09/28/2015 11:56AM

Fornatale: Brantley pairs up tournament seats


Amy Brantley was at it again on Saturday afternoon. Earlier this year, she won her way into the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge on BCQualify.com. This time, she won her National Handicapping Championship seat on NHCQualify.com. Brantley, who travels extensively for her work as a chief compliance officer for a medical company, picked five double-digit winners in the 12-race sequence and won by a large margin. Her longest winner was Bluegrass Bronco ($31.60) in Santa Anita’s sixth.

Ed Reidy ran second on NHCQualify.com, but his day didn’t start as planned. He was blanked in the first four contest events before unleashing a tear that started with Lambo Luxx ($24.60) in Santa Anita’s fourth. Then he really got hot. He picked four of the last five winners on the contest card and would have had all five, except it didn’t make any strategic sense for him to play Songbird ($2.40) in the Chandelier at Santa Anita.

Basil DeVito, WWE executive and handicapping contest devotee, got his second NHC seat for 2015 by finishing third. DeVito, known for being hesitant to play favorites in the past, proved they can be valuable this time around. He used both Beholder ($2.40) in the Zenyatta and Songbird. Had he turned up his nose at those $8.40 worth of points, and fourth-place finisher Brendan Fay used both of those favorites, DeVito would have lost out. As it is, he’ll be in Vegas with two tickets come January.

For a complete look at the leaderboard, check out http://www.nhcqualify.com/leaderboard.aspx.

Eight more qualify for BCBC

Time is running short for players to qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge at Keeneland – the world’s most prestigious live-bankroll handicapping contest. On Saturday, eight players won their way in on BCQualify.com, led by Tim Gasaway. Gasaway will be joined at Keeneland by Conrad Hoetger, John and Caitlyn Downie (members of the same household who both qualified), Craig Kaufman, Joseph Cirone, Darren Yarwood, and William Holmes. For the final leaderboard, go to http://www.bcqualify.com/leaderboard.aspx.

This was the second round of BCQ’s two-stage format. Round One required players to finish in the top 10 percent to advance to Saturday’s contest, where eight of the 65 players received their $10,000 BCBC seats, plus a $500 travel allowance.

Gasaway was pretty much assured of qualifying early in the day. He backed four of the first six winners all at decent prices: Singing Kitty ($21.40 to win) in the Unzip Me at Santa Anita, Saham ($12.80) in the Jefferson Turf Cup at Churchill, Lambo Luxx, and Geothermal ($26.60) in the Lukas Classic at Churchill. From there he coasted, managing a couple of place collections along the way.

Hoetger also had Singing Kitty and Geothermal but needed Leanne and Susan ($27.60) to get over the top.

Kaufman had five winners overall, highlighted by Singing Kitty and Bluegrass Bronco.

Cirone’s entry was similar to DeVito’s over on NHCQ: He used both Beholder and Songbird, having gotten himself into contention early on. In Cirone’s case he backed three winners in a row with Saham, Isotherm, and Lambo Luxx

Yarwood got to his goal with just three winners: Saham, Geothermal and Bluegrass Bronco.

Holmes had Geothermal and Bluegrass Bronco but also chipped away, getting place collections in three races, including the anchor leg, to secure qualification.

The Downies played a bunch of different horses through the sequence with John connecting early on Singing Kitty, and Isotherm ($21.20) in the Pilgrim at Belmont. Each ticket played Geotherm and Caitlyn’s entry added Bluegrass Bronco ($31.20) in Santa Anita’s sixth.

It’s important to note that while players are each allowed only one entry in the BCBC, family members and partners are allowed to compete. Contest director Tim Schram keeps a watchful eye for collusive play, such as an attempt to consolidate two tickets into one, which is not allowed. Offending parties will be disqualified.

If you want to play in the BCBC there are still several ways to do so. You can simply buy in for $10,000 (remember $7,500 of that is your live bankroll for the two days of the Breeders’ Cup). You can try to win your way in at the Santa Anita Autumn Championship, held Oct. 17-18. You can also still qualify online: BCQualify is holding one-day contests on Oct. 3 and Oct. 10

Speaking of next month’s Santa Anita contest, two players earned seats for it via DRFQualify.com this weekend. On Saturday, Michael Caposio topped a field of 70 with a score of $151.20. On Sunday, 2013 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge champion Peter Behr put up a whopping $202.20, by far best in a field of 50.