09/29/2014 1:18PM

Fornatale: Eight qualify for BC Betting Challenge


Eight players won full $10,000 berths into the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge by finishing at the top of Saturday’s BCQualify.com second-round contest. The qualifiers were led by James Simpson of Chicago, Ill., who finished with a total of $112.80, a solid total for a sequence marked by few longshots.

Simpson and three of the other qualifiers (Dennis Wellar of Beaumont, Ala., $87.10, Joey Normand of Brusly, La., $83.90, and Cheryl McIntyre of Massillon, Ohio, $79.10) built their final scores mostly on the back of Papa’s Paisley in Santa Anita’s second race. The Jack Carava-trained bay gelding was 19-1 and paid $55.40 for the combined win and place.

Russell Priola of South Wales, N.Y., qualified with $83.20. Priola went cold late in the contest, missing with his last five bullets but his start was so strong it didn’t matter. He opened the contest by hitting Great Attack ($15.20) in Belmont’s sixth race, and had his own personal rolling Pick 3 in the middle of the card with Private Zone ($13.80) in the Vosburgh, Punctuate ($20) in Santa Anita’s 4th, and Main Sequence ($5.90) in the Turf Classic.

Jacob Phillips of Conroe, Tex., also had Great Attack and Punctuate. He added Grand Rapport in Belmont’s 11th race for a total of $79.60. Angelo Partipelo of Utica, N.Y., finished just 10 cents behind Phillips with $79.50. He must have briefly felt unlucky when Dad’s Caps failed to get by Private Zone in the Vosburgh, but the $17.60 he paid to place ended up being enough for him, combined with Punctuate and Emollient ($8.40) in the Rodeo Drive.

Richard Cristiano of Rye, N.Y. is a familiar name to many contest players – he is an executive at Sovereign Stables, co-sponsor of the National Handicapping Championship. Cristiano scored $79.20 and will be part of the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge for the first time at Santa Anita.

There is still one final chance to qualify for the BCBC online via BCQualify.com. The final qualifier takes place on Saturday, Oct. 4, and, while the format will consist of the familiar mandatory 12 races with $2 win-place bets, the structure is a little different. The entries cost $400 with a maximum of 160 entries. Assuming full participation, five more spots in the BCBC (plus travel allowances) will be up for grabs. You can sign up now at https://www.bcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx

Five qualify for NHC

At NHCQualify.com on Saturday, five players won seats to the National Handicapping Championship. Tim Moline of LaVista, Neb., led the way with $116.50 with a card that included Papa’s Paisley, Dad’s Caps, and Punctuate. He sealed the deal late on with place points on Make a Decision and the free square with Shared Belief ($2.40) in the Awesome Again.

Joining Moline in Vegas will be Damiano Sasso ($116.20) of Rutherford, N.J., Mike Stich ($116.10) of Palantine, Ill., Michael Walsh ($114) of Wantagh, N.Y., and Dana Reiss ($111.70) of Aventura, Fla.

There are still plenty of chances to qualify for the National Handicapping Championship, where at least $2 million in prize money will be available in the prize pool. The next contest on NHCQualify.com is Sunday, Oct. 5. For a full list of scheduled events on NHCQualify.com, check out: http://www.nhcqualify.com/schedule.aspx.