10/17/2016 12:03PM

Five more qualify to BCBC


With the 2016 Breeders’ Cup nearly here, the BCQualify online contest attracted 178 entries on Saturday, with five players winning their way into the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge: Grier Bibby ($125.10), Eric Pineiro ($113.50), Tim Herboth ($112.60), Tom Heller ($107.30), and David Gutfreund ($106.20).

The overall winner was Bibby, who started strongly by selecting Plainview ($21.30 win-place combined) in Belmont’s second race. Grier scored with five more collections, the longest priced of which was Thundering Sky ($48.80) in Belmont’s eighth.

There was plenty of contrast among the qualifiers in their manners of victory. Pineiro and Gutfreund started ice cold, managing only $6.80 between the two of them in the contest’s first half. But as has been shown many times before, you should never give up. Pineiro connected in six of the last seven races, his biggest price being Thundering Sky. For Gutfreund, Thundering Sky was his first collection, and he backed that up with three of the last five winners.

Herboth and Heller took the opposite approach, getting off to fast starts. They both had Armoire ($18.80) at Keeneland and Plainview. This jump start allowed them to get through even without Thundering Sky’s help.

In Sunday’s headliner, two players won their way into the National Handicapping Championship via NHCQ event. Ryan Scharnowske ($182.20) and Ruben Lopez ($166.60) are headed to Las Vegas in January.

Scharnowske ran up the score. He cashed in seven contest events, and had most of the longest prices, including Calgary Cat ($47 win-place) in Woodbine’s sixth, Long Ago ($63.20) in Keeneland’s ninth, and Erupt ($35.80) in the Canadian International.

Lopez was on zero after five races but caught fire thereafter. He caught Kathy’s Humor ($45.60) at Belmont, followed up two races later with Truly Ponti ($22) at Santa Anita, and hit the same Long Ago-Erupt double as Scharnowske.

Scharnowske also became the latest player to show the power of multi-tabling on Sunday. If you’ve done the work, why not double your potential for a return? He absolutely crushed the field to win a seat for the Gulfstream Conquer the Crown event on the same set of races.

Next weekend’s highlights on DRF Tournaments include the $300 buy-in NHC qualifier on Saturday, where one in 38 entries will receive an NHC seat, $1,000 in travel, and a four-night stay at Treasure Island. Up to three winning packages will be awarded and one is guaranteed.

There’s also a $135 buy-in qualifier for the Gulfstream Conquer the Crown contest on Saturday. In that event, one in 30 entries will advance to the Gulfstream contest, which will be held Dec. 3. Seats to both the NHC and BCBC will be offered.

Speaking of the BCBC, one of the final online qualifiers takes place on Sunday. For $400, players will compete for one of up to four winning packages, which include the full $10,000 buy-in and $500 in travel.

There will be low buy-in feeders, credit builders, and match-up contests each day starting Wednesday where you can fund your contest play. Check out tournaments.drf.com for all the particulars.

Steigmeier wins at Keeneland

Keeneland’s fall contest took place this Sunday as well. The overall winner was Ryan Steigmeier. The 38-year-old title insurance executive from North Royalton, Oh., parlayed his original $2,000 live bankroll into a final total of $13,870.  His key play came early on, keying favorite Verve’s Tale in the third race over four horses in second with Sardinia in third. One of his four horses was 43-1 longshot Sacred Luna, and he cashed a $50 exacta and a $20 trifecta for a total of $14,343 in winnings. He also won $12,500 in cash plus seats to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and National Handicapping Championship.

Steigmeier played conservatively for the rest of the day. The Keeneland format requires contestants to play one-half of their bankrolls in one of the last two races. Ryan “dutched” the eighth race by spreading win bets among the field, and maintained his position at the top of the field.

David Gamble of Brentwood, Tenn., finished second with a $9,991.40 bankroll. Waiting until the end to make his move, Gamble hit a $25 trifecta in the eighth, with 4-1 shot Moiety heading up a trifecta that netted him $2,022. He also hit the tri in the ninth, with 28-1 shot Long Ago keying a $2 all-longshot trifecta that paid him $7,730. He also gets both BCBC and NHC seats.

Cheryl McIntyre’s amazing year continued. She played patiently until the eighth race, then went all in ($1,890) to win on 4-1 shot Moiety, netting $10,017 plus $6,000 in prize money. That’s her fifth BCBC spot for 2016 (she will have to transfer three of them). McIntyre has also had a banner year on the NHC Tour, and her third-place finish in a big-field, on-track tournament will move her up toward the top of the leaderboard. She’s already double-qualified for the NHC.

Also earning BCBC seats were Ken McMahan ($9,812 plus $5,000 purse), Tom Maloof ($7,690 plus $4,000), Dan Hartmann ($7,060 plus $2,000), and Jim Casey ($5,220 plus $2,000). 

Additional NHC seats were won by Maloof, Hartmann, Jim Casey, Steven Shaffer ($5,011 plus $2,000 plus $2,500 partial BCBC seat), and Will Nefzger ($4,943 plus $2,000 plus $2,500 partial BCBC). Lawrence Kahlden ($4,352) also won $2,000 in purse and a $2,500 partial BCBC seat.