11/06/2014 3:05PM

Fornatale: BCBC players provide a big boost to handle

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A few additional notes from the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge:

As a follow-up to a piece a few weeks back about how much contest players bet, here are some handle numbers from the BCBC that illustrate why racetracks are so excited about hosting live-bankroll betting contests.

Within the contest itself, the 252 players at Santa Anita wagered $3.425 million in the BCBC. That is an average per player of almost $13,600 for the weekend. A total of $20.1 million was wagered ontrack during the weekend of the Breeders’ Cup. That means that 17 percent of all ontrack handle was wagered through the BCBC – a fairly staggering number, especially when you consider that participants bet outside of the contest as well.

According to BCBC contest director Tim Schram, in a typical year, players wager another 25 percent on top of what they bet in the contest.

The 19 players at Keeneland wagered $281,000 in the BCBC contest. That represents an average per player of almost $14,800 for the weekend – again, that’s within the BCBC contest only, and presumably around 25 percent more than that was wagered by participants.

The 16 players at Aqueduct wagered $223,000 in the BCBC contest for the weekend. That’s an average per player of almost $13,950.
In aggregate, that means that $3,929,000 was wagered by BCBC participants in the contest, for an average per player of almost $13,700.

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Here’s a tough-beat story for the ages. Dennis Decauwer, whose many contest achievements include consecutive second-place finishes in the National Handicapping Championship, nearly added a BCBC win to his already-impressive résumé.

Decauwer went all in on the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He bet $1,200 to win on Toast of New York, had a $150 exacta to California Chrome, and a $100 trifecta of Toast of New York–California Chrome–Shared Belief. Had Bayern been disqualified, as a vast majority of contest players thought he should have been, Decauwer would have received at least $22,800 on the win end, around $25,350 on the exacta, and likely another $100,000 on the trifecta. He would have been looking at a total haul of around $150,000 on the race and likely would have netted the $230,000 cash prize as well. It’s safe to say that the Santa Anita stewards will not be on Decauwer’s holiday card list.

Decauwer was feeling a bit better several days after the Breeders’ Cup. “I am a guy that can turn the page pretty quickly,” he said. “But even I had a sleepless night over that one.”

Next time you think you have a bad beat, think about Dennis Decauwer.

Kinchen makes lemonade

On a more positive note, Jonathon Kinchen proved that you don’t have to do well in the contest itself to have an amazing time at the BCBC. Kinchen brought a posse of friends with him, bachelor-party style.

His plan all along was to go all in on Bobby’s Kitten in the BC Sprint. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it that far – he busted out in the contest early on Day 2. But he decided to dig back into his pocket to hammer Bobby’s Kitten outside of the contest. Kinchen walked away from the windows after the race with more than $20,000 in profit. And to show you what kind of guy he is, he decided on the spot to round up his friends and fly them all to Las Vegas for the rest of the weekend.

Five NHC spots up for grabs

Now that the BCBC is over, it’s time for contest players to turn their attention to qualifying for the NHC. The next opportunity to do so occurs online at www.NHCQualify.com on Saturday.

It’s a one-day contest following the typical 12-race, all-mandatory, $2 win-place format. Entries cost $165 per player, and a maximum of five NHC spots will be awarded. Here are the races that are part of the contest (all times are Eastern):

3:06 Churchill 6

3:14 Aqueduct 7

3:43 Aqueduct 8

3:58 Gulfstream 8

4:06 Churchill 8

4:27 Gulfstream 9

4:30 Del Mar 4

4:37 Churchill 9

5:00 Del Mar 5

5:05 Gulfstream 10

5:30 Del Mar 6

6:00 Del Mar 7