Updated on 09/16/2011 6:53AM

Mineo is ultimate Turf-Vivor


Jim Mineo, a veteran horseplayer from Plantation, Florida, defeated Benjamin O'Connell to win first prize in Gulfstream Park's Turf-Vivor Thoroughbred handicapping contest.

Mineo, 46, beat a field of 120 handicappers who came from all over the U.S. as well as Canada and Venezuela for the tournament. He earned a first prize of $100,000.

"I was pretty happy with the whole tournament especially the way it was designed to involve less luck and more skill," said Mineo who defeated O'Connell in the final round by correctly selecting Ms Brookski who paid $28.80 for winning the Davona Dale Stakes.

John DeMott of East Rutherford, New Jersey, and Stephan Franklin of Guttenburg, New Jersey, tied for third position and also qualified for spots in the Daily Racing Form/NTRA Championship IV in Las Vegas along with Mineo and O'Connell, who hails from Marlboro, New Jersey.

The Turf-Vivor contest had an unusual format. There were two preliminary rounds in which each contestant wagered $2 across the board on one horse in five selected races. The top 16 money earners advanced to a head-to-head competition in which the highest seeds competed against the lowest until one player survived. In case of ties in the head to head matchups, the higher seeds advanced. One savvy high seed used this rule to his advantage when replacing one of his scratched picks with the same selection his lower seeded opponent had made.

The head-to-head competition will reduce the field until a champion is determined. "It's designed like the NCAA basketball championships," said Savin.

The Turf-Vivor name was a takeoff on the popular television reality series, "Survivor."

Top 4 Finishers Turf-Vivor

Place NameCityState

1 - Mineo Jim Plantation Florida

2 - Benjamin O'ConnellMarlboroNew Jersey

3T - Franklin StephanGuttenburgNew Jersey

3T -DeMott JohnEast RutherfordNew Jersey

Top 16 Standings (preliminaries)

Seed Name City, StateTotal Pts

1 -Paul BendettiWoodland Hills, Cal. 111.40

2 -Thomas DeAngelo North Wales Penn. 96.80

3 -Mitch WalkerClearwater, Florida96.80

4 -Myles RichardsPembroke Pines, Florida80.40

5 -Benjamin O'ConnellMarlboro, New Jersey80.20

6 -Daniel HurtakPlantation, Florida79.80

7 -Stephan FranklinGuttenburg, New Jersey77.80

8 -Igor MirambauHallandale Beach, Fla.77.20

9 -Joe KasperskiPalos Hills, Illinois 76.60

10 -Patrick CroninMargate, Florida75.20

11 -Jim MineoPlantation, Florida73.40

12 - Robert DeMeoOakbrook, IL71.80

13 -J. Randy GalloJupiter, Florida70.40

14 -Charles SavageBrooklyn, New York69.40

15 -John DeMottEast Rutherford, N.J.69.20

16 -David GoldsteinPembroke Pines, Fla.67.00