08/07/2017 2:50PM

Longshot lifts Wilganowski, Richman into WCH

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David Wilganowski and Sammy Richman are the latest winners of $5,000 entries to the World Championship of Handicapping via DRF Tournaments. The WCH is a million-dollar online contest with no takeout that will take place early next year.

Entries in last Saturday’s Grade 1 qualifier cost $580, but many players won their way in through first-round events that cost only $95. The WCH qualifying process is notable because of the ratios of prizes to entries at both stages. In Round 1, one in seven entries advance. From the Grade 1, one in 10 win their $5,000 entries.

Wilganowski finished best of the 24 entries in Saturday’s contest with a score of $92.90 in the 12-race, $2 mythical win-place format. He got on the board in the contest’s third leg with Derby Champagne ($22) in Saratoga’s fifth. In the contest’s second half, he heated up, cashing in four of five races, none for more than $11.

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But what really put him over the top was Saratoga’s 10th, the De La Rose Stakes. His initial selection, Freudie Anne, scratched, but his alternate pick, Thundering Sky, scored and returned big balloons – $37.80 for win and place. At that point, he was going to qualify barring something really crazy happening.

Richman ended up with $70.30. He chipped away with minor collections throughout the contest and then exploded with Thundering Sky. In the end, he was $15 clear of the third-place finisher.

Also on Saturday, Francisco Cruz ($81.10) won an entry to Monmouth’s Super Qualifier on Aug. 26, Travers Day. Cruz’s big winners came early on with Estrechada ($29.60) in the Waya and Zenner ($39.90) in the Lure. He still needed $11.60 from Warrior’s Club in the Spa nightcap to just elevate him over an unlucky Gary Gristick, who lost by less than $2 after starting well and going cold late.

Last but not least, three players won into the Saratoga Handicapping Challenge, which takes place Wednesday and Thursday, via last-chance qualifiers on DRFT: Tony Zhou, Alex Calzi, and Edward Peters.

Contest action returns to DRF Tournaments on Wednesday with first-round contests for the next Grade 1 WCH qualifier, which takes place Aug. 19. Once again, first-round qualifiers cost $95, and one in seven will advance to the Grade 1 on Alabama Day.

There will also be feeders, credit-builders, matchups, and winner-takes-all contests this week, with some exciting new announcements expected soon. Go to tournaments.drf.com for more information.