07/17/2017 2:50PM

Contest qualifiers gain entry from different angles

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Three players won their way into the Saratoga Betting Challenge in all-in contests last weekend on DRF Tournaments: Thomas Labordo, Derek Lindeberg, and Randall Cote.

Labordo got things started Saturday by building a bankroll of $87. He cashed in an impressive nine of the 12 contest races, including the first three and the last three. He had two horses who returned around $18 win-place combined, and you don’t need more than that when you keep collecting points.

Labordo used multi-tabling on Saturday to also win a seat to the Wynn Handicapping Challenge. In that all-in event, he finished with $76.30. In the other Wynn qualifier on Saturday, Nate Newby won his way to Vegas with $86.60. Newby is well known to contest players as the tournament director of the always-excellent Santa Anita live-bankroll events.

Sunday’s Saratoga contests were a good example of the different paths one can take to qualification in an online contest – one winner had many smaller collections, like Labordo on Saturday, and the other hit fewer races but for longer prices.

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Lindeberg got to his total of $77.50 by chipping away. He collected in eight of the 12 contest races, with his longest price being White Flag ($14.10) in Belmont’s 10th.

Cote ($99.60) got off to a hot start with Psychic Energy ($12.20) in Belmont’s fifth and Zigarch ($50.40) in Belmont’s sixth. His big day at Big Sandy wasn’t over yet. He hit Belmont’s eighth with Sprectolite ($26.30) and ran up the score with Djulpan ($10.70) in Belmont’s 11th, the anchor leg.

In the Wynn qualifier on Sunday, Kenneth Mollicone put up a total of $108, nearly $33 clear of second. His big winner was Zigarch, but he collected points in five other races during the afternoon.

Also last weekend, three players won their way into the next Grade 1 qualifier for the World Championship of Handicapping. The Grade 1 takes place July 28, and one in 10 entries will win their way into the $1 million, no-takeout WCH finals.

Action resumes Wednesday with contests expected to rely heavily on Del Mar’s opening-day races. A first-round contest for the WCH will be on the menu, along with a feeder for Del Mar’s July 22 last-chance qualifier. Check back on tournaments.drf.com for a full list of all the goings-on this Wednesday and every operating day at DRF Tournaments.

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