Lawrence Kahlden Takes $50,000 Preakness Day Tourney; Pete Acocella and Howard Welsh Win Two Apiece; Drew Keaton and Frank Polk Keep on Rolling (Weekly Recap, May 18-22)

Looking back at last weekend, three of the biggest winners had to be Early Voting—for his performance in Baltimore; Rich Strike—for not going to Baltimore (where, in hindsight, the track most likely would not have suited him); and, of course, Lawrence Kahlden.

Kahlden turned in the day’s highest score in the week’s richest tourney.

As it turned out, only one of Kahlden’s four winners came at Old Hilltop…but the money spends just the same. And that money came to $22,500, the grand prize in Saturday’s Live-format, $50,000 Guaranteed game (and HT Tour event) that went off with a takeout to players of 8.9%.

There was another high-stakes, low-takeout game on Saturday.

Michael Solakis had Early Voting in the Preakness among his 4 winners and 2 places, and he took home the top money of $11,250 in our $25,000 Guaranteed Preakness Day Pick & Pray (PDPP). This one had a takeout of just 3.8%.

The featured-tourney week got started on Wednesday—when Pete Acocella was the one of the two stars of the day.

Acocella picked 3 winners, including Lindsay Luck ($45.40, $13.80) in the 4th at Canterbury Park to take Wednesday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier—and he played the same picks in the day’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize play-in. 

The two triumphs meant $4,500 worth of contest seats for Acocella, who also did battle in Wednesday’s $5,000 Guaranteed cash tourney. Here, Acocella finished 4th to add $461 to his day’s receipts. No one, however, was getting close to Igor Mirambeau.

In addition to smoking out Lindsay Luck, Mirambeau also uncovered cap horse Heavenly Hellos ($74.80, $25.40) in the 8th at Horseshoe Indiana. With those two, he really didn’t need his third winner. In any event, Mirambeau pulled in the top prize of $2,768 in a game ultimately worth a total of $6,152.

One week after capturing two featured tourneys, Frank “54-40 or Fight” Polk added another victory to his curriculum vitae.

Just $1.50 separated the top three in Thursday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier, but, as we know by now, Polk is a fighter, and he prevailed with his 4 firsts and 2 seconds.

The day’s other feature, our $6,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, went to Stephan Gravina.

Gravina scooped up $3,826 from what was a final pot of $8,502. Things didn’t look good for him after he missed on what turned out to be the day’s priciest horse. Gravina made up for the omission thereafter, however, by reeling off 6 wins and a place over the final 9 races.

Friday’s HT Tour event, our $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, closed with a purse of $18,952 and went to Donal Lydon.

Lydon did have a $22.00 place collection on a 45-1 shot in the beginning, but his biggest winner among five didn’t come until the end in the Black-Eyed Susan.

Friday’s high score came in the $75 NHC Pick & Pray at HorsePlayers, where the three to crack the $80 mark were the three to secure 2023 berths.

Congratulations to Eric Schmidt, Rob Ramirez and Randy Bauer. Here’s a peek at Schmidt’s day-best scorecard:

Christian Orscher had My Last Mission ($23.80, $5.90) early and Interstatedaydream ($114.20, $6.40) late.

The double-digit victors—plus two other winners and two runners up—got Orscher a spot in the $400,000 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown.

Allan Sadler’s biggest winner among 5 firsts and 1 second was with 6-1 Black-Eyed Susan heroine Interstatedaydream.

The half dozen collections added up to a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seat for Sadler in Friday’s Low Ratio get together.

The two to score in the 60’s were the two to exit Friday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier with $2,000 entries in their pocket.

Mike McIntyre 10-1 winner My Last Mission and 45-1 runner up Good Medicine to lead the way. Howard Welsh (3 wins, 0 places) got second—leaving contest observers shocked—not that he did well, but that he entered something other than a Big Bucks tourney!

On Saturday, Welsh was back to his old ways…

…and his winning ways. Again, Welsh recorded 3 winners while eschewing runners up. His big horse this day was the Chantal Sutherland-piloted Lightening Larry en route to the grand prize of $8,549 in a $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray, that closed its doors with a purse of $12,213.

In Saturday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier, Bosch was on the case.

That was George Bosch, of course, not Hieronymus. Bosch topped a three-pack of $2,000 seat winners that included Rich Pawlowski (3W, 3P) and Paul Kimos (2W, 2P), who punched his Monmouth ticket despite whiffing on the first 7 contest races.

Saturday’s NHC qualifier took place right here at HorseTourneys—where Stephen Nieswiadomy put on an impressive display of handicapping consistency.

Nieswiadomy made collections in all but one race, and seven of those 11 productive horses were winners. He will be joined at the 2023 NHC by runner up Paul Calia, who posted 3 firsts and 3 seconds.

The lone Saturday feature at HorsePlayers was presided over by Mike Elsass (4 wins, 2 places).

Elsass had Lightening Larry and Me and Mr. C ($25.40, $9.00 in the 11th at Gulfstream) as his two heavy lifters in Saturday’s $179 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Pick & Pray.

Lightening Larry and Me and Mr. C were also on Brett Wiener’s scorecard.

In all, Wiener had 4 winners and 2 placers to finish first in Saturday’s Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier.

Sunday brought more money—and more ink—for Drew Keaton.

His victory in Sunday’s $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray (an HT Tour event) was Keaton’s fifth in the last three weeks, having hung up a W last week and three the week before that. Here, he earned $10,434 out of a total prize pool of $23,187 and his six collections (five of them winners) came consecutively.

Play like that, and one can afford to cool off a little at the end.

Keaton’s big horse was Hardly Social ($35.40, $11.40) in the 7th at Gulfstream. Kirk Tesar’s came at the very end with Wenjack ($35.50, $16.90) in the 10th at Woodbine.

The late-tourney fireworks landed Tesar one of what will be no more than 57 spots in September’s The BIG One.

Wenjack was also key to Jim Trepinski’s triumph in Sunday’s $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney.

Trepinski was in the hunt late, but rather that try and edge his way to the top in the 6-entry game that was an 8% overlay proposition to participants, Trepinski blew his foes out of the water with 16-1 Wenjack. The result was a score more than twice that of his nearest foe…and a payday of $5,250.

The binary nature of Sunday’s featured tourneys was exemplified in the Spa & Surf Showdown play-in.

The two winners of $2,500 spots were Anthony “Doczilla” Trezza (3 wins, 0 places) and Eric “B Connected” Boyd (2W, 2P). The big horse for Trezza was Hardly Social, whereas Boyd’s 16-1 winner of choice was Wenjack.

In January, David Snyder (the 2019 NHC Tour Champion) won $183,000 for capturing the most recent edition of the Flo-Cal Faceoff. Yesterday, he grabbed himself a $5,000 place in the Del Mar Summer Challenge on July 30-31.

Snyder had 2 winners—one of which was Hardly Social. Also very important were Snyder’s three runners up. Two of them paid double digits to place.

There were three winners of $2,000 entries in Sunday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize Challenge qualifier.

Congratulations (and good luck on June 4) to Mark Rudy (3 wins, 1 place), Gary Gristick (2W, 4P) and John Farrar (3W, 0P).

Sunday’s highest total came from not one of the highly-populated games, but from the 22-entry Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio Pick & Pray at HorsePlayers.

Corey Lonberger authored the gem thanks to a big winner (Summerathtespa) at the beginning, a big winner at the end (Wenjack) and three modestly-priced victors in between.

Jeff Sandler also had Summeratthespa and Wenjack.

In terms of first-place runners, the bookend winners were all Sandler had in Sunday’s last chance Lone Star Million Betting Championship qualifier…though he did augment his score further with a pair of runners up. Also earning a $2,500 seat plus a $500 travel stipend at the Lone Star Last Chance saloon was Albert Tiernan, whose only winner among 4 collections was late-day Woodbine winner Wenjack.

Last but not least, both Rick “I-65” Broth and Michael Bailey had Wenjack, who was the last winner of the day but far from the least such.

Broth finished with 2 wins and 3 places. Bailey, with Wenjack at the end and a big place collection right before that, wound up with 2 firsts and 2 seconds. They both wound up with seats to the 2023 NHC in exchange for their $210 investments in the HorsePlayers competition.

Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend—which, among other things, means that we have another $50,000 Guaranteed Month-End Blowout set for Saturday. We hope you can take part then…and we thank you for spending a portion of your Preakness weekend with us.