06/12/2017 11:55AM

Bombs boost WCH qualifiers


On Saturday, Belmont Day, four more players won their entries to the $5,000 buy-in finals of the World Championship of Handicapping, which will feature a prize of $1 million and no takeout.

Dan Zaretsky ($115.60) was best on the back of just three collections. Place points on Sassy Little Lila ($8.40) got him going, but he vaulted into contention with Ascend ($57.60 win-place combined) in the Manhattan, and sealed the deal with Manitoulin ($49.60) in Belmont’s 12th.

Third- and fourth-place finishers David Watts ($104.50) and Eric Moomey ($102.90) also had Ascend, the longest-priced winner in the sequence. Watts had four other collections, and needed a nice hit with Do Score ($25.10) in Belmont’s nightcap to get the money. Moomey’s second biggest price was Diamonds at Dawn ($26.60) in Churchill’s 11th, but he eked out critical place points with River Echo ($5.30) in the Belmont finale, to just edge out Paul Scott for the big prize.

Second-place finisher Rich Nilsen ($104.60) managed qualification without Ascend’s help. Like Zaretsky, he had just three collections: a meager $3.80 on Pauline Revere in Churchill’s seventh, $51.20 from Running Back in Churchill’s eighth, and Manitoulin.

:: Add a 5-card pack of PPs and save 55¢/card!

Also on Saturday, two players won their way into the Wynn Handicapping Challenge, a mythical-money contest focusing on Del Mar and Saratoga that takes place on Aug. 4-5 at Wynn Las Vegas. Contest vet Cara Yarusso, featured in "The Winning Contest Player," was tops in the field with $122.20. She had Running Back and Ascend plus two small collections. Second-place finisher David Brownfield also wins a Vegas trip thanks to Running Back, Manitoulin, and two small returns.

On Sunday on DRFT, William Rubenstein won his way into the Del Mar Handicapping Challenge, which takes place on July 22-23, the next big dates that many live-bank players have circled on their calendars. Rubenstein started slowly, with a bagel in the first half of the contest. But he more than made up for lost time with Cool ($52.80) in Monmouth’s eighth, and a double to close things out with Outrageous Bet ($22.10) in Belmont’s 10th, and Wildly Good Looking ($39.80) in Monmouth’s 12th.

Tournament action returns to DRF Tournaments on Wednesday with a full slate of feeders, credit-builders, match-ups, and winner-take-alls. Every day this week will feature $95 games where players can win their way into the next big Grade 1 qualifier, which will take place on Saturday, July 8, concurrent with Belmont’s Stars and Stripes program. From there, one in 10 entries will win their entires to the $1 million, no-takeout finals.

For more information, go to tournaments.drf.com.

McCubbins scorers at Belmont

It was a big weekend for horse owner Faron McCubbins out at Belmont Park. On Friday, he got to watch his runner Bullard’s Alley in the Belmont Gold Cup and ended the day on top of the standings in the Belmont Betting Challenge. On Saturday, he turned back impressive challenges from the likes of respected tournament players like last year’s winner, Garett Skiba, and Tony Zhou.

McCubbins ended up losing the lead on Saturday after tourney vet Nick Tammaro hit in the Jaipur, the Woody Stphens, and the Just a Game. McCubbins ended up crushing the field with $9,000 to win on Tapwrit in the Belmont Stakes and a $1,500 exacta Tapwrit over Irish War Cry. He ended up with over $90,000 on his bankroll plus $60,000 in other prize money. He is also now eligible for a $1 million bonus should he go on to win the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, a contest he has competed in before.

“I came up to Belmont because my horse was running,” said McCubbins, the owner of concrete construction company who lives in Mount Washington, Ky., “but when I saw that there was a million-dollar bonus if I win both tournaments, I knew I had to stay and compete."

Second-place finisher Tony Zhou won his seat in the Belmont tournament for $90 in a feeder on DRF Tournaments. He parlayed that into $50,400 in bankroll and another $35,000 in prizes.

“The tournament was spectacular,” said Zhou. “I love playing against the best in the world and that room was full of absolute killers.  If you add up the totals, the room as a whole had a plus 18 percent ROI.  Faron’s final bet to overshoot the win took immense handicapping confidence and betting heart and you need both to win these big live bankroll tournaments and  he sure had both.”

Zhou fell in love with racing on Belmont Day in 2010, and incredibly, as much as he won on Saturday, the experience ranks as his fifth-best Belmont Day in terms of the overall experience.

Asked for his top four, he said, “Without that day in 2010, I would have never found my favorite game in the world. In 2012, I got to see my favorite horse ever, Union Rags, redeem himself and win the Belmont. In 2015, even though I lost a ton of money betting against him, I witnessed history as American Pharoah won the Triple Crown.  In 2013, Palace Malice, gave me what up to that time my biggest score ever. That was the year I thought I was finally getting the hang of things and decided to take this game seriously.”

For Zhou’s sake, it’s a good thing he did.

Final standings:

1. Faron McCubbins $90,600

2. Tony Zhou $50,400

3. Vic Stauffer $43,350.75

4. Philip Lam $45,275

5. Garett Skiba $40,260