05/08/2017 12:56PM

First qualifiers stamp tickets for WCH


The World Championship of Handicapping qualifying season is officially underway. On Derby Day, five players won their $5,000 seats to the $1 million, no takeout WCH finals on tournaments.drf.com.

The overall winner was Jerald Seagall, whose score of $134.30 was best in the field of 54. Seagall collected in eight of the 12 contest races with his two biggest hits coming from Arklow ($44.80) in the American Turf and Smooth Daddy ($45.30) in Belmont’s Fort Marcy, the contest’s anchor leg.

William Casper was second with a total of $118.40. His biggest winners were Arklow and Limousine Liberal ($41.20) in the Churchill Downs. He also backed the Derby winner, Always Dreaming ($18.60) en route to qualification for the WCH.

Third place went to tournament veteran Rick Broth ($108.20). He started slowly, with just $4.80 in place points through five contest events. Business picked up from there, with Pete’s Play Call ($16.90) and Limousine Liberal catapulting him into contention. After a dry spell of four races, Smooth Daddy in the last secured his spot.

Those same two prices, Limousine Liberal and Smooth Daddy, were the key for Kevin Costello. He ended up at $107.20 from six collections.

The final qualifier was Eliot Honaker. His card had an unusual look, zeros in the first four and last five races. But those three in the middle were aces: Arklow, Pete’s Play Call, and Limousine Liberal. His total of $102.90 put him just over $3 of unlucky Robert Crowe in sixth.

Sunday was understandably a quiet day in the tournament world with many racing fans dealing with Derby hangovers both literally and figuratively. But that didn’t stop 54 entries from going forward to play in a qualifier for the Wynn Challenge, where Sean O’Malley and Samuel Story won their $2,000 buy-in plus $500 in travel to the Aug. 4-5 Las Vegas contest.

It was a low-scoring affair and a very tight leaderboard at the end. Just $1.90 separated the first and fifth finishers.

O’Malley won the day with Lady Chocolotta ($40) in Belmont’s fifth being his biggest collection. He added $25 from Knk’s Dolce Vita in Santa Anita’s fourth and got $4 worth of critical place points in Santa Anita’s sixth to just skate by.

Story’s path to victory was different. He managed five collections overall, the largest from Heldatgunpoint ($41.20) in Belmont’s ninth.

Also on Sunday, Chris Skotz won his way into the Santa Anita Preakness contest via four collections worth $98.80. There will be a final qualifier for the Preakness contest on Sunday, May 14.

Contest action returns to DRFT on Wednesday, with the featured event being a $95 round-one contest for the WCH. One in seven finishers will advance to the Preakness Day Grade 1, where one in 10 will win their $5,000 buy-ins to the no-takeout finals in January. DRFT is also offering a full slate of feeders, credit-builders, and match-up contests. For more information, go to tournaments.drf.com.