06/10/2014 1:05PM

Fornatale: Familiar names transfer in Round 1 of BCQualify.com event


The eyes of the racing world may have been at Belmont on Saturday, but over at BCQualify.com, 19 horseplayers advanced to Round 2 of the two-stage June event. Those players, along with qualifiers from the upcoming Round 1 events on June 14 and June 21, will compete for as many as eight $10,000 seats, plus a $500 travel allowance, in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.

In the two-round format, contestants place mythical $2 win-place bets in 12 selected races. The top 10 percent of scores advance to Round 2, which will be held June 28 at BCQualify.com. Due to a technology hiccup Saturday, race 8 from Monmouth was omitted from the contest in accordance with contest rules. As a result, Saturday’s contest covered only 11 races.

BCBC veteran Ming Meyer, whose husband Curtis Meyer also plays in tournaments, continued her recent tear on Saturday by advancing two entries to Round 2. Ming Meyer, who finished 16th in last year’s BCBC, has already qualified for the 2014 BCBC twice. Meyer will have to transfer one of her entries to another player, as each participant is allowed only one entry in the BCBC. Collusion between players is not allowed at the BCBC and is monitored closely. While an exception to this rule was made in 2013 for Christian Hellmers and his mother, Georgia Hellmers, because of the “Horseplayers” TV show, no such exceptions are expected in 2014.

The overall contest winner was David Mullin of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., who finished with a score of $127. Mullin picked a cap horse, El Tovar, in Santa Anita’s sixth race, and also had two other winners, including Tonalist (worth $30 on a mythical $2 win-place bet) in the Belmont Stakes. He multiplied his starting bankroll of $44 by nearly three times, an impressive performance.

Another familiar name on the leaderboard was third-place finisher Kevin Cox ($117.40 final score) of Oceanside, N.Y., another “Horseplayers” cast member. Cox also scored with El Tovar. That one, along with a couple of nice place prices, gave him enough to get him through. If Cox can have another good day at the end of the month, he and his familiar cowboy hat will be on display in the contest room at Santa Anita once again.

Two-time BCBC champ Patrick McGoey of Metairie, La., finished 14th overall with $82.20. Tonalist was key to his advancement, as was $13.80 winner Patsy’s Holiday in Monmouth’s 10th race. He also had a couple of nice place horses throughout the day. McGoey won the BCBC two years in a row in 2011 and 2012, in both instances by crushing the Breeders’ Cup Classic with his whole bankroll. The first year he won, he turned a $100 BCQualify entry into $270,000.

The second-to-last qualifying spot went to Garret Skiba of Chicago, who put up $79.80, just more than 1.8 times his initial bankroll. Like Cox and McGoey, Skiba started the day off with a tough beat when Strathnaver, Graham Motion’s filly, was nosed out by Coffee Clique in the Just a Game Stakes at Belmont. Still, Strathnaver paid $15.80 to place. From there, Skiba collected another solid place mutuel on Myfundsarelo in Santa Anita’s seventh race, then heated up late by picking Sweet Emma Rose ($13.80 to win) in Monmouth’s 12th race and Tonalist in the Belmont.

For a complete list of qualifiers and participants, as well as links to who every player in the contest picked, check out the BCQualify.com leaderboard.

To sign up for next weekend’s contest, click here.

Edward Wright More than 1 year ago
Was an exception to this rule was made in 2012 for Christian Hellmers’ girlfriend, Alicia Teresi, when she finished 6th with $51,655 ($10 ,000 prize money included) or did that one slip through the cracks? Maybe she was just a well bred first time starter. Even though the BCBC "is on the lookout for suspicious betting patterns across tickets" it's impossible to prove collusion when partners in a live money event target different wagers/longshots to prevent detection. While the sponsor played her/his midrange-longshot picks in the 2012 BCBC their beard could have pounded SOLID favorites like Wise Dan, Groupie Doll, Royal Delta and Shanghai Bobby. Even you agree that multiple entries in live-bankroll events offer an unfair advantage. Most regular contest players recognize the beards in the game but very few speak up. It will be interesting to see who players winning multiple BCBC entries "transfer" their other entry/entries to.
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
If that information is even correct, this is the first time I'm hearing it. I know there was an exception made in 2013 so I wanted to be clear that Christian did nothing wrong there. Perhaps in addition to whatever is being done now to police collusion, both an honor system and a see-something, say-something policy should be instituted to crack down.
Edward Wright More than 1 year ago
I am a very responsible poster and learned she was his girlfriend from the below DRF article written by Dave Tuley 6 days after BCBC 2012: http://www.drf.com/news/breeders%E2%80%99-cup-betting-challenge-leaves-repeat-runner-still-thrilled It was also reported in Hellmers' local newspaper: http://www.ranchosantafereview.com/2012/11/14/christian-hellmers-repeats-in-national-handicapping-contest/
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
I know you're a legit poster. I did a little research and yes, in fact, he was given the exception in 2012 as well. So once again, no wrong doing by the Love Guru of handicapping.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Pete Thanks for the info on Hellmers mon.Did the other players know that they did this.If not that's like telling the bettors after the race the horse had an equipment change.There might have been someone who put up the 10,000 in cash and was chasing a ghost.How can you believe them when stuff like this comes out after the fact.Again thanks for letting us know .They could have let her play for the show with no chance of getting any prize money.JUST LIKE WHEN A HORSE RUNS FOR PURSE MONEY ONLY
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
I take your point, Mikey, and i'm not sure what the other players knew or didn't know. I do believe that the exception there was a one-time thing so you don't need to worry about it going forward. I was very pleased to learn that the "stewards" at the BCBC are on the lookout for suspicious betting patterns across tickets. That was big news to me and I think it's a good thing.