06/30/2014 1:18PM

Fornatale: Six win spots in Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge


After a month of fierce competition, six players have won full $10,000 entries into the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, to be held Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park.

Saturday’s Round 2 BCQualify.com tournament was won by David Snyder, of Mission Viejo, Calif., who finished with a score of $110.20 in the 12-race, all-mandatory, $2 win-place contest.

Also earning berths to the biggest live-bankroll contest of the year were Gunther Blankenship, of Mesa, Ariz. ($97.70); Mike Elsass, of Anna, Ohio ($76.30); Kevin Geraghty, also of Mission Viejo ($73.20); Stephen Bernstein, of Huntington, N.Y. ($67.90); and Donald Healy, of Lady Lake, Fla. ($66.70).

Results overall were on the chalky side, leading to relatively low scores, but Snyder managed to get two prices home: For Greater Glory in Churchill Downs’s ninth race ($31 to win) and Sheza Smoke Show in the anchor leg, Santa Anita’s seventh race ($23.20 to win). The other five qualifying players all had one of those two.

The one-day BCQualify.com tournaments return this month, with events scheduled for this Saturday and for July 20. Saturday’s event will be limited to 200 players and will cost $330 per entry, awarding a maximum of five full BCBC spots (plus a $500 travel allowance). The July 20 contest costs $190 and will allow up to 280 entries, with a maximum of four full BCBC spots on the line (plus a $500 travel allowance). In August, BCQualify.com will host a two-stage contest once again.

Four qualify for NHC

On Sunday, four players won seats at the National Handicapping Championship via NHCQualify.com. Ryan Russell, of Estero, Fla., won with a score of $158.20. He picked three winners in the 12-race sequence, including Cherokee Artist ($17.40) in Monmouth’s 11th race.

But he owes his qualification to his other two winners, Hunting Hill ($19.40) in Churchill Downs’s ninth race and More Than Less ($19.70) in Churchill’s 10th. That rolling double paid $626.80 through the tote board, but for Russell, it paid a lot a more: a trip to Las Vegas to compete for at least $2 million.

Mark Feld, of Allen, Texas, was second with $149. He also backed Hunting Hill and More Than Less. He added Mangita ($17) in Santa Anita’s sixth race, the anchor leg, to secure his spot at the NHC.

Joe Scanio, of Brooklyn, N.Y., a familiar name on the contest scene and one of the featured voices in “The Winning Contest Player,” ended up third with $138.20. He backed five winners overall, including More Than Less.

The fourth and final seat went to Sammy Richman, of Danville, N.H. Richman’s score of $126 was just $6.20 ahead of unlucky fifth-place finisher Robert Fox, of Garland, Texas, and just $7.20 clear of last weekend’s contest hero, Eric Moomey. Richman also backed the two big prices, Hunting Hill and More Than Less, and had just enough in place points to hold off the rest of the field.

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

Field of 40 at DRFBets

The field of 40 is now set for next weekend’s Round 2 contest on DRFBets.com. Of those 40, four will win seats for the NHC. Contestants in the Round 1 events were competing for $5,000 in prize money as well. They each made 10 $15 bets across four tracks on offer in this all-optional format. Each event attracted right around 200 participants.

Here are the 40 finalists, pending a final audit of last Saturday’s event:

From June 21
Place  Name - Mutuel - (Total Prize)
  1st: Ray Kelly, $507.00 ($1000)
  2nd: Karen Richards, $405.00 ($750)
  3rd:  Nancy Rich, $378.00 ($500)
  4th:  Jeff Herbst, $340.50 ($250)

  5th:  Cheryl Mcintyre, $330.00
  6th:  Mark Richards, $315.00
  7th:  Steve Glynn, $315.00
  8th:  Don Allen, $315.00
  9th:  Randall Scott, $315.00
10th:  Stephen Jr Wolfson,,$303.00
11th:  Travis Reese, $283.50
12th:  Kenneth Dobiecki, $270.00
13th:  Traci Richards, $259.50
14th:  Franco Pacione, $255.00
15th:  Robert West, $250.50
16th:  Ellis Starr, $247.50
17th:  Tim Franklin, $246.00
18th:  Darlene Klimkiewicz, $242.25
19th:  Louis Constan, $225.00
20th:  Sam Poggi, $219.00

From last Saturday
  1st:  Robert Difusco, $661.50 ($1000)
  2nd: William Zvara, $463.50 ($750)
  3rd:  Cheryl Kaufman, $459.00 ($500)
  4th:  Norma Mendoza, $379.50 ($250)

  5th:  George Grigiss, $369.00
  6th:  Louis Varsallone, $354.00
  7th:  Aner Carlstrom, $330.00
  8th:  Michael Schalewski, $327.00
  9th:  David Reid, $315.00
10th:  Michael Guadagno, $315.00
11th:  Brett Wiener, $300.00
12th:  Sean Nolan, $294.00
13th:  Donald Healy, $289.50
14th:  Edward Wright, $286.50
15th:  Dana Irwin, $286.50
16th:  Tony Zhou, $270.00
17th:  Timothy Armstrong, $267.00
18th:  Michael Teal, $265.50
19th:  Ken Seeman, $261.00
20th:  Paul Ballesteros, $261.00