08/31/2015 12:29PM

Fornatale: Sometimes heavy chalk makes the difference


The Travers Stakes on Saturday presented an interesting situation for contest players. Situated as it was, as the eighth of 12 races in the all-mandatory online contest, players had the opportunity to play the seemingly unbeatable American Pharoah. As National Handicapping Championship Tour leader Jonathon Kinchen said while preparing for last week's DRF Players' Podcast, "That's a situation where I'm happy to just take the four plus dollars because a lot of times that money will mean something at the end."

In the end, Pharoah was worth only $2.40 in the contest, and upset winner Keen Ice returned $40.50 to his backers. The Travers result reveals the critical difference in format between the BCQualify.com contest that was run on Saturday and the events held on NHCQualify.com and DRFQualify.com. In the latter two tournaments, where you more or less have to finish in the top 2 percent of the field to qualify, all three winners used Keen Ice. Over on BCQualify.com, where you only had to finish in the top 9 percent to reach your goal of a $10,000 Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge seat, only three of the eight qualifiers used Keen Ice. In fact, had eighth-place finisher (and last year's NHC second) Ken Jordan not used American Pharoah and collected those critical place points, he would have missed the mark.

The overall winner on BCQualify.com was Amanda Meyer. She was one of the three players who used Keen Ice. She managed four other collections including 11-1 longshot Runhappy in the King's Bishop and 1-5 shortie Gimme Da Lute in Del Mar's El Cajon. After getting Keen Ice home she was able to chip away with a horse like Gimme Da Lute but she didn't just chalk out from there. She still needed another price, Dacita ($17.00 to win) in the Ballston Spa to land top honors.

Marc Racenstein finished a super-close second without the benefit of Keen Ice. He had cap-horse Decisive Boss ($50.60 to win) in Gulfstream's ninth, two other small collections, and went out with a bang picking Foxhall Drive ($21.40) in the pay leg.

Also earning their BCBC seats were Kerry Bassore, Daniel Edwards, Steve Tartaglione, Ming Meyer, Bill Zvara, and Jordan.

Over on NHCQualify.com, Vince Carco demolished the field, winning outright by nearly $40. If Carco wasn't a fan of Florida racing before he surely is now -- he had both Gulfstream Park cap horses: Cat and Fiddle ($129.60 to win on the tote) in the first contest race and Decisive Boss. But he still needed the full $40.50 he received from Keen Ice to get into qualifying position. Carco, a management consultant, will be returning to the NHC for the third time.

Joining Carco in Vegas will be Howard Welsh. Welsh played Decisive Boss, Keen Ice, and Foxhall Drive. Welsh, a financial planner who is also an avid reader, is now a five-time NHC qualifier.

It was Groundhog Day over on DRFQualify.com as Joe Pettit won again. Pettit was profiled in Daily Racing Form last week and his heater continued on Sunday when he secured his second seat to the Santa Anita Oct. 17-18 contest to go along with his two seats the Sept. 19 Gulfstream contest. That means Pettit has now secured max entries to both contests, with a couple of weeks to spare.

Saturday on DRFQ, 14-time National Handicapping Championship qualifier Trey Stiles checked in first with $137.10, $18.90 ahead of reigning NHC Tour champ Eric Moomey. Stiles was on fire at Saratoga, backing Runhappy, Keen Ice, and Foxhall Drive and managing place points on the other three Saratoga races.


Rank Name Score
1 Amanda Meyer $111.90
2 Marc Racenstein   $111.20
3 Kerry Bassone $109.80
4 Daniel Edwards $103.40
5 Steve Tartaglione $102.50
6 Ming Meyer $102.20
7 Bill Zvara $101.80
8 Kenneth Jordan $100.40

All eight receive $10,000 Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge seats plus a $500 travel voucher.


Rank Name Score
1 Vince Carco $181.30
2 Howard Welsh $144.90

Both win National Handicapping Championship seats $500 in travel, and a four-night stay at Treasure Island the NHC host hotel.