03/04/2016 3:40PM

Fornatale: Jenkins looks forward to BCBC


Jack Jenkins, 38, runs a pharmacy together with his wife, Teneal. “She fills the prescriptions, I fill the Coke machine,” he likes to joke. That professional balance gives him plenty of time to focus on his hobby: horse racing, and more specifically horse racing contests.

For Jenkins, the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge is his holy grail. “As far as yearly goals, the BCBC is absolutely at the top,” he said.

“I like to be able to press my opinion,” he continued, explaining his preference for live-bankroll contests. “I think it's impossible to like every race on the card equally.  Live bankroll tournaments allow you to press where you have strong opinions and sit out or make a small play in the races you don't feel as confident.”

That’s not to say Jenkins can’t compete in mythical formats. Last Sunday, he won the BCQualify.com event outright and punched his ticket for the 2016 BCBC with an impressive run – he collected in 10 of the 12 races. “I just went into the contest wanting to get off to a good start because I felt that four out of the last five races looked chalky,” he said.

His biggest winner came in the ninth leg, which was also Aqueduct’s ninth race, was Just Catty. “I thought she was 6-1 until after the race when I realized she had drifted up to almost 12-1,” he said. “I didn't have any kind of big opinion on her. She was just one of the two or three likely winners and was by far the best price of them.”

Jenkins has come a long way as a contest player in a few years. Back in 2012, Jenkins committed a blunder in Keeneland’s Grade One Gamble that haunts him still. “I was playing in my second ever live-bankroll tournament, and I made a big mistake,” he said.

The situation was compounded by an unpopular rule that was changed the next year – call it the Jack Jenkins Rule. Back then, contest rules stipulated that you had to bet at least half your bankroll in the final race. “I placed all my bets [$2,400-2,500 worth], which included a $500 win-place-show bet on the 9-5 favorite,” he explained. “I decided for some reason, which I still don't know or understand to this day, to change it to a $300 win-place-show bet.”

His key horse ran second, and two other runners he liked ran first and third. He crushed the race for $17,000 and should have been an easy winner – the second place finisher had around $8,000. Except for one thing: After changing the win-place-show bet amount he had bet less than half his bank by just around $200. But rules are rules and he was disqualified.

“It was a massive punishment for someone who had more than twice the bankroll of the second-place finisher who handled five times what anyone else in the room did,” Jenkins said. “It cost me $16,000 in cash and an NHC seat.”

Contest director Jim Goodman agreed about the severity of the punishment and subsequently, the rule was changed. Now in Keeneland contests you can essentially take a loss on your contest total on wagers you don’t make. Tommy Massis took advantage of the Jenkins Rule when he cruised to victory at the 2015 event. He probably owes Jenkins a few beers.


On Sunday, contest players will have an opportunity to join Jenkins and an all-star cast of tournament players at this year’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. The popular two-round format makes its return to BCQualify for the month of March.

Round One contests, which cost $100 per entry, will be held on the next three Sundays: March 6, March 13, and March 20. Contestants finishing in the top 10 percent of entries will advance to Round Two on Saturday, March 26. Up to eight players will win their full $10,000 BCBC seats out of that March 26 contest.

It’s a format that rewards consistency over just having a miracle day. Players who don’t typically pick horses in the upper range of the odds cap should definitely considering giving these contests a try.

Also on Sunday, DRFQualify.com will be hosting one of the final qualifiers for the Ultimate Betting Challenge. The UBC is a live-bank contest held at Gulfstream and Santa Anita on March 19-20. Sunday’s qualifier has a $250 buy-in with a great ratio: One winning package will be awarded for every 23 entries. Packages include $4,500 buy-in to the UBC plus $500 in travel.

Here are the races that will be part of both Sunday contests:

3:52     Oaklawn 4

4:00     Santa Anita 2

4:05     Gulfstream 8

4:35     Gulfstream 9

4:46     Oaklawn 6

5:00     Santa Anita 4

5:05     Gulfstream 10

5:30     Santa Anita 5

5:35     Gulfstream 11

5:42     Oaklawn 8

6:00     Santa Anita 6

6:10     Oaklawn 9