03/02/2015 11:50AM

Fornatale: Five had faith in Jenna's Faith


Five players won their way into the National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas on Saturday in a contest on NHCQualify.com that attracted 314 entries overall. The contest followed the typical 12-race, mythical $2 win-place format.

All five players who qualified used Jenna’s Faith in the contest. While it’s not uncommon to see most of the qualifiers in a given contest share the same cap horse across their tickets, it is unusual to see all five qualifiers back the same 9-1 shot.

Jenna’s Faith, a 3-year old bay filly by Idiot Proof, was a first-time starter going out in a Cal-bred maiden special weight six-furlong race for Herbert Bacorn. She had several strong workouts on her tab and is now at least the fourth debut winner in Idiot Proof’s first crop.

The overall winner was John Giolito, who backed an amazing seven of the first nine winners in the contest. His biggest price after Jenna’s Faith was Gulfstream’s eighth race winner, Mr. William, who paid $19.20 to win. He also had $18.60 winner Denali South Peak in Oaklawn’s sixth.

Tim Holland ran second. He started and ended the contest slowly, blanking in the first two and last two contest events, but in-between he was gangbusters. He picked five winners out of six, and then topped up with a couple of place horses. His three largest prices were the exact same as Giolito’s: Jenna’s Faith, Mr. William, and Denali South Park.

Marty Quinn jumped out to a share of the lead with 3-1 Bobby Z Man in Santa Anita’s first, missed a couple of races, and went on a tear similar to the top two. He had four of five at one point, including Jenna’s Faith and Denali South Park.

Mark Stanton was hot early and late: He played Bobby Z Man and Mr. William to be in a great position after three races, but needed three odds-on shots in the last four contest events to get himself into qualifying position. A.P.’s Dynasty ($3.80) in Oaklawn’s seventh, The Big Beast in Oaklawn’s 11th, and Faith Proof in Santa Anita’s sixth eventually delivered him his Vegas seat.

William Drew spread his winners all around the 12-race sequence, cashing in nine separate contest events total. In the end, he needed the place points of Crazy About Him in the anchor leg to qualify by a mere 80 cents over an unlucky Mike Fleming.

Other notable results include a seventh by John Nichols, sixth on the Tour leaderboard going into the weekend. Nichols was one of several contestants, including Tour leader Jonathon Kinchen, playing in the NHCQualify event from Florida, a day after the Raise Your Game contest was washed away.

One player who elected to stay home rather than travel to Florida was Roger Cettina, second on the Tour as of last week. Cettina finished 18th and 31st with his two entries on Sunday and will likely re-take the Tour lead from Kinchen. Kinchen had a rare off day, finishing 234th with $21.60.



Rank Name/City, State or Province Total
1 John Giolito, Arlington, Mass. $150.00
2 Tim Holland, Midway, Ky. $137.00
3 Marty Quinn, Plumas Lake, Calif. $118.20
4 Mark Stanton, Medford, N.J. $111.80
5 William Dugald, Manitoba $104.00

All five win seats to the National Handicapping Championship plus a $500 travel allowance.


Rank Name/City, State or Province Total
1 Pierre Poulin, Boston, Mass. $116.80
2 William Moore, Salem, N.H. $102.00
3 Michael Marlaire, Boulder Creek, Calif. $101.20
4 Jeff Winchester, Verdugo City, Calif. $94.80

All four win $3,500 buy-ins plus a $500 travel allowance to the Santa Anita Betting Challenge on March 14-15.

:: Click here to purchase a copy of “The Winning Contest Player” by Peter Thomas Fornatale