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Fornatale: Moomey wins NHC spot in Belmont challenge
Eric Moomey won last weekend’s Belmont Park Challenge, beating 276 other entrants and earning a berth in the National Handicapping Championship, to be held January 2015 in Las Vegas.
Moomey, a 41-year-old lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force, took home $42,500 for his efforts. A renowned multi-tasker, he also won $2,000 in an online contest he was playing simultaneously.
For the Belmont contest, as in all of the current NYRA events, each player must make 10 selections a day in the two-day tournament – nine $20 plays and a single $40 play to either win, place, or show on races from three selected tracks. Half the plays must be made at Belmont.
Moomey, a player known for his consistency, lived up to that reputation this weekend. He finished Day 1 in seventh place with $640, and added $586 on Day 2 for a winning score of $1,226. That winning number, 2.8 times the initial bankroll of $440, is remarkably similar from tournament to tournament in this format.
Also advancing to the NHC is Nicole Cox of Oceanside, N.Y. Cox’s husband, Kevin, won this tournament last year and was a familiar face on the contest scene in 2013. He gained fame as “the Brooklyn Cowboy” in the television show “Horseplayers,” and made a big run at the NHC Tour title, ending up third overall. Kevin Cox finished fourth this weekend, just $18 away from third, narrowly missing a second NHC seat for the Cox household.
The third seat went to Day 1 leader Noro Healy of Elizabeth, N.J. Healy, a popular figure who generally limits his play to the New York contests, earned his first trip to the NHC after many years of trying. Healy finished Day 1 with $1,114 and a $266 lead. He was ice cold on Sunday, blanking on all 10 bets, but still managed to grimly hold on for the trip to Vegas despite several late challenges.
The event also will have major NHC Tour implications. Due to the complexity of the scoring system, it will be tricky to figure out exactly who will end up where until the new leaderboard is posted later this week, but it seems likely that Brett Wiener, currently in second place, will move very close to current leader Ken Seeman.
The top five on the leaderboard as of July 31 all receive $10,000. Jacqueline Sukanick seems poised to grab one of those slots after adding a live event score to her impressive online résumé. Paul Shurman, whose brother Bill currently sits in fifth, is in the opposite situation. He may also be able to make a late run at the first-half money if he can get a strong online score between now and July 31.
Here is a look at the overall top twenty finishers:
Eric Moomey $1,226
Nicole Cox $1,168
Noro Healy $1,114
Kevin Cox $1,096
Robert Felty $1,094
George Chute $1,035
Joe Aurello $1,016
Paul Calatagirone $952
Ronald Williams $890
Mark Danbom $868
Jacqueline Sukanick $862
Ron Richardson $859
Gina Cozza $850
Scott Eyraud $848
John Ferraro $848
Paul Shurman $845
Russell Weber $840
Brett Wiener $836
Tim Schram $814
Mitch Schuman $814
27 move on in BCQualify.com
In other action this weekend, 27 more players qualified out of the Round 1 contest on BCQualify.com. They will join the rest of the field next weekend to compete for six $10,000 seats to the Breeders Cup Betting Challenge, plus a $500 travel voucher. Jamaal Barnett, of Ajax, Ontario, won with a score of $113.60 in the 12-race, all-mandatory, win-place contest. The last qualifier was Bruce Dagostini of Gilbert, Az., who finished with $85.
Other notable names to advance to round two include last year’s BCBC winner Peter Behr, contest maven Christopher Larmey, and David Snyder of Mission Viejo, Calif., who earned two entries into the finals. For a link to the full leaderboard, click here.
The round 2 event will be held on Saturday, June 28, at BCQualify.com. If you want to win a seat to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, the one-day format returns next month with events on Saturday, July 5 and Sunday, July 20.
I never said there was anything wrong with what Cox does or any other TEAM does, but anyone including Cox that says he is not controlling the picks and ALL 4 entries worked as a team is just not telling the truth. It is allowed at this time so many people do it to improve their mathematical chances of winning. If it didnt then people wouldnt do it. There is a reason Cox and others do it . If 200 people play and you have 1 entry you are 200-1 if Cox has4 entries then he is 50-1 . its simple numbers . There is a reason guys and Teams are splitting winnings walking out the door...All I am saying is just say it YES I have 4 entries. Me and my wife. More power to you . But dont say hey my wife qualified . Then if thats true send her by herself with no phones or emails and let her play herself. We all know who is controlling and making the picks. And by that , since I am not married can I just put 3 more entries in fake names and sit my 16yr old next to me? Lets face it everyone is looking for an edge, from partnering up to splitting with guys if you win its not something new. I have nothing against what Cox did and nothing against him sharing time with his wife good for them . The tourney structure and controlling entries is what needs to be looked at not just Cox. I bet half the people in that contest had side deals with 23 4 different people. When I play I do the same thing. Just like on Horseplayers when the guys were making deals,it happens in every tourney.
to the guy who believes it is a stabfest and having a dozen entries will be the key to sucess, why not bring all YOUR friends and take the money. Twelve entries at Saratoga is only $12,000. Come find out how easy the stabfest will be. guys like you are what poker players call "dead money".
Your blog is totally refreshing and a much needed addition to the tournament scene. Anyone serious needs to buy your book ASAP &'read several times for the many nuances. Keep up the effort and multiple posts!
why don't you do an article on best places to qualify for nhc. I qualified at Suffolk Downs Last year entry fee was free had about 60 drf members and Suffolk gave away three seats ank 5k in prize money all funded through them this year due to there financial issues they are not doing a contest the thing is any body could team up to enter a much better deal than Belmont and the online contests. I turned my free entry into 38th place last year but, I saw how a partner could help because if I knew someone I could have gone partners and maybe have picked the right longshot in the last mandatory on Saturday and have made the top ten that I see is a big benefit of partners burt Shapiro
Moderating all comments is, I don't know, commu nism?
Why does DRF moderate some of my comments?
Thought this tourney was well done although if I had to nit pick I just wish Woodbine was the 3rd track over Churchill....the win pool at CD is so small this time of year those odds were really changing...... as far as multiple entries....Cmon they paid the fee which increases the pot, plus Kevins wife is right there with him helping and rooting their picks.... besides multiples might help you get on the board but you still gotta pick the the right races to get involved in, then the right horses and then the right ticket or you end up with a bunch of middling scores
Can you give an example of team tactics in a live bankroll tourney and how would that differ than teaming up with other people and splitting entries in a fixed bankroll tourney?
I feel like as long as the entry fee is paid, it doesn't matter. Everyone has the same opportunity to bring a spouse/partner/etc. and do the same exact same thing should they so choose. One key point often lost with this particular complaint is that the player has a better chance to win and it's not fair. Yes, it improves their odds. However, the increased amount paid by these parties also means they have a different risk/reward scope with increased pressure to cash to make sense of their collective entry fee cost (in this case, $400 per). Of course it increases odds of qualifying/cashing, but the other side of it is just as important to note. Further, the Cox's, Wagner's, Goodall's, and countless other teams/tandems on Tour help fuel purse money and seem to have a great experience spending time together with people they love, doing something they love.
Dear Mr. Fornatale: I am a relative newcomer to the NHC, and I would like to know how the top players, in this Belmont tournament, actually made their picks. I went to the NYRA website but they only had a summary of the top three players. I routinely review the leaderboards on both NHCqualify, and BCqualify, to try to learn how the leaders play the game. In this regard, having never participated in a live tornament, I am interested in how the top players arrived at their respective totals. Thank you for your response.
Does anyone really believe Kevin Cox's wife won that seat, lets call it what it is ,he used his wife's name to have more entries then allowed in the tourney so he had a better chance to win mathematically. Lets just tell the truth.