04/15/2016 1:36PM

Fornatale: Monmouth qualifier odds in player's favor


On Sunday, DRFQualify.com is offering another opportunity to win into the Monmouth Pick Your Prize contest. Buy-in is $210 and up to two $2,000 seats, plus $500 in travel, will be offered. The contest has a very favorable ratio for players with one prize package awarded for every 14 entries.

The Pick Your Prize contest, the biggest in Monmouth Park history, is a live-bank event taking place on June 4, the weekend before the Belmont Stakes. A prize pool of $150,000 is estimated, inlcuding Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge seats, National Handicapping Championship seats, and approximately $50,000 in cash.

Here are the races that will make up Sunday's online qualifier:

3:32    Aqueduct 5

3:51    Keeneland 6

4:05    Aqueduct 6

4:24    Keeneland 7

4:38    Aqueduct 7

4:46    Gulfstream 8

4:57    Keeneland 8

5:06    Tampa Bay 9

5:11    Aqueduct 8

5:19    Gulfstream 9

5:30    Keeneland 9

5:39    Tampa Bay 10

'The Hammer' plays a home game

Also on Sunday, Tommy "Hammer" Massis is going for a three-peat. He'll be playing in the Grade One Gamble at Keeneland, an important annual early-season stop on the National Handicapping Championship Tour. This is the eighth annual edition of this contest, which has proven to be popular with players who flock to Keeneland from around the country to attend.

In 2015, Massis was the king of contests at Keeneland. He won the Grade One Gamble in April and backed up that performance by scoring once again on one of the contest world's biggest stages -- the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge.

Massis's success at Keeneland is no mere accident. He is a Keeneland handicapper-for-course because the rules and format suit him. For one thing, as a trip handicapper who watches a lot of replays, he's at a disadvantage in multi-track tournaments where he isn't able to do all the work he needs to do to be prepared. The Keeneland tournament consists of just nine races so he can do the 100 percent job.

If one were asked to assemble the perfect live-bankroll player in a laboratory, you might wind up with Tommy Massis. He is the perfect combination of tight and aggressive for these type of tests: He's willing to pass/play conservatively in races where his opinion isn't strong, and he's happy to go all-in when the time is right.

The secret of so-called "real-money" contests is to treat the real money like fake money. One of the best examples ever of this was Massis in the Breeders' Cup contest last year. He was sitting on $12,000, a significant amount of money to him in real life. He placed a $3,000 exacta box with Golden Horn and Found in the BC Turf. When he got back to his seat in Keeneland's Green Room, he started thinking about what his bankroll would be if he hit and decided that it still might not be enough for him to win. He went back and upped the bet to a $4,000 box. “Back home I only have about $4,000 to my name,” Massis said. Once Found and Golden Horn finished one-two, he had won the day and netted more than $345,000.

When Massis won at Keeneland last April, it was also a case of crushing one race for the win. In a funny twist, his key horse from the third race last April 12, 36-1 longshot Wilhelmina, is running again in Sunday's opener. All eyes in Keeneland's Green Room are sure to be on Massis in the minutes before the first race on Sunday.

Contest seminar

Invitees of Keeneland Select will have an opportunity on Sunday to see contest participants Jonathon Kinchen and Nick Tammaro give a seminar in the Sales Pavillion at 11am ET. Those who aren't invited will still have a chance to hear their thoughts on the card via Periscope. You can access the live feed from the @loomsboldly Twitter handle.