05/19/2014 10:55AM

Fornatale: The field is set for a chance to win $10,000 Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge seat


On Sunday, May 18th, at BCQualify.com, 31 final players advanced to next Sunday’s Round 2 contest, where 76 entries will compete to win six  $10,000 seats at the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. The Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC), is the world's most prestigious live bankroll tournament and will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California on October 31 and November 1, 2014.

Participation throughout the Round 1 events increased steadily, with 305 players signing on to play in Sunday’s Round 1 event. Familiar names on the leaderboard included two of the more prominent female contest players. Judy Wagner, former National Handicapping Championship winner, squeaked into the top 10%, giving her a second berth in Round 2. And Cara Yarusso, a respected tournament player and member of the NTRA Player’s Committee, also advanced.

As has been the recent trend, favorites ruled and scores were low. The longest price in the sequence came from a place horse in race ten of the twelve race contest. Jackson Sundown was second in Santa Anita’s 5th and paid $19.20. As for the winners, the highest price came in the very first tournament event, when Aviici scored in the 7th race at Churchill Downs, paying $15 to win. Only two other winners paid double digits to win, Corporate Culture in Belmont’s 8th ($13.80) and Street Maven ($12.80), who won the Jackson Sundown race.

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The overall winner was John Agnello of Royal Oak, Michigan, who ended up with $87, just 1.8 times the initial bankroll of $48. It’s pretty rare to see a 305-runner event where the top player doesn’t at least double his or her initial bankroll. The 31st finisher was the aforementioned Judy Wagner, who totaled just $50.80. But just slightly better than holding serve was enough on this day. Qualifying scores for Round 2 are expected to have to be higher, which should provide an advantage to the players with more experience.

Heading into the finals, nine players will hold two entries. They are:

David Nelson (Exton, PA)
Judy Wagner (New Orleans, LA)*
Robert Traynor (Oceanside, CA)
Ming Meyer (Parker, CO)
Brian Feldman (Mason, OH)
Mark Streiff (San Pedro, CA)**
Brent Sumja (San Anselmo, CA)**
Mike Elsass (Anna, OH)
Jonathan Kinchen (Euliss, TX)

* denotes former National Handicapping Champion

** denotes former NHC Tour Champion

For a complete set of standings, and information about each contestant's individual selections, check out: http://www.bcqualify.com/leaderboard.aspx?cid=98.