Steve Nemetz Commandeers Friday Flo-Cal Qualifier; Pat Camacho Captures Month-End Blowout; Donnie Lott Delivers Crushing Hit on Lone Star Opponents (Weekly Recap, November 23-27)

Longshots in mythical-money tourneys are like determined bidders at an auction. When there’s just one present, then that one dominates. When there’s more than one, then all hell can break loose.

With various longshots lighting up the toteboard on Saturday and Sunday, we didn’t have a single multiple winner on either day. In fact, the only dual winner of the entire 27-featured-tourney week came on Friday—and that was a rather unique situation.

Steve “The Admiral” Nemetz didn’t get his pair of Friday victories in two tourneys…he got them in one.

With his dual entries, Nemetz played two different horses in every one of the 12 races. On one ticket, he got off to a quick start by hitting the target with Sixtythreecaliber ($24.40, $7.10) in the first contest race, the 7th at Aqueduct. That entry wound up leading this two-seat Flo-Cal Faceoff Pick & Pray until the very end, when Nemetz’s other entry blew everyone else out of the water with A Crown For Kitten ($71.20, $20.40) in the final contest race, the 9th at Del Mar. When the fighting was over, Nemetz’s two ships were the only two still seaworthy. In January, he will sail over to the $250,000 Guaranteed Faceoff with two fully-loaded cannons ready for battle.

Thanksgiving Week began on Wednesday. You don’t hear Christ mentioned too much around this holiday, but you did this year.

That’s because Fred Christ took the Thanksgiving Eve $5,000 Guaranteed tourney, thanks to 4 firsts and 2 seconds. He bagged $3,110 from a total, final purse of $6,910.

In Wednesday’s other feature, Steven Meier (3 wins, 1 place) and Rick Vasquez (4W, 0P) were the two winners in our Flo-Cal Faceoff Pick & Pray.

They both came up with Bourbon Bon Bay ($15.80, $7.60) in the 8th at Parx.

There was a rarity in our special Thanksgiving Day $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray. Max Schnepf won by hitting the All button.

Actually, what Schnepf did was play a horse named All in the final contest race, the 8th at Golden Gate. 

When All won and paid $11.60 to win and $5.80 to place, all was right in the Schnepf household because it elevated Max (5 firsts, 0 seconds) to a triumph worth $10,099 in a game ultimately worth a total of $22,443.

For the second straight week, Jim “Never” Settle won a tourney. Last week it was a Big Bucks game, and this week it was the Thanksgiving Flo-Cal Faceoff play-in.

Settle swept the final three races to finish with 5 wins and 3 places. There were enough entries here to award three $1,500 entries, however, and that made it a Happy Thanksgiving for Dr. Ron Tang (2W, 3P) and Wendy Long (5W, 0P) as well.

Four wins and a place got the job done for David Nelson.

He won Thursday’s Lone Star Fall Simulcast Betting Challenge qualifier and, thus, got a $1,000 for this Saturday in suburban Dallas.

Bruce Rossi will also be busy this coming weekend.

Rossi connected on five three-horse, $1 exacta boxes that ranged in payoff size from $4.90 to $20.70. It all added up to a $750 entry in this weekend’s $50,000 Guaranteed Exacta Extravaganza here at HorseTourneys.

We already mentioned that, on Friday, Steve Nemetz got both of the “pay slots” in our Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifier by hitting Sixtythreecaliber on one entry and A Crown for Kitten on the other. John Farrar managed to have both longshots on a single ticket.

Those two big prices plus one other more modest winner earned Farrar a cut-rate spot in the 2023 NHC. Also winning a seat in this $75 qualifier at HorsePlayers was runner up Carm Adimando (4 firsts, 2 seconds). Adimando had 5 small cashes followed by a huge one—34-1 A Crown For Kitten—at the end in the 9th at Del Mar.

The Black Friday cash feature was taken by Michael “Copa” Kavana.

Kavana (3 firsts, 1 second) had A Crown For Kitten in the finale to get up by $2.80 over current HT Tour leader Travis Pearson. The victory in this $15,000 Guaranteed HT Tour competition was worth $10,024 to Kavana. Pearson’s placing earned him $4,009. The final pot here amounted to $22,277.

Saturday, November 26th was the final Saturday of the month, and that meant it was time for another $50,000 Guaranteed Month-End Blowout…and that was good news for Pat “Hector” Camacho.

Camacho (4 firsts, 2 seconds) scored a 12th-round knockout by hitting Percolate ($33.20, $14.40) in the tourney finale. He made $20,000 in a game that went off with a takeout to players of 2.8%.

Nary a week goes by when Evan Trommer doesn’t win something. Last week it was a BCBC qualifier, this week a $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray.

Trommer’s chances rocketed skyward when Astronaut ($32.00, $13.20) took the 9th at Aqueduct. He finished with 4 firsts and 2 seconds and took home the lion’s share ($8,549) of the $12,213 total purse.

On Saturday, we offered our first Multi-Entry Mania tourney. Players were able to have as many as 15 entries at $5 per pop. The purse was guaranteed at $1,000.

Our first-ever “MEM” winner was John Dobrzynski, whose best entry contained 5 winners—good for the $551 top prize. The final prize pool settled at $1,377. For the record, Dobrzynski played 7 entries. No one played more than 10 entries. Of those who played 10 entries, none finished in the money.

In the Saturday lineup for a second week was our $1,500 Guaranteed Low Cap (12-1 to win, 6-1 to place) tourney. This one wound up having a takeout of 3.2%.

Jack McDonald saw one of his winners, Astronaut, take a win-price haircut from $32.00 down to $26.00 for contest purposes. He still won the $750 top prize, however, thanks to a total of 5 firsts and 1 second. (One other 15-1 winner during the day besides Astronaut—Percolate in the 9th at Del Mar—also was subject to a contest-win-price reduction per the Low Cap rules.)

There was a $165 NHC Pick & Pray at HorseTourneys on Saturday (one of two NHC play-ins during the day. Two seats were guaranteed…and they were won in completely different manners.

Eric Archer led the way with 7 winners. None of them went off any higher than 7-1. In fact, he was the only Saturday grand-prize winner who had none of the day’s 10-1 or better winners. The runner up, George Novick, got his seat in a fashion more conventional for the day. He hit Percolate at the end to round out a 2-win, 2-place day and snag second place by 40 cents.

Kevin Willett (5 wins, 0 places) and Bob Gianquitti (2W, 1P) each picked up $1,000 entries in Saturday’s Lone Star Fall Simulcast Betting Challenge qualifier.

The big horse for Willett on the road to the LSFSBC was Armando R ($23.00, $6.20) in the 8th at Laurel. Gianquitti hit it big with Percolate late.

Brett Wiener (3 wins, 1 place) and the red-hot Joseph Zuer (4W, 2P) both had Armando R as their highest-yielding pick.

They were the two to emerge with $1,500 entries in Saturday’s qualifier to the $250,000 Guaranteed Flo-Cal Faceoff, the first leg of the 2023 Tourney Triple.

Eric Astrom connected on 3 successful 3-horse exacta box plays on Saturday.

One of them was a $125.40 (for a buck) windfall in the final contest race, the 9th at Del Mar. That one put Astrom over the top for a $750 seat in next weekend’s $50,000 Guaranteed Exacta Extravaganza here at HorseTourneys.

The high score of the day on Saturday (by a narrow margin) came in the NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers that was restricted to those who had yet to garner a 2023 seat.

Steven Hartshorn (4 firsts, 2 seconds) did the trick thanks to smoking out both Astronaut and Percolate.

John Pacione (3 winners, 0 places) not only had Astronaut and Percolate, he came up with the day’s third-highest-priced winner (Armando R) as well.

The trio provided Pacione with an $18.80 victory in Saturday’s $179 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier at HorsePlayers.

Sunday was another day in which the presence of two longshots—Eloquist ($33.80, $10.60) in the 7th at Aqueduct and Lion’s Lair ($81.80, $25.20) in the 7th at Golden Gate—meant that there were multiple paths to the HorseTourneys winner’s circle. No one captured more than one grand prize during the day.

On Sunday, we hosted our first qualifier to the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship, and business was brisk. There were enough entries to award three $6,500 packages.

The skillful three were Thomas Labordo (3 wins, 2 places), Ciaran Thornton (2W, 2P) and Gene Stewart. Labordo and Thornton each had Eloquist. Stewart didn’t have any of the bombs, but he chipped up consistently with 5 place collections followed by 2 winners.

When Donnie Lott hits you on a Sunday afternoon, you know you’ve been hit.

Lott (6 firsts, 3 seconds) certainly did lay out his opponents in the day’s Lone Star Fall Simulcast Betting Challenge qualifier. He amassed the high score of the day in this 19-entry tourney and won by a whopping $88.90. 

Like Donnie Lott, Charles A. LeFevre (4 wins, 1 place) managed to get both Eloquist and Lion’s Lair onto his scorecard.

LeFevre was well compensated for his feat. He received $12,403 for taking Sunday’s HT Tour event, our $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed up shop with a pot of $27,562.

Two accomplished players will be in the field for next weekend’s Exacta Extravaganza.

NHC Hall of Fame Ray Arsenault (3 winning exactas) and 2018 The BIG One champ Joe Pettit (2W) each had the big $204-for-$1 payoff in the Lion’s Lair race at Golden Gate, and that vaulted them to the top of Sunday’s exotic qualifier (in which the 3rd- and 4th-place finishers also had the bulky Golden Gate race 7 exacta).

Speaking of accomplished players, Scott Fiedler will look to add a second HorseTourneys major to his curriculum vitae in January.

Fiedler, the 2020 Spa & Surf Showdown champion, defeated all comers in Sunday’s Flo-Cal Faceoff play-in. Eloquist and Lion’s Lair both were part of his 2-win, 2-place scoresheet. Aaron Bernstein (2 wins, including Lion’s Lair, plus 1 place) finished second to also nail down a $1,500 Flo-Cal entry.

Tim “Moose” Haas had just two Sunday collections…but one was Eloquist at 15-1 and the other was Violent Runner, a 12-1 winner of race 6 at Del Mar.

Those two gave Haas all the scoring he’d need to author a victory worth $5,699 in Sunday’s $7,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney, which finished with a final purse of $8,142.

Golden Gate bomb Lion’s Lair was common to the scorecards of Patrick Kennedy (4 wins, 3 places) and 2016 NHC Tour champ Cheryl McIntrye (3W, 1P) over at HorsePlayers.

They were the two to make off with NHC seats in Sunday’s $210 qualifier.

Meanwhile, Anthony Spinazzola—via an alternate selection—was the only one of 30 to have Lion’s Lair in Sunday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio Pick & Pray.

Spinazzola received a $10,000 entry into the world’s most prestigious live-bankroll handicapping contest…to be held 11 1/2 short months from now.

We hope all of you had a pleasant Thanksgiving weekend with your family and friends. Before we close, we want to salute Ken Jordan. He won a $3,000 seat in our final qualifier to the Del Mar Fall Challenge. Then, just seven days later, he won the Del Mar Fall Challenge. Well done!

The featured-tourney action—which will include the final qualifiers to the Exacta Extravaganza and to Lone Star—resumes on Wednesday. Hope to see you then.