06/08/2017 1:06PM

Grade 1 WCH qualifier juices Belmont Day


Saturday is a big day on DRF Tournaments with the Grade 1 qualifier for the World Championship of Handicapping on tap. Players can put up $580, and one in 10 will win their way into the $1 million, no-takeout finals.

Around 30 players in the field will have won their way into the Grade 1 via first-round contests. Starting on Saturday, DRFT also will be running $95 first-round contests for the next Grade 1 qualifier, set for Belmont’s Stars and Stripes Day on July 8. One in seven players will advance from the Round 1 to the Grade 1, where one in 10 will win $5,000 berths to the WCH.

Also on Saturday, players can put up $108 to play in a qualifier for the Wynn Challenge. One in 27 will win packages worth $2,500, which includes a full Wynn buy-in along with $500 in travel. The Wynn contest is a two-day, mythical-bankroll event that focuses on Del Mar and Saratoga. It’s a must for many serious contest players.

On Sunday, the Del Mar Betting Challenge takes center stage. It costs $400 to play, and one in 22 players will win $7,500 prize packages. Del Mar’s contest is a live-bankroll “major” tournament that annually attracts a strong field.

For more information about these tournaments and a list of feeders, matchups, credit-builders, and winner-takes-all events, go to tournaments.drf.com.

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Cettina goes live

One of the players competing in this weekend’s Belmont Betting Challenge is Roger Cettina. Cettina has been on a roll of late, landing two entries in the prize pool at last weekend’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize contest. It was a significant result for Cettina, who finished fourth and 11th, as he’s always been known as more of a mythical-money player who hasn’t done as well in live-bankroll formats.

“I feel better about my play in live-bankroll contests now because I’ve been able to hit some exotic bets,” he said. “I read [Steve Crist’s] ‘Exotic Betting’ book recently, and it’s been very helpful. In exactas, the horses that are short prices who you don’t like are almost as important as the ones that you do like.”

His big hit came in Belmont’s eighth race last Saturday.

“I had the winner [Tainted Angel, 5.90-1] and the exacta [with Kissin Cassie, $211 for $2],” he said. “I bet them both to win and place also. That got me started, and then I had the winner in the last race at Monmouth, which got me up to fourth.”

Asked about his decision to back up his plays with place bets, he said, “I’m used to betting that way, especially with [Kissin Cassie], who was 22-1. When one of your longshots runs well, you want to get something back.”

Cettina used a little tote-board reading to assist in his use of Recapitulation, the Monmouth winner. “He was off the claim, and he was 4-5 when they first showed the odds, and he started to drift up,” he said about the horse who went off at 2-1. “That’s one of my favorite angles: following the money.”