Winning is Twice as Nice for Dane Moore and Michael Somich; John Behnke Enjoys Three Saturday Successes; Jayson Rockett Earns NHC Seat Plus $7,000 (Weekly Recap, January 25-29)

Dane Moore’s handicapping last week won’t necessarily get him enshrined in any Halls of Fame—it was just really strong, really steady and, in the end, quite profitable.

On Wednesday, Moore was one of four to earn $500 NHC Horseshoe First Chance/Last Chance seats for March 9th in Vegas.

The others were Dr. Ron Tang (2 wins, including 20-1 shot Hi Ho Cheerio, plus 4 places), Howard Johnson and Jeff VanDrie.

On Friday, Moore didn’t settle for just one First Chance/Last Chance seat.

Moore claimed the top two slots in what wound up being a six-seater. Nick “48 Hrs.” Noce, Mike McIntyre, Cheryl McIntyre and Michael Somich were also rewarded with $500 spots.

The two entries (separated by about $28) that got Moore a pair of First Chance/Last Chance seats on Friday also earned him two of the four available $6,500 packages in that day’s Last Chance qualifier to the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship.

On the quick turnaround, Moore accordingly played his two recently-earned entries the next day at Xpressbet in the 186-entry Pegasus World Cup contest. Once again, Moore was able to manage both of his entries into the black. He finished 6th with one ticket and 32nd with the other and ran his two $5,000 starting bankrolls up to a total of over $23,000.

Again, Moore won’t get any headlines beyond here for what he did, but he certainly put together three days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) of very solid—and ultimately very productive—handicapping…with his NHC First Chance/Last Chance seats still to be played.

Moore isn’t the only one who earned three First Chance/Last Chance berths last week. So did Michael Somich.

We already mentioned that Somich got the sixth and final spot in the Friday qualifier where Moore came in first and second. As it turned out, Moore may have been emulating Somich—because that’s what Somich did 24 hours earlier.

G.T. Nixon came in third to grab the only prize left behind. As for Somich, the vibes seem pretty good for him right now. On January 21-22, he made $73,000 for finishing second here in the Flo-Cal Faceoff. And now he has three $500 seats to play on March 9 at Horseshoe Las Vegas…where Somich made it to the Final Table of the NHC last year. 

The featured-tourney week got rolling here on Wednesday—when Scott Pulcini put up 4 firsts and a second to capture the day’s $5,000 Guaranteed cash tourney.

Pulcini nailed the final two races at odds of 15-1 and 20-1, respectively, to earn $3,701 from a pot that wound up at a robust $8,225.

On Thursday, the hero of the featured cash game, our $6,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, was Somdat Bachu.

Bachu had the day’s two biggest-priced winners among his 3 firsts and 2 seconds. The five collections earned him $3,732 in a tourney that ended up with a final purse of $8,295.

Among Friday’s 10 contest races in our multi-track tourneys, there were two big longshots that won—Storied Fella ($46.00, $14.40) in the 6th at Aqueduct and Commander Keith ($137.80, $43.80) in race 8 at Tampa. John Pacione came up with them both.

Pacione had 4 winners in all, and he led the way with the high score of the day in Friday’s $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers. 

Bob Gilbert also had the two bombs, and he added a place collection with a 28-1 shot to finish second. The 3rd- through 6th-place finishers were all already double qualified, so the third and final available NHC spot went to Kenneth Americh down in 7th place. 

Commander Keith, the 67-1 winner at Tampa, was the big horse on Friday for Crystal Andaur.

Andaur and her 3 wins and 2 runners up ruled the roost in Friday’s $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, an HT Tour event.

Andaur’s compensation was $10,398 in a game ultimately worth a total of $23,108.

Mark Richards missed out on Commander Keith…but he didn’t overlook Storied Fella in the first contest race of the day.

Richards added two subsequent winners and one runner up to the early hit at the Big A, and he came away with the $1,000 entry in Friday’s qualifier to the Tampa Bay Downs High Rollers Contest coming in less than two weeks.

On Saturday, our 12 contest races were capped off by the $3 million Pegasus World Cup, and Frank Okasaki made the most of that race.

Okasaki had Art Collector ($33.00, $12.40) in the big race, and that enabled him to jump up and win $18,156 in the day’s HT Tour battle, our $30,000 Guaranteed cash game, which wound up paying out more than $40,000. Jayson “Radio City” Rockett finished a strong second to pick up $7,262.

In Saturday’s NHC Pick & Pray at HorsePlayers, Jayson Rockett (4 wins, 2 places) finished a strong…first!

Art Collector wrapped up Rockett’s big day as well. The other seat winner was Jim Meeks, who also hit the Pegasus World Cup at the end, but not in the same way. Meeks (4W, 3P) had runner up Defunded, and the $5.00 place return got Meeks up into second.

The other Saturday feature at HorsePlayers, a $179 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Pick & Pray, went to Jonathan Socolow.

Socolow (2 firsts, 4 seconds) made hay in the stakes, coming up with Repo Rocks ($22.40, $7.10) in the Toboggan Stakes at Aqueduct and Art Collector in the Pegasus World Cup.

Back here at HorseTourneys, John Behnke reeled in a grand prize in three separate tourneys.

Behnke was one of seven to earn $500 seats in the NHC First Chance/Last Chance qualifier that was topped by Michael McEvoy (5 firsts, 1 second).

Behnke was also one of the first four to qualify for the second leg of the 2023 Tourney Triple, the $350,000 Guaranteed Players Championship here on April 7-8.

Rick Vasquez led the proceedings with 5 wins and 2 places, including Art Collector at the end. Then came Shane Irish (3W, 2P), Behnke (5W, 0P) and Gary Machiz (3W, 4P).

In Saturday’s Tampa Bay Downs High Rollers Contest play-in, Behnke had the spotlight to himself.

The same 5 winners—led by Repo Rocks—sent the $1,000 entry Behnke’s way here.

Meanwhile, one of Behnke’s fellow $2,000 seat winners in the Players Championship qualifier earned himself some “Big Bucks” on Saturday.

That would be Gary “Macho Man” Machiz (3 firsts, 4 seconds) who, like Behnke, counted Repo Rocks as his biggest producer. Machiz bagged $12,111 in the $10,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray that closed up shop with a hefty final pot of $17,301.

On Sunday, the horse you really wanted to have was Stat ($46.40, $13.80) in the 6th at Gulfstream. Mark “Santana” Tabakman had Stat.

Stat, alone, wasn’t going to do it for him, though, in Sunday’s $20,000 Guaranteed game. He needed to come up with the final three winners as well, and only then did he secure a victory worth $13,978. The final prize pool here amounted to $31,062.

Stat was a fast springboard to success for Michael “Copa” Kavana in Sunday’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance qualifier. 

Joining Kavana with paid-up entries in the bulky NHC Eve field will be “The Commissioner” Tim Smith, Ilan Cuellar, Jay Johns, Neal Metzger, Wendy Long, Charles A. LeFevre, Pat Murphy and Rob Ramirez.

All of Stephen McNatton’s scoring was done stat…in the first seven races.

His quick 3 wins and 2 places included Stat, and they earned him a $1,000 Tampa Bay Downs High Rollers Contest entry.

All of the Sunday winners at HorsePlayers used Stat.

The Gulfstream longshot was Crescencio Dacayanan’s only winner in the NHC qualifier that was restricted to non-winners of a 2023 seat. Dacayanan augmented Stat with five place collections.

Chris Podratz took Sunday’s open-to-all, Low Ratio NHC play-in.

Stat was the star among 3 wins and 3 places for Podratz.

The other big Stat beneficiary at HorsePlayers was John Gaspar (2 wins, 4 places).

Gaspar got himself an early berth in the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. Brian “BC” Chenvert reported home second to grab a $5,000 partial entry.

There were a couple of Sunday winners who got the job done despite not having Stat.

Jim “Never” Settle’s biggest return among 4 wins and 1 place in Sunday’s Players Championship qualifier came with Big Tony’s Girl ($14.40, $8.40) in the 7th at Aqueduct. Settle was the best of three to earn $2,000 Players Championship berths. The other two were Evan Trommer (4W, 3P) and Ronnie Ogle (2W, 4P). 

Howard Welsh didn’t come up with Stat…or even Big Tony’s Girl…but that didn’t stop him.

Welsh top winner went off at 7-2. Actually, what I should have written is that his only winner went off at 7-2. Welsh did muster six place collections, however, and that allowed him to prevail in Sunday’s $7,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney. The event closed with $8,142 in the kitty, and Welsh took home $5,699 of it.

Thanks to all of you who made HorseTourneys a part of your Pegasus World Cup Week activities. More excitement is on tap this coming week—including our first qualifiers to the 2023 Keeneland Grade One Gamble. Hope to see you then.