02/22/2017 1:24PM

Enborg goes full speed ahead at UBC qualifier

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Eddie Enborg is a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. He’s also an accomplished contest player. Last weekend he punched his ticket for this year’s Ultimate Betting Challenge, a live-bankroll contest to be held at both Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita, via DRF Tournaments.

For Enborg, who recently returned to Southern California after seven months at sea, the UBC will be a home game. “Along with Belmont Park, Santa Anita is my favorite track,” said the 28-year old. “It’s so picturesque and there’s so much history.”

Enborg played in a Santa Anita contest back in 2015, also through a DRF qualification, where he finished mid-pack. “I didn’t hit anything until one of the last races, but I ended up taking money home,” he said.

That was his first live-bankroll tournament and there was definitely a learning curve. “Now that I’ve played in one the fear of the unknown is gone and I can be a little bit more loose,” he said. “I’m more in it to win it. If you don’t play like it’s monopoly money you’re at a disadvantage.”

Speaking of disadvantages, Enborg faced one throughout most of 2016, when he was at sea. He won into the National Handicapping Championship but couldn’t attend. “Some last-minute training popped up that couldn’t be moved,” he said, “so that was a bummer for me.”

While deployed, Enborg follows racing as best he can. “The Internet connectivity isn’t always great aboard the ship and that can make it tricky,” he said.

One of his main responsibilities was a night watch as officer of the deck, aiding with navigation, and there would be a window of opportunity after his shifts. “No one else would be online so I could pull up DRF and other news and read that,” he said, “There was usually enough bandwidth for Classic PPs though not enough for Formulator.”

In December, he transferred off sea duty to a desk job and he’s had a chance to amp up his contest play and his use of Formulator.  “I like using it to dig deep with training stats,” he said. “It’s a really cool tool if you take the time to use it.”

His biggest winner on Sunday was Dox Folly ($25.60 win-place combined) at Tampa, found with the help of Formulator. “Granitz is a good route-to-sprint trainer and he was a big class-dropper with a solid four-furlong prep,” he explained.

He also used Formulator to suss out that Kiaran McLaughlin’s second-time starters can be counted on to improve second out. This led him to Talaaqy ($16.60)

Enborg used a modified approach throughout Sunday’s contest. “I turned off the morning line, went through the PPs methodically without being biased, and stuck with my gut instead of talking myself off longshots,” he said.

His goals for the year include improving his prowess at live-bank play and qualifying for the Del Mar contest in July. Del Mar was the sight of his first trip to the track, when he first caught the racing bug. He also attended last year’s Pacific Classic.

“I flew out to San Diego last August for house hunting and I got to see the race,” he said. “California Chrome is another reason I got into racing. I enjoyed his Triple Crown run, seeing an underdog accomplish all he has has been really cool.”

Enborg’s accomplishments, serving his country while making a dent in the contest world, aren’t too shabby either.