07/09/2014 2:50PM

Fornatale: NHC qualifier credits Formulator for success

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Emily “Mayhemily” Gullikson had a big weekend playing in tournaments online. She won three separate events, banking nearly $11,000 in prize money and winning a seat at the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas.

Gullikson, a 33-year-old CrossFit trainer who lives in Solana Beach, Calif., credits DRF’s Formulator with helping her contest success, and she shared three different uses of the product that helped her find winners this past weekend. First, let’s look at one of the horses that helped her Saturday: Mobridge.

Gullikson needed about $17 and had a decision to make going into Saturday’s last race at Belmont.

“I had two horses on my radar, Mobridge and Adams Note,” she said. “Obviously, I needed to pick a horse who was the right price to get me to the front, but I also wanted to pick the one who was more reliable, to give me the best chance to win.

“At the last minute, Mobridge drifted up just enough where I could use him. Using Formulator, I checked on a trainer pattern for Bill Mott. I wanted to see how he did in New York in turf allowance races in the first start off a layoff.”

Here’s what she saw:

Based on those numbers, especially the in-the-money percentage, Gullikson saw that Mott horses with this profile typically fire. She played Mobridge, and he flew home, passing nine horses in the stretch and paying $13.20 to win and $7 to place, just enough for her to triumph.

Her big weekend was just getting started. Late in the day on Sunday, things were looking tricky for Gullikson when she blanked on six races in a row after a promising start. But a one-two punch put her back in contention and gave her the chance to play her top pick, Main Sequence, in the United Nations and to win a trip to Las Vegas for the NHC.

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First up was the Queens’ Plate at Woodbine. Gullikson used Formulator’s charts feature to help land on Ami’s Holiday, a square price at 9-1.

“I could see from the note in the chart that there was trouble in the stretch,” Gullikson said. “I clicked on the replay and I thought that without that incident Ami’s Holiday might have won. Also, when I clicked on the ‘next race’ dropdown in the chart, I could see that Conquest Top Gun, second in the Marine, came out of that race to easily win a stake race with a 90 Beyer. That confirmed the form of Ami’s Holiday.”

Ami’s Holiday made an impressive run but could only manage second to Lexie Lou. Still, the $9.70 for place proved critical for Gullikson.

Immediately on the heels of the Queens’ Plate was Monmouth’s 11th race. This time, Formulator’s notes section helped her. Like many players, Gullikson doesn’t rely solely on the past performances when handicapping. She also uses her own race analyses in the form of “trip notes.” When Gullikson looked at Mr. Viber’s past performance, this is what she saw:

“If you just look at the other horses in the race and see that the Beyer par for that level, Mr. Viber – with his 67 Beyer last out – doesn’t seem to fit,” she explained. “But I knew from my notes that something wasn’t quite right last time. The horse took no money and didn’t look ready to run well to me that day. On Sunday, he looked great on the track and was taking money – he was bet down to 5-1 off his 10-1 morning line.”

Sure enough, Mr. Viber was an easy winner, paying a generous $15.80 to win and $9.60 to place, setting up the chance for Gullikson to play Main Sequence. When that colt won, Gullikson did too, sending her to Vegas in only her second year of serious contest play.