04/04/2016 11:53AM

Fornatale: Camoro would like to thank Oscar Nominated


In an action-packed sequence on Saturday, three players qualified for the National Handicapping Championship on NHCQualify.com. Dan Camoro, a former winner of the Public Handicapper Challenge, was first, followed by Anthony Laurino and John Nichols. All three will be profiled on DRF.com later this week.

Camoro ($117.60) backed five winners overall, starting out with a couple of even-money shots, Photo Call and Hobbits Hero, in the fourth and fifth events. But he'll be heading to the NHC for the sixth time because the upset winner of the big race at Turfway Park.

"I went into the Spiral planing to play Oscar Nominated," explained the 55-year old chief operating officer at an accounting firm. "I really like Ken and Sarah Ramsey and root for them all I can.  Oscar had never run a bad race in his life and the three-wide position was mostly golden for stalkers leading into the race so I thought he might get a good trip. The fact that his off odds were more than double his morning line made that race the key to the whole event."

Laurino ($114.60), a 40-year old who works in retail banking, had four winners and two place collections. Of course, Oscar Nominated was also the key for him. "He improved every race as a 2-year-old and I saw that same pattern developing here, only with larger improvement," he said. "I thought he could run a 90 Beyer, which would be right there for the win."

Nichols ($113,20), also 40, was fourth on the NHC Tour last year. He hit a hot stretch in the middle of the contest and that proved to be enough. Nichols, a clocker at Churchill Downs, had his own personal rolling pick three with Celestine, Oscar Nominated, and Clude. In the next race, he received critical place points from Wake Forest, and was just able to hang on while whiffing in the last two races, including the Florida Derby.

"I felt a little lucky," said Nichols, who played Fellowship. "I thought one of the two behind me would have had Nyquist but one was on the Mohaymen bandwagon and the other played Takeittotheedge."

Several players just missed the cut line for qualification but earned valuable NHC Tour points. Kevin Costello was fourth, and already double-qualified Chris Skotz was sixth. 

The NHC Tour is an yearlong, interconnected contest where players receive points for finishing in the top 10 percent of finishers in NHC qualifying events. For the full Tour leaderboard, check out http://www.ntra.com/nhc/leaders/. If you're interested in the full results from Saturday's NHCQ event, go to http://www.nhcqualify.com/leaderboard.aspx.

Also this weekend, two players won their way into the Santa Anita Preakness Challenge via DRFQualify.com: Jim Patterson and Lawrence Konishi. The Santa Anita Preakness Challenge is a live-bankroll contest with a $4,500 entry fee that takes place May 21-22 at the Arcadia, Ca., track. Check back on DRFQ for more opportunities to win in to live-bankroll events.

Over on BCQualify.com, 72 players won entries into the April 10 one-day qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge. Players put up $21 to win $190 entries by finishing in the top 10 percent of the field. Keep an eye on BCQ for the announcement of more low buy-in feeders in the near future.

Kaplan takes Orleans event

The 2016 Horse Player World Series took place at the Orleans in Las Vegas this weekend. The overall winner of the three-day, mythical money contest was Dan Kaplan, who won $319,680. John Connelly finished second and third, getting $119,880 and $55,944 respectively. Rounding out the top five at the HPWS were Gary King ($39,960) and John Melting ($23,976). 

The finish was not without controversy. Connelly was in first and third going to the last race and thought he had put the winner of the last race on the better of his entries. But as it turned out he made a mistake and put the winner on his lesser card, allowing Kaplan, who also backed the winner, to get the victory. The mistake cost Connelly approximately $200,000.

Kite wins at Aqueduct

Finally this weekend, 61-year old professional horseplayer Tony Kite won the Aqueduct Spring Challenge and got a Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge seat in the process. Kite already has one entry to the NHC via the First Chance contest at Gulfstream back in January and figures he'll be able to get another somewhere along the way this year. 

"The BCBC is a great tournament because you get to test yourself against the best players on the biggest stage," he said.

Two players won NHC seats out of the Aqueduct contest, Bill Rendino and Christian Orscher. NYRA is expected to announce the rest of their Spring/Summer contest schedule soon.