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.