12/21/2006 1:00AM

Brown leads charge at Del Mar


Jerry Brown, who runs Thoro-Graph out of New York City, turned a $6,000 bankroll into $39,341 in two days of betting at Del Mar to win the Del Mar Handicapping Challenge and become one of six persons who qualified last summer at Del Mar for the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championship next month in Las Vegas.

Five persons qualified the weekend of July 29-30, when 50 of the game's most successful bettors and tournament players gathered at Del Mar. The sixth Del Mar qualifier was James Norris of Indiana, who won the meet-long Del Mar Internet contest.

The tournament Brown won was a live money tournament. In addition to the money he won at the windows, Brown received a check for $20,000 for winning the tournament. Runner-up Dennis Tiernan of Woodlands, Tex., whose bankroll ended up at $23,759, earned $5,000 for finishing second.

Also qualifying were David "The Maven" Gutfreund of Chicago, Ross Gallo of Jupiter, Fla., and Mark Streiff of San Pedro, Calif. Dennis Decauwer of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and Toby Turrell of Westminster, Calif. -- who were third and fourth, respectively, at Del Mar -- already had qualified for the championship tournament, thus allowing the sixth- (Gallo) and seventh- (Streiff) place finishers at Del Mar to advance to the finals.

Players had to put up $6,000 of their own money and bet a minimum of $300 per race on every race at Del Mar July 29-30.

"I like this tournament because it's most like playing horses," Brown said. "Rather than emphasizing a separate set of skills -- trying to find longshots -- this not only involves how to handicap but how to bet, which are all the skills that are emphasized as a horseplayer."

In the Internet contest won by Norris, more than 7,000 persons participated in an on-line contest at www.DelMarRacing.com that lasted from July 19 through Sept. 6. That contest was free to enter. Contestents had to play one race per day, and do so with an imaginary $100 per race.