11/30/2014 9:41AM

Fornatale: Ol' Fashion Gal key to weekend contests


John Macklin, of Staten Island, N.Y., won Saturday’s contest on NHCQualify.com with a score of $131.70.

Heading into the last two races, Macklin held a strong hand. He had two entries with points. His second entry – the one that didn’t end up qualifying – was in great position. But he took Ol’ Fashion Gal in Del Mar’s sixth race on his first entry, and that vaulted him to a lead he would not relinquish. Ol’ Fashion Gal paid $45.60 to win on the tote, but that total was limited to $42 for contest purposes because of the price cap.

Macklin backed four other winners on his qualifying ticket, including Chief Kitten ($13) in Gulfstream’s eighth race and El Kabeir ($16.60) in Churchill’s 11th race. His other ticket ended up in 13th place.

Macklin earns an expense-paid trip to Las Vegas to compete for a share of at least $2 million in prize money at the National Handicapping Championship on Jan. 23-25 at Treasure Island. Joining Macklin out of Saturday’s contest will be Michael Birenbaum of King, Ontario ($124.20); Peter Thron of Wantagh, N.Y. ($120); and Mark Callahan of Orlando ($113.80).

As she was for Macklin, Ol’ Fashion Gal was the key to success for this week’s other qualifiers. Birenbaum got off to a hot start – hitting three of the first four winners – before Ol’ Fashion Gal put him over the top late. Thron hit an amazing five winners in a row in the middle of the contest – mostly chalk but still impressive. Still, he’d have been nowhere in the contest without the big price that Ol’ Fashion Gal provided.

Callahan looked to be in a bit of trouble two-thirds of the way into the contest, with only a couple of short-priced winners. But he tabbed Powerful in Del Mar’s fifth ($18.40) and followed with Ol’ Fashion Gal.

For a look at the results, check out http://www.nhcqualify.com/leaderboard.aspx.

Over on BCQualify.com, the credit-builder contest was won by Richard Guggenheim of Sarasota, Fla., whose $139.70 would have been good for a win at NHCQualify.com. In fact, the top five players in the credit builder all posted scores that would have won them Vegas seats. The good news for Guggenheim is that he now has $1,700 to play with in contests on both NHCQualify.com and BCQualify.com.

You can find the results from the contest here: http://www.bcqualify.com/leaderboard.aspx.

:: Click here to purchase a copy of “The Winning Contest Player” by Peter Thomas Fornatale

Qualifying action resumes next weekend. On Saturday, there is a contest on NHCQualify.com in which up to 10 NHC seats will be awarded. With so many seats on the line, the buy-in is higher than usual – $400 – but it’s still a favorable seat-to-player ratio, as the event is limited to 260 players. To secure your spot, sign up today at https://www.nhcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx.

Next Sunday, there is a BCQualify.com contest with up to four spots for next year’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge at Keeneland as the prize pool. To purchase an entry, go to https://www.bcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx.