07/28/2014 1:53PM

Fornatale: Three-peat denied in Del Mar contest


Out at Del Mar this past weekend, there was no three-peat. Gary Young, of Pasadena, Calif., won the 11th annual Del Mar Handicapping Challenge with a very strong second day to demolish the competition by turning his initial bankroll of $4,500 into a final bankroll of $36,146.

Two-time returning champions Kevin McFarland and Nisan Gabbay went for broke as promised, shoving in on the Bing Crosby, keying Seeking the Sherif. After the race, McFarland said, “No regrets or complaints on how we played. We just picked the wrong horse to upset Goldencents. We’re really looking forward to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge.”

Young receives $50,000 for finishing first, plus an entry to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge in November worth an additional $10,000, bringing his total winnings from the contest up to $96,146. Dustin Moore, from Washington, Utah, finished second with $14,047 and receives an additional $25,000 in prizes for second place.

A total of 10 spots in the $2 million National Handicapping Championship were earned. Second place through fifth also receive a $2,500 credit toward the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge.

Final standings of players earning NHC berths:

Fin. Name Total Cash Prize BCBC
1st Gary Young $36,146.00 $50,000 $10,000
2nd Dustin Moore 14,047.00 22,500 2,500
3rd James Anderson 13,030.00 12,500 2,500
4th Bill Shurman* 11,310.00 10,000 2,500
5th Dennis Decauwer* 11,115.00 7,500 2,500
6th William Pastina 10,340.00 7,500  
7th Tony Dominguez 10,014.00 6,000  
8th Lee Geraghty 9,609.00 5,000  
9th Rich Friedman 9,557.00 4,000  
10th Ilan Cuellar 9,450.00 3,000  
11th Randy Scholz 8,137.00    
12th Les Harris 7,880.00    

 *already double-qualified for the NHC


Bill Shurman and Rich Friedman, the top two finishers from Day 1, also receive berths at the first-ever Del Mar Fall Classic, to be held ontrack this November.

Speaking of Shurman, it’s likely that his fourth-place finish might have earned him enough tour points to finish in the top five of the first half of the NHC Tour, thus earning him $10,000. Shurman’s schedule had only allowed him to play in a handful of live contests so far in 2014, so the pressure was really on. The official first-half standings will be revealed later this week.

◗ George Nixon, of Port Jervis, N.Y., made a name for himself via DRF Tournaments this past weekend. He finished second at NHCQualify.com, earning a trip to Las Vegas, and he also finished first and fourth with his two entries over at the low-buy-in credit contest at BCQualify.com.

Also earning Las Vegas seats at NHCQualify.com were Peter Rogers, of Summit, N.J., who finished first with a final bankroll of $100.40, and racing-industry veteran Douglas Bredar, who ran third with $78.90. Nixon split the pair with $84.70. Anthony Trezza, of East Stroudsburg, Pa., was unlucky to miss qualifying by a mere 30 cents.

Eric Moomey, of Aldie, Va., was fifth with $76.60 (also eighth with $70.30), but before you feel bad for him, the tour points he earned might have gotten him $10,000 as a top-five first-half finisher on the NHC Tour. Readers can expect a full Tour report later this week after all contests have been audited and final scores tallied.

The NHCQualify.com contest attracted 213 participants. For a full leaderboard and a look at who played whom throughout the contest, check out http://www.nhcqualify.com/leaderboard.aspx.