05/05/2014 10:56AM

17 Players qualify for Round 2 of BCQualify's May contest


Sunday may have been a day where many avid racing fans took a deep breath and relaxed after the excitement of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, but 170 intrepid horseplayers signed up for the first round of May’s BCQualify.com contest. The top 10% of finishers advanced to Round 2, which we be held online at BCQualify.com on Sunday May, 25. There will be two more Round 1 contests held over the next two Sundays, where you have a chance to join those seventeen players in the Finals. The top 10% of finishers in Round 2 receive entry into the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. For more about the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, and a reminder on how the two-day qualifying format works, check out http://www.drf.com/blogs/breeders-cup-betting-challenge-best-way-enjoy-breeders-cup.

Plenty of favorites landed in Sunday’s contest, meaning scores were low overall. It took just over 1.5 times the starting bankroll of $48 to qualify, and the winning score was just 2.4 times the initial betting bank – a solid result to be sure but a lower score than is typical.

Very often in a 12-race, all-mandatory format, the key to winning (or advancing) is coming up with the longest-priced winner in the sequence. That was certainly the case on Sunday as ten of the top seventeen finishers tabbed Kay’s Grace in Woodbine’s sixth race. On paper, the race didn’t necessarily project to yield a big longshot but Kay’s Grace, a gray 5-year-old mare trained by Lisa Burry and ridden by Matt Moore, won and paid nearly 40-1. For contest prices, her price to win was capped at 20/1, meaning she was worth $63.10 (win and place combined) to her backers in the contest. Kay’s Grace did have one angle contest players sometimes gravitate towards – when she was last on-form back in 2012, she was favored six times in a row, five of them at this very level. That information alone might be enough to select a cap horse in a contest.

The second longest price to come along in the sequence was also well-represented at the top of the leaderboard, with five qualifying contestants selecting Parise in Woodbine eighth race. Parise, a 4-year-old gelding by Tiznow, apparently prefers Canada to the United States. He wintered in Florida, running poorly at Gulfstream back in February. He returned to his Woodbine wire-to-wire winning ways on Sunday at a shade over 12/1.

Only three of the seventeen players who qualified did not have one of those two. Mike Elsass, who finished thirteenth overall with $83.60, tabbed an impressive seven of the twelve winners. The longest price he came up with was only 7/2, showing there are a lot of ways to qualify when you only have to finish in the top 10%. In a contest with a higher bar, picking so many favorites isn’t the best strategy, but it worked out well for Elsass on Sunday.

Robert Traynor also took a “just-pick-winners” approach, picking six races correctly. Going into the last contest race, the 6th at Santa Anita, he was on the outside looking in. He picked the winner, Bobby Z Man, who paid $12.20 on the win end and vaulted him into the finals. Brian Graziano was in the same situation going into the last race and actually got more points than Traynor did. He was on the second place finisher, Redistribute, who was over 33/1 on the board and paid $26.80 to place (capped at $22 for the contest).

Here is a complete list of the qualifying players, along with hometowns, and information about the horse who returned them the most contest points:

  1. Dan Kovalesky (Shorewood, MN) $115.90 - Kay's Grace, Woodbine R6, $63.10

  2. Ming Meyer (Parker, CO) $110.40 - Kay's Grace, Woodbine R6, $63.10

  3. Lee Ann Morretino (Alisa Viejo, CA) $107.50 - Kay's Grace, Woodbine R6, $63.10

  4. Sergio Ramirez (Reseda, CA) $107.20 - Parise, Woodbine R8, $38.20

  5. Curtis Meyer (Parker, CO) $103.50 - Kay's Grace, Woodbine R6, $63.10

  6. Steven Wecker (New York, NY) $101.80 - Kay's Grace, Woodbine R6, $63.10

  7. Charles Righetti (South Pasadena, CA) $95.90 - Kay's Grace, Woodbine R6, $63.10

  8. Tanya Taylor (Little Rock, AR) $90.20 - Parise, Woodbine R8, $38.20

  9. Andre Hahn (Jersey City, NJ) $107.20 - Parise, Woodbine R8, $38.20

10. Christopher Larmey (Kennewick, WA) - $85.80 Kay's Grace, Woodbine R6, $63.10

11. Michael Eves (Toronto, ON) $83.60 - Kay's Grace, Woodbine R6, $63.10

12. Grier Bibby (Delray Beach, FL) $83.50 - Parise, Woodbine R8, $38.20

13. Mike Elsass (Anna. OH) $83.30 - Xuang Feng, Santa Anita R3, $15.40

14. Robert Traynor (Oceanside, CA) $83.20 - Bobby Z Man, Santa Anita R6, $18.60

15. Richard Guggenheim (Sarasota, FL) $78.40 - Parise, Woodbine R8, $38.20

16. Brian Graziano (West Hampton, NJ) $78.20 - Redistribute, Santa Anita R6, $22.00

17. Michael Caposio (Temecula, CA) $73.10 - Kay's Grace, Woodbine R6, $63.10