Joseph Zuer Sweeps the Big Bucks Tourneys; Mike Cebula Sweeps Wednesday; Saturday Takes Two to Tang (Weekly Recap, November 9-13)

Joseph Zuer has been a force to be reckoned with these days in HorseTourneys cash games. Last month, he won a Saturday, $30,000 HT Tour event plus a Big Bucks Pick & Pray on the same day. This past weekend, he spread his sharp-eyed skills across two days, sweeping the Saturday and Sunday Big Bucks tourneys.

By hitting Ransomware ($6.60, $3.80) in the final contest race, the 9th at Del Mar, on Saturday, Zuer (2 firsts, 1 second) edged himself past Steve Duffield and took home the $7,124 grand prize. It was an example of Zuer really making the small field of the Big Bucks games work in his favor…as he also played in the $30,000 Pick & Pray on Saturday and, using the same picks, finished 13th.

On Sunday, Zuer reinvested some of those Saturday winnings and put up 3 firsts and 1 second. Almost all of his scoring came in the first half of the tourney, including back-to-back winners that paid $11.80 and $12.80. For the day, those happened to be very solid prices, and despite cooling off late, Zuer escaped with a victory that was worth another $5,699. That brought his two-day Big Bucks revenues to $12,823. It will be fun to see whether Zuer can keep things going next Saturday.

The featured-tourney week began on Wednesday, and Mike Cebula had to be kicking himself when he missed a $23.20 winner in the 8th at Mahoning Valley, which turned out to be the day’s biggest winning price. Cebula wasn’t kicking himself at the end of the day, though.

Cebula put up 6 winners in total out of 10 races, including Like a Saltshaker ($18.20, $7.60) in the 7th at Horseshoe Indy. The impressive show of consistency earned him $2,730 in Wednesday’s $5,000 Guaranteed cash feature, which closed with a pot of $5,460.

Cebula’s cash triumph was a Live-format tourney, but his picks were exactly the same as the ones he employed in Wednesday’s Flo-Cal Faceoff Pick & Pray.

Cebula, thus, received a $1,500 entry into the $250,000 Guaranteed Faceoff here on January 14-15. It serves as the first leg of the 2023 Tourney Triple—with the Players Championship and the Spa & Surf Showdown to follow later in the year.

Thursday’s Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifier was captured by James Lisowsky.

The big price of the day was Stone Cold Cat ($53.80, $18.80) in the 7th at Mahoning Valley, and Lisowsky had it…along with one other winner and three runners up.

The Thursday high scorer was Jamie Renner in the day’s $6,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.

Renner (3 wins, 2 places) had Stone Cold Cat, but it was a $23.00 winner (Hattie M) in race 6 at Horseshoe Indianapolis that gave Renner the lead for good. The reward for Renner was $3,608, taken from a total prize pool of $8.018.

Last week, Joe Petrella grabbed a Flo-Cal Faceoff seat worth $1,500. This week, Petrella won Friday’s HT Tour event…which was worth a lot more.

Petrella came up with Supremeaction ($43.70, $18.40) in the 9th at Woodbine, which was his best of 5 winners in this $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray. He also had two others that paid more than $24.00.

In the end, Petrella romped by $48.70 and took home the winner’s share of $8,304 from a total final purse of $18,453. 

Quick aside—this is Petrella’s third HT Tour victory of the year. So far, he has accomplished one on Friday, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Now that he has “loaded the bases,” he may be able to snag a $500 bonus or two if he gets lucky between now and the end of the year.

The Accounting staff was feeling a little generous this week—even after we missed a couple of guarantees over Breeders’ Cup weekend.

The Friday Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifier was a 1-per-15 event that drew 43 entrants, but three $1,500 seats were awarded. Congratulations to John Rice (4 wins, 2 places), 2018 NHC champ Chris Littlemore (3W, 0P) and Linda Rodriguez (2W, 1P). All three were right on the nose with Durante ($24.80, $11.60) in the 5th at Del Mar.

The $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers was a 2-seats-guaranteed 1-per-143 test that attracted 414 entrants. As in the Flo-Cal play-in, three seats were handed out here.

The first-place finisher Dylan Donnelly (3 wins, 1 place) was already double qualified, so the three to earn 2023 berths were Bob Gianquitti (4W, 1P), Spencer Mullack (3W, 0P) and Sarah Wiener (3W, 0P). A final-table competitor at last year’s NHC, Wiener secured 4th place by 80 cents in this one.

On Saturday, the high scorer with a tally of $162.50) was Dan Horvat (4 firsts, 3 seconds)—and he put those fine picks to fine use.

Three of Horvat’s four winners in Saturday’s HT Tour event, our $30,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, paid $35.20, $26.20 and $19.80. Such returns allowed Horvat to win under a hand ride—by $61.10. The well deserved reward for Horvat was $14,968 in a game ultimately worth a total of $33,264.

Dr. Ron Tang also had himself a very nice Saturday afternoon. With 3 wins and 3 places, he led a pack of four winners in the day’s Del Mar Fall Challenge qualifier.

Also earning $3,000 seats into the November 26th contest were Lawrence Kahlden (4W, 1P), Jim Colbert (3W, 1P) and Frank “Plaster of” Paros (5W, 3P). Tang, Kahlden and Colbert did most of their scoring early, while Paros’s success didn’t solidify until the end. He made collections in each of the final five races, including a $5.20 place payoff in the nightcap that snuck him into 4th.

Getting back to Dr. Tang, he also led a lengthy parade of winners in Saturday’s Flo-Cal Faceoff play-in.

Tang used the same picks here as in the Del Mar qualifier, but it was a $12-dollar cab ride back to his closest pursuer in this competition. Finishing $61.80 behind in second was Brian “BC” Chenvert, who also won a $1,500 Flo-Cal seat. Finishing third and also achieving his objective was Michael “Copa” Kavana. Tang, Chenvert and Kavana all had Poppy’s Boys ($35.20, $17.80) in the 9th at Gulfstream.

Saturday was the first time that we offered our new $25 buy-in, Low Cap game. It had a $2,000 purse guarantee, and it turned out to be pretty popular.

Keith Castleberry uncovered 5 winners and won the $1,278 top prize with a score of $128.20—a total made all the more impressive by the fact that he took haircuts on 2 of his 5 winners due to the lower-than-usual caps of 12-1 for win and 6-1 for place. The final overall purse amounted to $2,948.

There was another “first” on Saturday—our first play-in to the December 3 Lone Star Fall Simulcast Betting Challenge (LSFSBC). 

Congratulations to Wesley Lecroy, who earned his $1,000 LSFSBC seat on the strength of 5 winners.

Over at HorsePlayers, Wendy Long (5 wins, 2 places) and Basil DeVito (5W, 1P) were the winners in Saturday’s $165, Live-format qualifier.

None of the double-digit winners possessed by Long and DeVito were held in common…but they both agreed on the two chalkier winners at the end.

Sunday was a day in which the highest priced winner across our 12 contest races was Dilattante ($17.50, $6.70) in the 9th at Woodbine. David Tunin had it.

Tunin also had 4 other winners plus 3 runners up to take top honors in Sunday’s HT Tour event, our $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray. He collected $11,812 from a total final pot of $26,250.

Dilettante was common to the scorecards of all three of our winners in Sunday’s Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifier.

Congratulations to G.T. Nixon (4 wins, 1 place), Vineet “Please Don’t Squeeze the” Sharma (3W, 1P) and David Nelson (4W, 3P).

First-place finisher Nixon also grabbed himself a $3,000 Del Mar Fall Challenge entry on Sunday.

Nixon bested all but Marc Stateler in the play-in to the November 26th on-track/ contest. Stateler hit a 3-1 winner in the final race to move from 3rd to 1st…and to leave Vineet Sharma on the outside looking in.

Dave Ramold got off to a fast start on Sunday.

He hit the first three winners en route to a 6-win, 1-place day and a $1,000 seat in our Lone Star Fall Simulcast Betting Challenge qualifier.

Sunday’s high scorer could be found over at HorsePlayers.

It was Tammy Johns, whose 5 firsts and 4 seconds took Sunday’s $210 NHC qualifier with surgical precision. Robert Moore took home the other available 2023 berth thanks to 5 wins and a place.

Thanks to all of you who made this “week after the Breeders’ Cup” a very enjoyable one in its own right. The second week after the Breeders’ Cup promises every bit as much action. The featured-tourney fun resumes on Wednesday.