05/27/2016 1:22PM

Kamis takes feeder to NHC qualifier


The great thing about the new feeder contests on tournaments.drf.com is that they offer players a low-cost way to win in to horse racing's best and richest tournaments.

Just ask "Jersey" Josh Kamis. Kamis, 48, a county government roadway inspector, who gained an entry for Sunday's National Handicapping Championship qualifier Thursday on the new DRF Tournaments site. Should he be one of the top finishers there, he will take a shot at winning his share of $2.5 million at the NHC in January.

"I am not a big bankroll guy," he said. "I play small to win big."

He doesn't feel at all intimidated when he sees the names of past NHC champions and other well-known players with his on the leaderboard. "I am not scared or afraid of who I play against," he continued. "If you can't handle the opponent you're in the wrong game."

Kamis spent yesterday morning at work, but took some time at lunch to put in his picks. "I looked over the contest card Wednesday night and told my wife 'I need to play in this,' " he said. "She is not the biggest fan of my contest play, except of course when I win."

Kamis's story of his horseplayer origins has a familiar ring but with a new twist. His dad took him to Maryland-area tracks -- Bowie, Pimlico, Laurel -- when he was as young as 7 or 8. "I hit my first exacta for $100.60 and I still have the 50-cent piece that the teller gave me," he explained, adding, "No, I don't carry it around, I just have it."

He's also dabbled on the ownership side as a member of Fantasy Lane Stable. One of his runners, Uptowncharlybrown, competed in the 2010 Belmont.

He's played in contests for over a decade. His first one came at Monmouth on Travers Day in 2004. "Monmouth had a contest that was straight $20 win plays," he said. "I thought, I can't be out bet and can pick a few winners, so I went down not knowing anyone else."

He had a great time and ended up ninth in the field of approximately 200. "After that I was done, hooked and in the contest boat," he said.

For the Thursday contest, which featured the All-In format -- all picks must be entered before the first race -- Kamis used a blend of likely winners and a few prices.

"In my opinion, you can't win in the All-In format without looking for two or three price horses," he said,. "I need to get the points and build as the races go. I heard a contest player say that if you shoot for $10 a race you will be close. Today I won with $78, pretty spot on in an eight-race contest I'd say."

Kamis has qualified for the NHC twice online, once via an NTRA free event. He is pretty psyched heading into this weekend's action.

"I'm looking to get back to the NHC and with this qualifier I have a shot on Sunday --  in on the cheap with a chance to win big."