Rossi was another delighted to get flagged for Encroachment.

The 5-1 Santa Anita race 6 winner gave Rossi a “first down” in Friday’s HT Tour event, our $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed with a purse of $18,952. Rossi’s share of that came to $8,528.

Gregory Lewis turned in a rather extraordinary performance in Friday’s feature at HorsePlayers, a $165 NHC Pick & Pray.

Lewis made collections in all but the last race of the 10-race affair (and by the end, he had a big enough lead that the one slip up didn’t really matter). He finished with 7 winners and 2 places. There were enough entries to award two NHC spots here, and the other was earned by Robert Matthews (3W, 2P). They both had the day’s highest-priced winner, Over the Channel ($16.60, $7.60) in the 10th at Gulfstream.

Saturday was Day 1 of the Flo-Cal Faceoff, of course, but there were several other important games that day as well.

Anthony Mastropietro got the money ($11,858) in the day’s “other” HT Tour event, the $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray. (The Flo-Cal Faceoff was also part of the HT Tour.) Final purse for this one amounted to $23,716.

There was also a $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray.

Jim Trepinski led the way here to pick up the top prize of $7,124.

Christopher Coleman (4 wins, 0 places) and Jim Videtic (3W, 1P) both came up with Moms Moon ($87.60, $26.80) in the 10th at Gulfstream. That led them both to victory—and an NHC Seat—in the Saturday qualifier at HorsePlayers that was restricted to those who had yet to earn a 2022 spot. (Unfortunately, I don’t have the leaderboard shot for this one. Sorry, guys!)

Eric Kurzhal also had Moms Moon…

…and that one did the heaviest lifting for Kurzhal as he won a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seat for this November.

Neither Tim Catlett (3 winners)…

…nor Raymond Gallant Jr. (2 winners)…

…managed to put together a perfect ticket in their respective $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney victories over the weekend. (Gallant had the first three winners on Saturday as well.) That means that next Saturday’s tourney will start with a carryover of $577.

Outside of the Flo-Cal Faceoff, the big winner on Sunday was Kevin Engelhard.

He had 4 wins and 3 places—and blocked runner up George Chute in the finale—to win $9,000 in Sunday’s HT Tour event, our $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.

Sunday’s $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks game went off with a takeout of just 6.8%.

The primary beneficiary of the low rake was James Dickson, who compiled 4 winners and 1 runner up.

Christopher Olsson had 2 winners and 4 places…and two of his place collections returned more than any of his winners.

It all added up to a winning combination for Olsson in Sunday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers.

Craig Siedler had a pretty amazing Sunday.

He hit the final three races to finish with 4 wins and a place, and he won the $210 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers.

Siedler scored even better in the $500 Low Ratio NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers on Sunday.

Siedler, thus, pulled off the rare feat of earning two NHC seats in one day. Also earning a spot to this month’s big dance was runner up Dennis Hubbard who, like Siedler, swept the final three races.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Eric “B Connected” Boyd came up with two winners early and two winners late.

That brought Boyd to the mountaintop in Monday’s $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray. Boyd’s winner’s share was $7,032.

Over at HorsePlayers, Edward Enborg capped off a nice weekend.

Enborg won $4,500 for finishing 13th in the Flo-Cal Faceoff, and on Monday he got himself an NHC seat by taking the Low Ratio play-in that was restricted to those without a 2022 spot.

There was also a Low Ratio NHC qualifier on Monday that was open to all.

Seth Morris was the winner here with 5 winners (none paying over $13.00) plus a place. It had to be a frustrating day for trainer/contest player Karl Broberg, who finished second in each of Monday’s NHC qualifiers. Possibly making matters worse was the fact that his score in the “open to all” qualifier would have won the “non-winners” event.

Thanks to all who played (a tourney), watched (the webcast) or read (this blog) this past week. A reminder once again…we’ll be back tomorrow with a profile of $183,750 Flo-Cal Faceoff champion David Snyder.