10/23/2017 1:16PM

Grose takes shortcut into WCH end zone

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Two more players qualified for the $1 million, no-takeout finals of the World Championship of Handicapping on DRF Tournaments this weekend, Richard Grose and Rick Bengson. Those two were well clear in the field of 23.

Grose pretty much ran away with the contest, going to the front early and improving his position. In fact, the points he earned in the first contest race alone would have been good for fourth overall. In that race, Belmont’s sixth, he came up with Evaluator ($56 win-place combined), backing that result up with Queen’s Fate ($19.80) in the very next race, Keeneland’s fifth.

From there, Grose did the contest player’s equivalent of high-stepping it to the end zone on a pick six (the other kind of pick six) – he won easily despite neglecting to put in plays for two races in the middle of the contest. It didn’t matter at that point, however, and he ran up the score again late, catching small points in the last two contest events to finish with a total of $102.90.

Bengson’s path to qualification was paved by E J’s Legacy in Belmont’s seventh. The Chris Engelhart-trained gelding was listed at 12-1 on the morning line but ended up going off at 31-1. When the pace collapsed, he was able to get to the line first despite a poor start and a wide journey. He returned $63 for purposes of the contest, capped on the win end at 20-1. From there, Bengson added two more qualifications to finish with $81, more than $13 clear of third, good for his $5,000 entry in the WCH finals.

Sunday’s big winner was Bruce Pratt, who bested a field of 13 to win his $5,000 prize package for the Del Mar Fall Challenge, a live-bank betting contest that takes place the weekend after the Breeders’ Cup. Pratt was good early and late, catching place points in the first contest event with The Orphan Miracle ($8.90) and tabbing Sir Navigator ($22.80) in Keeneland’s ninth, the anchor leg. But his big winner came right in the middle of the 12-race contest, and it was awfully close. As the horses came to the line in the listed English Channel Stakes, there were three noses bobbing up and down. Fortunately for Pratt, it was Dalama ($52) who got there first, setting him up beautifully.

There will be a final qualifier for the Del Mar Fall Challenge on Saturday, Nov. 4, Breeders’ Cup Saturday. Once again, that contest will cost $580 to play and one in 10 entries will advance. Players will have an opportunity to feed into that qualifier every operating day. The feeders cost $95 and one in seven will go forward.

The same financial terms apply to the two-stage qualifying process for the World Championship of Handicapping. The next Grade 1 qualifier is Saturday, Oct. 28, and there will be $95 Round 1 events every operating day.

Contest action returns to DRFT on Wednesday with a full slate of feeders, qualifiers, credit-builders, match-ups, and winner-take-alls. Go to tournaments.drf.com for a complete look at the schedule. DRFT schedules are typically announced 48 hours before post time, so check back every day to see what’s new and suitable for you.