Evan Trommer Racks Up Three First-Place Finishes on Belmont Day; Mark Stillmock Captures Thursday and Sunday Cash Features; Scotty McKeever Picks Nine Winners Out of 11 Races (Weekly Recap, June 7-11)

A few weeks ago, we joked that Evan Trommer figured to be extra dangerous on Belmont Stakes Day because the first two jewels of this year’s Triple Crown saw him win the Kentucky Derby Challenge, a Big Bucks game, a couple of Spa & Surf Showdown seats and also a bunch of NHC Tour points (for winning a qualifier after already being double-qualified).

We were joking…but perhaps we shouldn’t have been.

True to his Triple Crown form, Trommer recorded the day’s high score in taking the day’s $10,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which had a final pot of $14,332. Though his biggest return came not from Belmont, but from Gulfstream, where Barbara took race 11 at odds of 14-1. 

Saturday’s $30,000 Guaranteed tourney was a Live-format game, but Trommer used the same picks in that one…

…and achieved the same result. Here, he won $15,384 from a total closing purse of $34,188. Combined with the $7,166 he pocketed in the Pick & Pray, his cash winnings for the day came to $22,550.

And is it really a successful weekend for Trommer if he—the current NHC Tour leader—doesn’t add to his points total?

What a 2023 it has been for Trommer. And congratulations to Timothy Jacobs (4 wins, 5 places) and Bernard Reilly (also 4W, 5P). They each earned NHC seats for finishing closest behind Trommer in the Saturday qualifier.

Jacobs and Reilly both cemented their NHC berths by having Arcangelo in the Belmont Stakes.

The featured-tourney week began on Wednesday—a day when Manuelito was big for Grier Bibby in our $5,000 Guaranteed cash tourney.

Manuelito ($22.40, $7.80 in the final contest race, the 9th at Horseshoe Indy) was part of a 3-win, 4-place day for Bibby in a curtailed, 8-race tourney that was shortened by an air-quality cancellation at Delaware (a harbinger of things to come). The late 10-1 shot delivered a windfall of $2,706 to Bibby in a game ultimately worth a total of $6,013.

Usually, picking just 1 winner and 1 runner up is a problem—even in an 8-race tourney. Not so much, though, when the winner is a 91-1 cap horse.

Botox Katie ($185.00, $77.00) smoothed out all the wrinkles in Michael “The Coach” Goodrich’s Wednesday performance, and Goodrich won the day’s Spa & Surf Showdown Pick & Pray by 60 cents over Curtis Adams, who also used Botox Katie.

Thursday’s Spa & Surf Showdown play-in went to Peter Duca, whose 5 winners came across the tourney’s first 6 races.

His first winner was his best—Do Ya Wanna Dance ($17.60, $7.40) in the contest lid lifter, the 6th at Horseshoe Indy.

Another who said, “Yes!” to Do Ya Wanna Dance was Mark Stillmock.

Stillmock started with 3 straight winners and finished with 5 on the day, plus a place collection, to collect $3,359 in Thursday’s $6,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which wound up with $7,465 in the prize pool despite being shortened to eight races due to the Belmont cancellation on Thursday morning.

Stillmock won even more money on Sunday.

When faced with having to make a selection in Sunday’s 4th at Santa Anita, Stillmock concluded, “Better pick Sauls Call.” Stillmock (2 firsts, 3 seconds) did just that, and after Sauls Call won at odds of 42-1, he was rewarded with the $7,124 winner’s share in Sunday’s $7,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney, which closed with $10,177. Total winnings for Stillmock across his two cash-game triumphs: $10,483.

Friday was a rather chalky day, contest-wise. The day’s highest return (a capped $22.00) came via a 65-1 runner up, Vladislav, in the first contest race, the 8th at Gulfstream. The two highest priced winners paid $15.00 and $12.20. Scotty McKeever didn’t have any of those three collections, but he made up for that in other ways.

In an 11-race tourney, McKeever came up with a remarkable 9 winners and 1 runner up. Runner up Kenny McMahan, meanwhile, landed on the two double-digit winners. 

That got McKeever and McMahan the two coveted seats in Friday’s $75 NHC McQualifier at HorsePlayers.

Another high-frequency casher on Friday at HorsePlayers was Edward Diamond.

Diamond sparkled with 5 wins and 4 places in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio qualifier. His biggest return came at the outset with the aforementioned Vladislav.

Here at HorseTourneys, Kenneth Arnerich (4 firsts, 2 seconds) enjoyed an Alcoa Fantastic Finish.

He made collections in each of the final four races, including with Hulk ($12.20, $6.00) in the contest finale to earn the top prize of $8,229 in Friday’s HT Tour event, our $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which paid out a total of $18,297.

Returning to the Belmont Stakes Day tourneys (those not won by Evan Trommer anyway), Robert Pennell won our first qualifier to the new William Moore Classic, to be hosted by Delaware Park on July 15.

Pennell’s big return among 3 firsts and 1 second was Barbara ($31,40, $13.20) in the 11th at Gulfstream.

Eddie Inman (3 firsts, 2 seconds) came up with both Barbara and Belmont Stakes winner Arcangelo.

Inman earned a $1,000 seat to the June 24 Lone Star Summer Betting Challenge.

Jim Colbert (2 wins, 3 places) and Max Schnepf were the two winners of $2,500 entries in Saturday’s play-in to the $400,000 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown here on August 5-6.

Neither Colbert nor Schnepf had Arcangelo, but they each smoked out Barbara and Big Splash ($14.00, $5.60) in the 2nd at Santa Anita.

Michael Somich’s two Saturday winners were Barbara and Arcangelo.

Those two got the job done for Somich in Saturday’s Del Mar Summer Challenge qualifier. He gets a $6,000 entry for July 29-30 plus an extra $500 for expenses.

Arcangelo led the 4-win, 2-place hit parade on Saturday for Jim “Never” Settle.

Settle reeled in the winner’s share of $9,973 in Saturday’s $10,000 Big Bucks Pick & Pray, which had a total final purse of $14,248.

The lone Saturday feature at HorsePlayers was captured by Peter Yan.

Yan used Barbara, Arcangelo and two place collections to come away with a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seat in Saturday’s Live-format, $179 qualifier.

HorsePlayers is also where the two highest Sunday scores were on display.

They were provided by Ryan Mueller (4 wins, 2 places) and Dr. Ron Tang (3W, 2P). Mueller had both Sunday bombs—Sauls Call ($86.20, $21.80) in the 4th at Santa Anita and Irish Boolum ($45.60, $14.20) in race 8 at Monmouth. Tang missed out on Irish Boolum, but he hit Sauls Call.

It was a great weekend for Dylan Donnelly.

The Californian nailed Sauls Call and two other winners that paid $24.00 and $16.00, respectively, to win $11,123 in Sunday’s HT Tour event, our $20,000 Guaranteed tourney, which closed its doors with a pot of $24,718. This all came one day after Donnelly was the victor in the Belmont Stakes Challenge hosted by Santa Anita/Xpressbet.

We had another William Moore Classic qualifier on Sunday, and it turns out that the defending NHC champ will be making an appearance at Delaware Park on July 15.

March hero Paul Calia led the way with 2 wins and 2 places, including Sauls Call. Also earning a $500 Delaware spot was runner up Brendan Fay, who hit the final two winners to finish with five on the day. They both struck early with Pegs A.K. Girl ($24.00, $10.20) in the 6th at Belmont.

Paul Calia wasn’t the only past NHC champ to use Sauls Call to great effectiveness.

The 2015 winner John O’Neil had the Santa Anita longshot among his five winners en route to winning Sunday’s Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge play-in at HorsePlayers.

Sauls Call was also a springboard to success for Cheryl McIntyre.

The 2016 NHC Tour champion ensured that there will once again be a “McIntyre Table” at Laurel for The BIG One by winning Sunday’s qualifier to the “High Expectation tourney”…which will be an all-cash event this year.

Sauls Call was common to the scorecards of Craig “Home Sweet” Hom (2W, 2P) and George “Ki” Bosch (4W, 2P).

They were the two to grab $2,500 spots in Sunday’s qualifier to the $400,000 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown, the final leg of the 2023 Tourney Triple.

Similar to Brendan Fay in the Sunday Delaware qualifier, Gregory Lewis picked 5 winners (and no runners up), including the final two winners in the tourney.

Lewis’s efforts were good for $1,000 in entry fees for the June 24-25 Hawthorne OTBs Spring NHC Qualifier (which technically will take place in summer). 

Many thanks to all of you not just for playing this weekend but in bearing with us through the later-than-we’d-like announcements of contest races on Thursday and Friday. We hope that all the smoke has blown over, but that the afterglow of success for you skillful winners out there still lingers.