08/13/2015 10:10AM

Fornatale: Wiener has lead in Saratoga contest


There are several interesting story lines to follow going into Day 2 at the Saratoga handicapping contest, which attracted a massive field of 260 players. The leader is Brett Wiener, last year's NHC Tour runner-up. Wiener, who won $1,500 in Day 1 money, is sitting on $64.80.

Players are competing for more than $220,000 in cash, two Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge seats, and three seats to the National Handicapping Championship. Other notable players in the top 10 include Mike Beychok, the 2012 NHC champ. Beychok is one of five NHC champs competing at Saratoga, along with Brian Troop, Jim Benes, John Conte, and Steve Wolfson Jr. He is third with $55.40.

Ross Gallo, who has qualified for the NHC at least 10 times, is in seventh place with $47. Gallo is also a member of the NTRA Players' Committee who help shape the rules of the NHC.

Another story line of note involves the NHC Tour and Jonathon Kinchen. Kinchen, still considered to be the favorite for the NHC Tour title, has had several close calls recently but has yet to secure that elusive onsite score needed for him to make a major impact on the tour. He is ninth in the Saratoga contest with $44.60. The top 26 finishers will receive tour points.

Overall scores are very low due to a parade of chalk at all three contest tracks Wednesday. Even a player with zero points is within one horse of being in second – assuming he hits a double bet on a cap horse.

Thursday’s tracks are Saratoga, Arlington, and the first three races at Del Mar. One would think we'll see some prices at some point. Players must make 10 bets Thursday across those tracks, with at least five of them being at Saratoga. Nine of the bets are $2 win, place, or show, and one is $4 win, place, or show.

Here is the current top 10:

Wiener $64.80
Vingers $58.30
Beychok $55.40
Gioberti $52.40
Chamberlin $51.80
Pettit $51.80
Gallo (Ross) $47.00
Oswitt $45.20
Kinchen $44.60
Nichols (Dave) $43.20

Here is the unofficial payout structure:

1st $100,000 NHC+BCBC
2nd $35,000  NHC+BCBC
3rd $25,000  NHC
4th $15,000
5th $9,000
6th $7,000
7th $5,500
8th $4,500
9th $4,000
10th $3,000
11th $2,000
12th $2,000
13th $2,000
14th $2,000
15th $2,000
16th $1,312
17th $1,312
18th $1,312
19th $1,312
20th $1,312
21st $1,000
22nd $1,000
23rd $1,000
24th $1,000
25th $1,000
26th $1,000