07/06/2006 11:00PM

Downs hits it big


Any horseplayer looking to qualify for the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship at Hollywood Park has to go through Tim Downs. One of the most accomplished tournament players on the circuit, Downs earned $5,000 in prize money as well as another trip to the national championship with his victory in the July 1-2 contest at Hollywood Park.

The Hollywood Park contest was held under real money format rules with a $2,000 buy-in. Entrants were required to play 10% of their bankroll ($200) on Win and Place wagers for each race during the tournament.

Downs catapaulted to the lead in the second race on day one when Mamselle Aries ($72.20, $23.40) won a maiden race for three-year-olds and upward. He never looked back. Along with his $5,000 in prize money, Downs kept the $8,976 in real money that he earned in the tournament. As an added treat, Downs will receive $500 in poker chips, and a free room upgrade for his assault on the National Handicapping Championship at Bally's Las Vegas next January.

Downs may very well be one of the top contenders for the National Championship. Along with his father, he won the $381,500 Championship at the Orleans in 2001 over 683 other entries. Downs also earned $46,080 with his fourth place finish in the Coast Casinos Horseplayer World Series.

Runner-up Damian Roncevich of Hawaii, and third-place finisher Steve Pollack of La Mesa, CA will receive $100 in poker chips as well as their automatic berths in the NHC.

Hollywood Park will offer three more automatic NHC entries with their contest to be held on November 25-27.

-Bill Downes, the track announcer at Beulah Park, emerged victorious in the June 24 NHC Online Qualifier. Downes ended up with a total of $79.80 from his 10 mythical $2 Win and Place bets. His big score came with Matty G Whiz ($26.60, $14.00) in the first race at Hollywood Park. Terry Nolan of Hermosa Beach, CA finished second with $76.80 in contest earnings. Nolan closed with a strong late flurry when Spooked ($28.20, $9.80) won the next-to-last race in the contest. Joan Houston of Fallston, MD also rallied powerfully. Houston earned $59.60 of her $74 final total in the last two contest races. William Shurman ($71.80), Ron Geary ($69.80), and Gilson Fontz ($69.80) will join the top three finishers at Bally's Las Vegas for the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship next January.