10/11/2014 6:36PM

Fornatale: You Bought Her pays off big for Saturday contest players


In the last chance to qualify online for the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge – the world’s foremost live-bankroll handicapping contest – five players won their way in on BCQualify.com on Saturday. Contestants played a sequence of 12 mandatory races from Belmont, Keeneland, and Santa Anita Park.

John Nichols of Louisville, Ky.,won the contest outright with an impressive score of $145.80. Nichols was good early, in the middle, and late. His longest price was the cap horse in Keeneland’s eighth race, You Bought Her, who paid $79.80 but was limited to $42.00 on the win end for the contest. From there, he added four of the last five winners, including Mal Verde ($10.80) in the anchor leg, Santa Anita’s sixth.

The second-place finisher was perennial player-to-watch Eric Moomey ($128.80) of Elwell, Mich. Moomey, currently among the leaders on the NHCTour, started slow but also had over-capper You Bought Her. From there, he just hung around the top 10 and made a double move late, backing Tiz Sexy Now ($7.40) in Keeneland’s nightcap and also having Mal Verde in the last.

Ronald Milchhoefer of North Riverside, Ill., was third ($124), largely on the back of You Bought Her as well. He had four other winners, including three in a row late with Polytechnicien ($6.60) in Santa Anita’s fourth, Tiz Sexy Now, and Well Lawyered ($9.80) in Santa Anita’s fifth.

Joining those top three in the BC Betting Challenge contest room at Santa Anita will be Louis Filoso of Ocean, N.J., and Jeffrey Schmitz of Minneapolis, both of whom also picked You Bought Her.

If you’d like to play in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, there is still time. Unlike the National Handicapping Championship, you can buy your way in to the BC Betting Challenge and play at one of three locations: live at Santa Anita or via simulcast at Keeneland or Aqueduct. Contact contest director Tim Schram or check out this site for more details.

Over on NHCQualify.com, on the same set of races as the BC qualifying contest, three players won their way to the National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas to be held Jan. 22-24 at the Treasure Island.

Robert Gilbert of Yardley, Penn., was the overall winner with $140.40. He had five winners overall, including – in what will be a familiar refrain – You Bought Her. Gilbert added Tiz Sexy Now and Mal Verde late to secure his spot.

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Larry Burns of Voorhees, N.J., finished second with $122.30. He started strong with Bitty Kitty ($10.20) in Keeneland’s sixth race. He added Legendary in the Knickerbocker and shot his score to the top of the board with You Bought Her. He still needed points late, and he got them when Well Lawyered obliged in the penultimate contest event.

The final qualifier for Las Vegas was Lorne Weiss of Thornhill, Ont. Weiss finished with $119.40, just $2.40 in front of fourth-place finisher Marc Stateler of Marissa, Ill. As it often does, the battle came down to place points in the last race. The $4.20 Weiss received when Lucky J Lane held second was enough to earn him the final qualifying spot for Las Vegas.