08/18/2015 10:44AM

Fornatale: Two Tour rookies qualify for NHC


Two NHC Tour rookies qualified for the National Handicapping Championship on Sunday via NHCQualify.com. James Beaumier of Massapequa, N.Y., and Robert Carlson of Chandler, Az., finished atop the standings for the second-ever All-Rookie event, which attracted a field of 271 players.

Beaumier is a semi-regular at Belmont, where he typically attends the races five or six times a year. Earlier this year he played in the Belmont contest with a friend, and he secured a $50 NHC Tour membership as a result.

"I grew up around horses," the 37-year old who works in pharmaceutical sales said. "We owned some trotters and my grandfather watched OTB."

He keeps up with the races even when he's not at the track. "I follow online and read the Racing Form," he said.

The competitive aspect of tournament play appeals to him. "It's great to get the chance to compete directly against other handicappers," he said. "Tournaments give you a stake in the game. I like the competition and the chance to see where I rate."

Beaumier believes that having played in a live contest will help him at the NHC, but he also likes to play online. "Both live contests and online contests have their benefits and drawbacks," he said. "The Belmont contest had a great atmosphere, but online gives me the flexiblity to spend a few hours in the morning and watch the races while I'm doing other things."

He plans on working to secure his second seat for the NHC to improve his chances of getting some of the $2.5 million purse that will be on offer. "It's a big money tournament," he said, "and I'm grateful to have the opportunity to play against the best in the country."

Robert Carlson almost wasn't eligible to play in the Rookie contest. He actually had played in an NHC qualifying event before -- but this was back in 2000, before the Tour existed, thus preserving his eligibility.

"Back in 2000 I played in a tournament at Arlington Park," Carlson explained. "It was a points tournament, where you got points if your horse ran first, second, or third, and I picked all four winners. But someone else had done the same thing and I lost the tiebreaker."

Carlson was dejected that he missed out on a trip to Vegas and put tournament play aside. His interest in horse racing waned when there was no way to play online in his home state of Arizona, but when online gambling was legalized, he got involved once again and became intrigued about what was happening with the NHC -- which had grown from $200,000 in its first year to the millions it is now. "I had a successful year and said to wife, 'I'm going to try this contest thing.' "

Carlson, a 53-year-old who owns his own IT consulting company, is a Formulator user. "That really helped me on Sunday to dig deeper into the trainer patterns," he said. " I also like Formulator for the sire and dam stats. It makes a huge difference for maidens. I've taken a part of my game that was a little bit weaker and turned it into a strength -- to be able to look at the PPs of these old racehorses is an incredible edge."

Carlson wasn't expecting to have tournament success so quickly. "I'm excited, even got a little bit emotional because I did it so quickly," he said. "A friend had warned me, 'It won't be easy, some people try for years to qualify,' but I'm living proof that you can have success right away."

Saturday BCQualify.com results

Rank Name Score
1 Matthew Baiungo $129.60
2 Sally Goodall $106.60
3 Rich Goodall $106.50
4 Hesham Ragab $100.80
5 Robert Traynor $98.40
6 Nunzio Maniaci $97.20
7 Michael Ricciutti $96.60
8 Phil Hoedebeck $96.20
9 Bernard Reilly $95.80
10 Kevin McIntyre $89.80
11 Kenneth Jordan $89.20
12 Steven Turner $88.60
13 Kevin Jones $88.40
14 Amanda Meyer $86.60
15 Patrick Gianfonte $86.30
16 Bill Robelen $85.30
17 Steven Wecker $85.20
18 Carl Gioio $83.70
19 Steven Wecker $85.20
20 Robert Crowe $82.30
21 Steven Nemetz $81.60
22 Marc Racenstein $80.60
23 Brett Hinkel $78.80
24 Jeffrey Pesot $78.40
25 Scott Rubinchik $78.30
26 Wendy Long $77.20
27 Harry Seamon $77.00
28 Shadron Walton $75.80
29 Rocky Hardy $75.40
30 Ronald McKinnon $74.80
31 Gregory Raab $74.30
32 Tarik Kouchaf $73.80


All 32 advance to Round Two of the BCQualify.com contest, to be held on Aug. 29, Travers Day.

Saturday DRFQualify.com

1 Joe Pettit $108.90

Pettit wins a seat to the Sept. 19 $3,000 Gulfstream Park Raise Your Game live-bankroll event plus a travel allowance.

Sunday NHCQualify.com

1 James Beamier $120.30
2 Robert Carlson $114.20

Both win seats to the National Handicapping Championship plus a travel allowance.

Sunday DRFQualify.com

1 Bruce Dagostini $113.50

Dagostini wins a seat to the $4,000 Santa Anita Autumn Championship, to be held Oct. 14 and 15, plus a travel allowance.