09/15/2016 1:54PM

McIntyre feels at home at Woodbine


Tepin, the Queen of the Turf, makes her return to the races at Woodbine on Saturday. But it’s another dominant force who the eyes of the contest world will be on: Cheryl McIntyre of Massillon, Ohio.

McIntyre, 64, is having a phenomenal year by any standard. She has won four seats to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (she’ll have to transfer two of them), and currently sits fifth on the National Handicapping Championship Tour. Woodbine is the scene of two of her recent triumphs. She has won a summer contest there two years running, and projects to be one of the player’s to watch in this weekend’s $3,500 Canadian live-bank event, the first of its kind at Woodbine.

“I really like that track,” McIntyre said. “When the weather cooperates I do well on turf. I actually did better on the old synthetic surface before the Tapeta, I’m still trying to figure this one out.”

Generally speaking, McIntyre does best in turf racing. “I look at breeding and pay attention to the jockeys who do well on turf, and I give extra credit to horses that have proven themselves,” she said.

Her last Woodbine appearance, a victory, was secured by a turf horse, albeit one from Saratoga. “Castellano was riding Procurement and I bet it all,” she said of the smaller money live-bank contest. “That’s what got me there.”

This time around, Woodbine is the only contest track and the stakes are higher, but she’s not worried one bit. “Obviously I’ll make bigger wagers but I’m not usually the kind of person who goes all-in on one horse,” she explained. “I’m a grinder and I don’t want to be done early.”

Will Tepin be a key part of her strategy on Saturday? After all, live-bank contests allow favorites to potentially come into play as exotic betting vehicles.

“I’m always trying to beat a prohibitive favorite just because I’ve gotten burned so many times,” she said, citing a recent example from a Canterbury Park contest.

“In that contest you have to bet half your bankroll every race. In the first race there was a 1-9 shot who looked great and I was nervous but I used him. He ended up dead last and I was so mad at myself because I knew it wasn’t a good bet.”

McIntyre is part of a well-known contest family that includes her husband, Mike, her son Kevin, and their friend Gary Johnson. Note to the conspiracy theorists: They do not play collusively. The Ohio crew root for each other and do their own work and have their own processes.

“Gary is a former trainer and some of the stuff he looks at drives me crazy,” she said. “All day long he’ll be looking at the Form. Well, that’s good for him, not good for me. I’m lucky if I get five minutes to really study each race.”

In that time she focuses on the Racing Form plus a little something extra. “A lot of times the horse I bet leaps right up at me,” she said. “I have my own little system, a combination of three or four things that work for me.”

McIntyre plays an awful lot already. She travels to various contests and plays online every weekend. As a result, she’s not going to do anything special to chase the Tour. “I don’t search around for everything NHC because if I did that I’d be crazy and I want to have a life,” she said, “It’s not all about handicapping for me.”

Still, her regular schedule means a couple more well-timed victories could have her drawing live for the $75,000 and potential $2 million bonus given to the NHC Tour winner should she go on to win the NHC.

The Ohio crew will be driving to Toronto. More than once they’ve had variations on the following exchange at the border:

“Where are you going?”


“What are you going for?”

“A handicapping contest?”

“What’s a handicapping contest?”

“It’s a competition to determine the best horseplayer.”

“Are you owners?”

“No, we just like to pick winners.”

In 2016, no contest player has picked more winners than Cheryl McIntyre.

Steve Kendall More than 1 year ago
Sure they don't play collusively.  That's why in BCBC contest you can see they have different picks every race to give them a better chance at winning.  They usually play longshots, horses that usually have no chance, so if one hits it puts them in position to win at the end.  They may tell you otherwise but Come on Man you'd have to be a fool to believe them. 
Curtis Meyer More than 1 year ago
Steve this group of players does it all on their own.  Each having different style's.  I have played with them and there is very little discussion.  Good luck to the McIntyre's and Johnson group.
Steve Kendall More than 1 year ago
I tend to disagree, when you can see their picks (all different).  Yeah one style is pick the worst horse in the race and hope he wins then they are the only ones to move up leaving them with an entry to possibly win.  I've been in tournament with them and see their picks some of the picks the horses are lucky to even finish the race are one of their selections.  Big Pick 6 carryovers what do people do syndicate.  Big money in tourneys?? syndicate, why would it be any other way???  That's just my opinion and will never believe otherwise!!
Steve Kendall More than 1 year ago
go check out bc qualify leaderboard May 14.  8 out of 12 races just the two of them, not even looking at the other people on their team they have 4 horses running in each race to hit and move up.  Case Closed!!!!  That's just one example.  If you had enough time to look up everyday on leaderboard you would see the same thing.  Enough said.  Oh, or is that just a coincidence???   Hmm!!!   Farce!!!
Mike Eves More than 1 year ago
Great article Peter.  I have to categorically disagree with the above.  The McIntyre's play our Woodbine tournaments on a regular basis and they hardly even talk to each other when they are playing.  What does it matter if they play different horses, isn't that the idea?  If they played the exact same horses and won people would start to think they were getting inside information and ask why they aren't playing different picks. One can always find a conspiracy if one wants to look for one but  in this case there isn't one.  Cheryl and Mike are great handicappers in their own right and wonderful people I wish them every success in the NHC and BCBC and we always have a place for them at Woodbine.