Jeff Van Drie and Drew Keaton Both Double Up on Sunday (Weekly Recap, September 20-24)

Bombs were in short supply, so (despite the vast majority of features being Pick & Prays) there weren’t many multiple winners last week. There WERE a couple of them, however.

The Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge qualifier on Sunday turned out to be something of a “key race.”

Jeff Van Drie (6 wins, 2 places) and Drew Keaton (7W, 1P) ran one-two in this one, and each picked up $3,500 entries for October 14. Van Drie’s top return came courtesy of Willful Desire ($11.20, $5.20) in the 6th at BAQ. Keaton had the only horse that paid (a little bit) more to win than Willful Desire—The Great Cesar $11.80, $3.60) in the 5th at Gulfstream.

We said that the Keeneland qualifier was a key race, and we believe that to be true…in part because Van Drie played the same picks back in Sunday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers.

Terence Channon finished second to Van Drie—good for a $5,000 partial BCBC entry.

Of course, it takes more than one “next-out winner” to properly classify an event as a key race. That’s where the Sunday Santa Anita Opening Weekend Challenge comes in.

Here it was Keeneland play-in runner up Drew Keaton whose score held up elsewhere. Keaton will now have action this Saturday and Sunday—with his $4,000 entry all taken care of.

There was also a Keeneland qualifier on Wednesday, when the featured-tourney week got underway.

Kirk Rockwell hit three winners in a row early on and finished with four on the day in total to grab the $3,500 entry for October 14. His best price was provided by Lansdowne ($15.00, $6.00) in the 8th at Parx.

One of the few cap horses during the week was Young Squire in Wednesday’s 9th at Parx, and Ronald “Winter” Cote had it.

Thanks to Young Squire ($60.40, $14.60)—who was a cap horse on the win end but not the place end—Cote finished with a final score of $100.00 on the nose. For that performance, he was rewarded with $2,557 in Friday’s $5,000 Guaranteed cash tourney.

Brian Procopio was the one who scooped the cash on Thursday.

Procopio picked 5 winners, including Queen of the Mud ($22.00, $8.20) in the 5th at BAQ to pocket the top prize of $3,639 in Thursday’s $6,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which closed with a pot of $8,087.

Friday’s cash feature was our $15,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray (an HT Tour event) and Michael “The Coach” Goodrich won it with the day’s highest score.

Goodrich (4 firsts, 2 seconds) selected four consecutive double-digit winners in mid-tourney to earn the up-top money of $10,174 in a game ultimately worth a total of $22,610.

The first Santa Anita Opening Weekend Challenge qualifier of the week went to Michael Caposio.

Caposio had 3 firsts and 1 second—topped by Kara Para ($22.20, $11.40) in the 7th at BAQ—to snag the $4,000 seat (playable at Santa Anita or Xpressbet) for this coming weekend.

There were two winners of $3,500 berths in Friday’s play-in to the Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge.

Congratulations to Steven Meier (2 wins, 1 place) and Nick “529” Fazzolari (3W, 0P). They both profited with 10-1 Kara Para at BAQ.

At HorsePlayers, Eric “Dr. Joyce” Brothers picked 4 winners and 1 runner up to prevail in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio qualifier.

His one place collection—an $11.80 payoff in the final contest race—was key, allowing him to hold off a slew of would-be leapfroggers. One of those was Joseph Zuer, who finished 2nd and received a $5,000 partial BCBC entry. 

The richest tourney of the week was Saturday’s $30,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, which was won by Ed Peters (2 firsts, 2 seconds).

Generally lousy weather in the Northeast served to suppress participation somewhat, and this game went off with a takeout of 4.8%. Peters came up with Enos Slaughter ($17.40, $7.20) in the contest finale, the 7th at Golden Gate, and that allowed Peters to take home the $13,500 grand prize.

Cheryl McIntyre (3 wins, 2 places) also had Enos Slaughter at the end.

In fact, McIntyre (the 2016 NHC Tour champ) hit the final two races, which vaulted her to the top in Saturday’s guaranteed qualifier to The BIG One.

Jacob Warden did a lot of Saturday cashing, compiling 3 firsts and 6 seconds from 12 races in the day’s Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge qualifier.

Warden’s best return en route to winning the $3,500 entry was the $21.40 to win and $10.40 to place generated by Eagles Landing in race 4 at Los Alamitos.

Evan Trommer posted a score less than half that of Warden, but he still won $7,836.

That’s because Trommer (2 wins, 3 places) had just 10 rivals in Saturday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray, which closed with a purse of $11,195. The biggest contributor to his final total of $51.30 was Demogorgon ($16.40, $4.80) in the 8th at Gulfstream.

The top two winning scores of the day—and week—were on display at HorsePlayers on Saturday.

Dane Moore’s 2 winners and 4 runners up added up to $122.90—the second best total of the day, but the highest in Saturday’s $179 Breeders’ Cup Betting qualifier. Brian Hoffacker got second…and a $5,000 partial BCBC entry.

Dennis Daugherty accounted for the best score of the day.

Daugherty counted Trusty Rusty ($60.20, $27.80) in the 7th at Los Alamitos among his 4 wins and 1 place. He ($127.90) and Michael Foster ($106.60) got NHC seats in Saturday’s $165 play-in.

Another Trusty Rusty fan was Brett Wiener (2 firsts, 1 second). 

Wiener was the winner of Saturday’s Santa Anita Opening Weekend Challenge qualifier.

On Sunday, the two highest win prices of the day were $11.80 and $11.20, so final scores were on the low side. The day’s highest score was $71.60—by Mike McIntyre—and it was comprised of seven(!) winners.

McIntyre’s winners were in Sunday’s 15-entry qualifier to The BIG One, which assured two winners. The other package winner was Justin Dew, who put together six winners. McIntyre and Dew both had the day’s two victorious 9-2 shots.

Another 7-win Sunday effort was put forward by Louis Constan in our $20,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray, an HT Tour event.

Constan added a runner up for an eighth collection, and he finished with $61.00—enough for a victory worth $9,056. Constan’s top winner paid $10.00.

The two players to score in the 60s were the two to earn spots in Sunday’s $165 NHC Pick & Pray.

Those two were Bernard Reilly (6 wins, 2 places) and Rich Pawlowski (3W, 4P). They both struck early with The Great Cesar ($11.80, $3.80) in the 5th at Gulfstream.

Jayson “Radio City” Rockett had a bit of a tough beat behind Ronald Cote in Wednesday’s cash feature, but he wasn’t disappointed at the conclusion of Sunday’s $7,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney.

Rockett posted 3 wins and 3 places to kick away from his six foes and collect $4,986.

Thanks to all for bearing with us amid Saturday schedule changes, Sunday post time shifts and the various other vagaries that confront us all from time to time. Here’s to more good fun—and perhaps some better weather—next week.