04/13/2015 11:09AM

Fornatale: Steady slate pushes Reichenberg in qualifier


It was a busy weekend for qualifications for the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. On Sunday, James Reichenberg bested all comers on BCQualify.com with a score of $107.80. Reichenberg was consistent throughout the 12-race, all-mandatory contest. He picked six winners in all with his best run coming with a stretch of four winners in a row: Sweet Sandy ($5.20 to win) in Tampa’s eighth, Aquinnah ($10.40) in Gulfstream’s eighth, Miss Ella ($21.40) in Keeneland’s eighth, and Grey By You ($4.60) in Tampa’s ninth.

It was a tight group at the top of the leaderboard with Terry Wraight ending up second just 80 cents in back of the top slot, but with the prizes being identical for first and second that was not the tough beat it might have been. Wraight heated up late backing Morning Coffee ($5) in Santa Anita’s fifth and My Monet ($8.40) in Santa Anita’s sixth. In the end, he just held off unlucky third- and fourth-place finishers Brian Herrity and Jay Wiggs, both of whom had the place horse in the last at Santa Anita but fell $1.20 and $2 short, respectively.

Also on Sunday, six players won full BCBC entries (along with seats to the National Handicapping Championship), and four more won their $2,500 BCBC entry fees at the seventh annual Grade One Gamble at Keeneland. In all, 124 players played in the $3,000 live-bankroll contest, annually one of the hottest tickets on the NHC Tour circuit.

Toronto’s Tommy Massis broke the contest wide open in the contest’s third race, backing 36-1 longshot Wilhelmina. He strafed the field with a final score of $28,074. In addition to his bankroll winnings and the aforementioned major tournament seats, Massis also received $10,000 for his efforts. For full results from Keeneland, go to: http://www.keeneland.com/simulcast/grade-one-gamble.

On Saturday, three players won their way into the National Handicapping Championship, led by now three-time NHC qualifier Wendy Long, who led the way with a robust final score of $175. Long, who once worked as a sportswriter for the Vancouver Sun, earned her total with five winners overall including cap horse Opening Act in Keeneland’s eighth ($58.40 to win but limited to $42 in the contest), and Yes Yes Baroness ($37.80) in the anchor leg, Santa Anita’s seventh.

Joining Long in Las Vegas in January will be Michael Sweeney and Heath Rutledge. Both also had the two biggest prices in the sequence, Opening Act and Yes Yes Baroness. But it’s notable that those two price horses alone were not enough to earn qualification. Sweeney backed three other winners and Rutledge four.

Qualifying action returns to NHCQualify.com next Saturday, April 18. Visit https://www.nhcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx for your chance to enter and win your share of over $2 million at the National Handicapping Championship.




Rank Name Total
1 Wendy Long $175.00
2 Michael Sweeney $170.00
3 Heath Rutledge $168.80

All three receive seats to the National Handicapping Championship and a travel allowance.


Rank Name Total
1 Pedro Pons $140.40
2 David Decauwer $127.00

Both receive $4,000 berths to the May Santa Anita Betting Challenge, plus a travel allowance.



Rank Name Total
1 James Reichenberg $107.80
2 Terry Wraight $107.00

Both receive $10,000 seats to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge plus a travel allowance.


Rank Name Total
1 John Fisher $93.00
2 George Chute $84.80


Rank Name Balance
1 Tommy Massis $28,074.00
2 Paul Weizer $11,749.00
3 Pat Gianforte $8,337.50
4 Joe Accavallo $7,600.20
5 Dan Hartmann $6,053.50
6 Wyatt Rosette $5,540.80
7 Dan Flanigan $5,535.00
8 Blaise Brucato $5,252.90
9 Mike Maloney $4,945.95
10 Dan Cronin  $4,758.45

Top six receive both seats for the NHC and BCBC. Seven through ten receive their $2500 entry fees for the BCBC. Cash was also awarded: $10,000 to first, $7,000 to second, $4,000 to third, $3,000 fourth, $2,000 to fifth with finishers six through ten getting $1,500.