10/31/2014 9:57PM

Fornatale: BC Challenge leader ends Day 1 at $28,397

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Ming Meyer, of Parker, Colo., is the Day 1 leader at the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. Meyer, who won into the event via BCQualify.com, ended up with $28,397. Her biggest win came in the fourth race, won by Long On Value, where she won about $14,000.

Meyer finished 16th in last year’s BCBC and was tabbed by contest director Tim Schram as a contender in his “Handicapping the Handicappers” program assessing the chances of all 286 contestants in the 2014 BCBC. “She fits with these and is dangerous, in top form,” Schram wrote.

Meyer’s husband, Curtis, also is a regular contest player. Curtis is in 14th place with $13,950. Other notable names in the top 10 include David Ingordo, the bloodstock agent who picked out Zenyatta, who is in seventh with $16,650, and DRF contributor Dick Jerardi, who ended the day in 10th with $15,615.

Bill Shurman, enjoying a run at the top of the National Handicapping Championship Tour, finished the day in 18th place with $12,418. His brother, Paul, a former NHC Tour champ, is right behind him with $12,200.50. The BCBC might well end up deciding the winner of the NHC Tour since nine of the current top 10 on the Tour are playing in the BCBC.

Shorter-priced horses ruled the day Friday at the Breeders’ Cup, and that led to lower-than-expected scores. Two of the early races on the Breeders’ Cup undercard yielded decent prices, Blingismything ($22.40) in the first and Long On Value ($25) in the fourth. But players are typically more conservative early on, and the Breeders’ Cup races themselves were very chalky, with Hootenanny ($14) in the Juvenile Turf being the only thing resembling a price.

The low overall scores mean that a large number of contestants are still very much in contention. “Very few players are out of it at this stage,” said Schram. “A lot of people will be taking shots tomorrow.”

Just like in an online tournament, one big price tomorrow could tilt the whole leaderboard. That’s what DRF’s Matt Bernier is hoping will happen. He stuck to his game plan Friday, preserving his bankroll to have money to bet aggressively on his strongest opinions tomorrow. Bernier ended up around $6,400. He certainly won’t be the only one employing that strategy, which was executed perfectly in 2011 and 2012 by two-time winner Patrick McGoey.

Here is a look at the unofficial top 20

1 Ming Meyer $28,397.00 
2 Michael Reyes $24,820.00 
3 Chris Savage $24,100.80 
4 Jeff Komins $19,160.00 
5 Robert Traynor $18,976.00 
6 George Chute $17,227.40 
7 David Ingordo $16,650.00 
8 Francis Drew $16,085.00 
9 Dick Jerardi $15,615.00 
10 William Sadoo $14,920.00 
11 Greg Bone $14,430.40 
12 Linda Spears $14,120.00 
13 Curtis Meyer $13,950.60 
14 James Henry $13,500.00 
15 Ed Briggs $12,881.50 
16 Craig Kaufman $12,855.45 Q
17 Michael Pirrung $12,425.00 
18 Bill Shurman $12,418.00 Q
19 Paul Shurman $12,200.50 
20 Jose Raphael $12,109.00 

Q = double-qualified for NHC

:: Click here to purchase a copy of “The Winning Contest Player” by Peter Thomas Fornatale

The purse structure has been finalized. The top 15 finishers will win seats to the NHC in Las Vegas. The $730,000 in cash will be awarded as follows:

1st $230,000
2nd $130,000
3rd $80,000
4th $60,000
5th $45,000
6th $35,000
7th $30,000
8th $25,000
9th $20,000
10th $15,000
11th $14,000
12th $13,000
13th $12,000
14th $11,000
15th $10,000