11/05/2017 1:34PM

Gabbay rallies late to win Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge


Nisan Gabbay, Kevin McFarland, and Christian Hellmers achieved their first brush with fame years ago when TVG profiled them and gave them their long-standing nickname. On a live broadcast, they played the pick six and hit 5 of 6 on a day no one swept the wager. They won more than $14,000.

Yesterday at the Breeders’ Cup, Gabbay won enough money to make that amount look like the tip he might leave at the north county nightclub where he celebrated his win in the world’s biggest live-bankroll contest, the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge.

Gabbay ended up with a score of $176,000 and gets more than $300,000 more in prize money, making this the biggest win in live-bankroll contest history. With two races left, he had quite a hill to climb. He had $7,200, and the winner stood around $150,000.

“I loved Talismanic, the European shipper,” Gabbay said, “so I put $4,000 to win on the horse at 14-1, and that jumped me to $55,000.”

At that point, there was a big decision to make: what to do in the Classic.

“I thought about just putting it to win on Gun Runner,” Gabbay said, “but I saw that putting the money to win wouldn’t guarantee the victory. I decided to take a little more risk to go for the win.”

His main opinion in the race was to be anti-Arrogate, so he constructed a play where he’d crush the exacta if Gun Runner won and Arrogate ran out. “I put in big exactas with West Coast, Collected, and Gunnevera in second, and luckily Gun Runner dug in and held off Collected at the end. Had it been Collected over Gun Runner, it would have been a different story. I’d have gone to zero.”

The winning exacta he played was for $15,000.

Since that TVG feature, Gabbay, McFarland, and Hellmers have been dominant in the contest world, with McFarland and Hellmers cashing big and winning tournaments on a regular basis. Gabbay has had plenty of success but no major wins. This changes all that.

Gabbay felt philosophical after the victory. “Early on, I had some tough beats and close calls, but sometimes the luck really does even out,” he said. “I believe that skill rises to the top in these tournaments.”

The Pick Six Boys’ long run of success is a living testament to that last point.

For the final BCBC standings, click here.