04/01/2016 9:40AM

Fornatale: Wilde rides longshots to BCQ victory

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Online handicapping contests have been a godsend for residents of the great state of Texas. Just ask 53-year-old electrical engineer Dan Wilde of Austin, who won a seat to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge on BCQualify.com last weekend.

“The closest racetrack to me is probably Retama Park down in San Antonio,” he said, “so when they took away our online betting capabilities I wasn’t able to bet on horses as much as I used to but contests helped fill that void.”

Wilde has been playing on BCQualify.com since 2013, but last weekend he finally got the brass ring: a $10,000 BCBC seat. “Last year, on April 26, I was a nostril from getting in,” he said. “My horse in the last race kept coming and just missed.”

He plays in both the one-day and two-day formats on BCQ but prefers the latter. “I seem to have better luck in those,” he said. It’s great to be able to finish in the top 10 percent to get past round one.”

Sometimes Wilde is amazed at the way contest players can string together long-priced winners but last Saturday he was the one who pulled off that feat: He backed 20-1 S’marvelous and 14-1 Rose’s Dancer in a row. “At that point, because you had six spots and only 90 players, I thought there was no way I could lose unless things just got nuts the rest of the way,” he said.

In the end, it didn’t matter, his total of $147.20 was more than $45 clear of the cut line for qualification.

He’s been to two Breeders’ Cups before – Lone Star in 2004 and Santa Anita in 2013 – and he’s excited to make his triumphant return. “It’s pretty cool to get $10,000 to go out there and watch some of the best horses in the world,” he said.

Despite the new rule allowing two entries at the BCBC, Wilde seems more interested in focusing on one entry, at least for now. But that doesn’t mean you won’t see him on BCQualify.com. He is keenly aware that BCBC entries are transferable. “I’ve already got a buddy who wants to buy it from me if I pull off another one,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind diversifying a little and taking some money off the table.”

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There are two contests in the Daily Racing Form universe on Sunday. One is a qualifier for the Santa Anita Preakness Challenge, the other a low buy-in feeder for a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier.

The Santa Anita qualifier takes place on DRFQualify.com. Players must put up $225 to compete for up to two $4,500 spots to the Santa Anita contest, plus $500 in travel. The Preakness Challenge is a live-bank contest that takes place at the Great Race Place on May 21-22.

The feeder is happening over on BCQualify.com. Entries are just $21 and the top 10 percent of finishers will win a spot in the April 10 BCQ one-day qualifier, where up to four players will win their full $10,000 BCBC entries. It’s the perfect way for lower bankroll players to give contest play a try.

Click over to the contest sites for more details, as well as free DRF Classic past-performances to all the contest races.