05/13/2016 12:27PM

Fornatale: Myeress also rides Nyquist to Derby victory


Ron Myeress, a 59-year old accountant from Canfield, Ohio, has been going to the races with his dad since he was a kid. But even though Canfield is less than 400 miles from Churchill Downs the two had never been to the Kentucky Derby together. That changed last weekend at the Kentucky Derby Betting Challenge, where Myeress went on to win $142,752, plus a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge.

The win meant all the more to Myeress for having his 86-year-old dad at his side. “It was like a bucket list thing for him,” he said. “Originally he didn’t want to go because he was afraid it was going to be too long of a day, but I talked him into it. As much as we’ve played horses, we’ve never been there for the Derby, and he absolutely loved it.”

Myeress has become a lot more involved in tournaments over the last few years, since knee replacement surgery has kept him from playing baseball on the weekends. “I would play every Saturday and Sunday from April through November so I could never get involved,” he said. “Now I pick my spots and try to go for the contests that have entries into the Breeders’ Cup contest,” he said, in reference to the world’s premier live-bankroll contest, the BCBC.

He’s played in the BCBC the last two years without success, but looks forward to getting back this year. “The Kentucky Derby is great, but it’s mostly about the one race. With the Breeders Cup, it’s two days of betting on the best horses you’ve been betting on all year against all the top handicappers,” he explained.

Myeress’s big hit on Friday came in the Eight Belles Stakes. He played a $400 trifecta with Carina Mia on top, six of the seven available fillies in second and keying Nickname in the third slot. “That jumped me up to about $31,000,” he said. “Normally I’ll keep firing, but because I was in first with a decent lead I decided to let the field come catch me and just bet my minimums.”

He hit three of his five bets on Friday leaving him in great position heading into Saturday, when he once again arrived in the contest room with his dad. “I saw the check wrapped up in paper over in the corner," Myeress said, "and I told my dad, ‘Hey wouldn’t it be something if my name was on that at the end of the day?’ ”

Myeress stayed at or near the top of the leaderboard most of Saturday, until the race before the Derby, where he dropped down to fifth. He considered several options, including firing the minimum bet of $1,800 in the exacta. In the end, his experience as an accountant led him to a creative solution. “I looked at the pools and knew that Nyquist was going to pay more to place than a typical 2-1 shot,” he said. “I thought maybe I could back up into the money on a place bet.’”

He bet $9,480 to place, meaning he’d go home with his $20,000 no matter what happened in the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby. Shortly after the gates opened, Myeress knew he was leaving with more than his 20 dimes. “Turning for home I knew there was no way he wasn’t go to be at least second,” he said.

As is his usual way, Myeress was stoic during the running of the race. While others around him were hooting and hollering, rooting home their horses, he didn’t say anything. People at his table didn’t know he’d cashed.

“I hadn’t told my dad what I’d bet – I didn’t want to give him a heart attack – but after I told him, ‘I won big and I may have won this.’ "

The place bet returned $22,752 for a total bank of $42,752. A pretty solid return on a horse Myeress didn’t even initially like all that much. “I wanted to look at every reason in the world to not bet Nyquist, he said. “I thought he’d run well but maybe come up a little short. But the way the track was playing for two days I just thought it was going to set up perfect for him.”

When the results were posted, Myeress was ecstatic. “It was almost like it was too good to be true,” he said “Even when I woke up the next day for three seconds I thought it was all just a dream.”