01/25/2014 10:14PM

National Handicapping Championship: No change at the top after two days

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Jose Arias of Los Angeles posted the top bankroll on each of the first two days of the National Handicapping Championship.

And then there were 50. Day 2 of the National Handicapping Championship at the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas is in the books. Just as he did on Day 1, Jose Arias, a 36-year-old environmental safety engineer from Bell Gardens in Los Angeles, put up an impressive performance, amassing $127.20 for a two-day total of $326.

His biggest win on the day came in Santa Anita’s ninth race, the California Cup Turf Classic, as Brian Koriner’s horse Weewinnin came through and paid $44.80 and $22, though for NHC purposes payoffs are capped at 20-1 ($42) to win and 10-1 ($22) to place.

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 “I was impressed when he won his last stakes race,” Arias said of the 4-year-old Weewinnin, who last won in the King Glorious Stakes at Hollywood Park more than a year ago. “I thought that was a good race for that level and I didn’t see anything else in the race that was that imposing.”

While the bulk of his bankroll has come from betting the California tracks he knows best, Arias is confident he will be well-prepared for the morning’s Final 50 contest with races limited to five tracks east of the Rockies.

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 “Ideally, yes, I’d like West Coast races, but I’ve played East Coast tracks, too, and I’m aware of what they have,” Arias said. “I’ve been playing horses for more than 20 years so I just have to study the races and find the best plays.”

On Sunday morning at the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas, the 50 remaining entrants will compete to advance to the Final table of 10 and the chance to win $750,000 and an Eclipse Award.

After a 10- race sequence, the field will be winnowed again to a Final table of 10 who will battle it out for the honor of being crowned NHC Champion.

Other notable entrants in the Final 50 include former NHC champs Judy Wagner (2001) and James Michelson, Jr. (2005). Michelson is one of two contestants to have earned two finishes in the top 50 along with Richard Muller. However, by rule, players can hold only one spot in the contest for the third day, so they will receive cash bonuses for their achievement. And as a result, the two men tied for 51st place, Rich Nilsen and Jamaal Barnett will get a chance to compete.

Nick Alpino, currently in second place with $279.20, put up the best score on Day 2 ($206) to earn the $6,000 day money and an all-expenses paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge.

Two of the profiled Daily Racing Form players-to-watch also earned berths in the Final 50, Trey Stiles (eighth place with $225) and Paul Shurman (29th place with $183). The 450 remaining NHC entrants will have their bankrolls reset and compete in a consolation tournament on Sunday.

Sunday races selected

The list of Sunday’s mandatory races and optional contest tracks for the Final 50 Tournament (and the concurrent Consolation Tournament) and the Final Table have been announced.

Final 50 participants will play 10 races – three mandatory and seven optional. The mandatory races are Tampa Bay Downs, race 4 (10:57 a.m. Pacific); Gulfstream Park, race 5 (11:36 a.m.); and Oaklawn Park, race 2 (11:57 a.m.). Optional races can be selected from Aqueduct, races 1-7; Fair Grounds, races 1-4; Gulfstream, races 1-6; Oaklawn, races 1-3; and Tampa Bay, races 1-7. The last scheduled post time for the Final 50 is race 4 at Fair Grounds, set for 12:26 p.m. Pacific.

The top 10 scorers from the Final 50 will move on to the Final Table, where all players will make $2 win and place bets on five mandatory races: Gulfstream, race 10 (2:03 p.m.); Gulfstream, race 11 (2:33 p.m.), Fair Grounds, race 9 (2:55 p.m.); Santa Anita, race 8 (4 p.m.); and Santa Anita, race 9 (4:30 p.m.). The final NHC race, the ninth at Santa Anita, is a $12,500 claiming event ($16,000 purse) for older non-winners of two races at six furlongs with a field of 11.

National Handicapping Championship Final 50
1) Jose Arias, S326.00
2) Nick Alpino, $279.20
3) Christopher Skotz, $267.80
4) Michael Piccola, $248.40
5) Tony Brice, $239.00
6) Lynn McGuire, $234.20
7) Mike McIntyre, $232.80
8) Trey Stiles, $225.00
9) Dennis Dougherty, $209.00
10) Glenn Yee, $207.40
11) Craig Hom, $207.00
12) George Chute, $204.20
13) Joel Wincowski, $02.80
14) Francis Boustany, $202.60
15) Dan Shugar, $202.20
16) Daniel Kovalesky, $200.60
17) Don Allen, $199.80
18) Sam Alipio, $197.80
19) Robert Bertolucci, $197.60
20) Chris Littlemore, $196.60
21) Paul Parker, $196.20
22) Jose Raphael, $193.80
23) RIchard Mueller, $193.00
24) James Michelson Jr., $189.60
25) Robert Lowe, $188.50
26) Joe Whitacre, $186.00
27) John Wilhelmm, $85.00
28) Timothy Row, $183.20
29) Paul Shurman, $183.00
29) Jose Suarez, $183.00
31) David Snyder, $182.80
31) Allan Sadler, $182.80
33) Amy Brantley, $181.80
34) William Zvara, $181.60
35) Benjamin Beychok, $179.80
35) Jim Sims, $179.80
37) Jim O'Nail, $179.00
38) Robert Schwartz, $178.60
39) Burt Shapiro, $178.40
40) James Michelson Jr., $178.20
40) Ryan Flanders, $178.20
42) Paul Hoffman, $177.20
43) Jeffrey Wright, $175.90
44) Wendy Long, $75.60
44) Jason Hill, $175.60
46) James Amedure, $175.40
47) Judy Wagner, $174.40
48) Terry Wraight, $174.20
49) Gary Johnson, $173.90
50) RIchard Mueller, $173.60
51) Rich Nilsen, $173.20*
51) Jamaal Barnett, $173.20*
* Nilsen and Barnett qualify for the Final 50 because two players (James Michelson Jr. and RIchard Mueller) finished in the top 50 with two entries each but will only be permitted to play one entry in the Final 50.

jackdsplns More than 1 year ago
They are all lucky that I did not enter that contest. Jose hang in there amigo. The tequila is gonna taste mighty nice if you emerge victorious. Be careful a bomb is gonna win the last race at Gulfstream today. I will not reveal the name because I want to cash in on him myself.
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
The tequilla , Horchata , & taco comments are uncalled for jerk.
jackdsplns More than 1 year ago
i suppose you have a point you cornbread hog maw moonshine snorting snortin hick
Adam Albert More than 1 year ago
What a joke JACK 5-2 oh bombs away 7 dollar winner that's why you couldn't say cause you had no IDEA!!!
jackdsplns More than 1 year ago
Yeah Adam I was wrong I admit it. You cant win them all. It does not shake my confidence. There 's still Anita's pick 4 and if I don't hit that I will try again next weekend.
Marie Jost More than 1 year ago
Did the "Horseplayers" Team Rotundo miss a mandatory play on Friday?
Bob Cordaro More than 1 year ago
Dan, It would be interesting to know what info the leaders use to handicap.
Goldhybrid More than 1 year ago
Right. I'd like to know if they can use formulator.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a stupid promotion. Btw. that big superfecta in SA race 7 on saturday; there wasnt a winner like was listed. Thats right No winning ticket, entire pool $$$ went to owners of track.
Goldhybrid More than 1 year ago
Seriously? What law provides for that?
Goldhybrid More than 1 year ago
Equibase reports the payoff was $1,235,437.40. But the pool is reported to have been only $162,039.
Paul Cavanaugh More than 1 year ago
it just means there was a .10 winner of 123,543.74...
Joseph Giambra More than 1 year ago
looks like fuzzy math to me, I would think you would have to beak into dime increments after you take the tracks take out of around 30% on supers out.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If your tri or super doesnt have all the numbers as posted on the toteboard, then how did you know to take it to cash? Your saying they cash your super even when you dont have all the horses right, just 3 out of 4. And you cashed it? Your delusional.
chiefdave777 More than 1 year ago
See 2 people did not make top 50 by 60 Cents. Several others by less than a buck. I do not think this plan works.
Robert More than 1 year ago
I don’t like the format either. What is the contest? Who is the best handicapper or who is the best horse player or gambler? If it is a true handicapping contest then everyone should play the same 10-12 races each day with $2 win / place bets with no cap? If it is a who is the best horse player then have 5 mandatory races and 7 pick your own with a bank role and no min bet or restriction on type of bet. If it is a gambling contest just a bank role with a min of 5 bets per day and a max of 12 with no cap on amount of bet , win total or betting type. Just make up your mind what you want to be. Also it is ok if you want to be a TV show too. Just let us know, let TVG and HR TV give live updates or let in house feeds across the country give up dates and show the final table live and have show everyone the bets before the race.
Bob More than 1 year ago
I agree, Robert. Most handicapping contests are poorly structured, including this one...the organizers are trying to turn it into a TV poker kind of event with all this mumbo-jumbo about "final 50," "final table" and consolation tournaments. If it is a contest to determine the true handicapping ability of the participants, then it is needs to be a combination of handicapping skill and money management that determines the winner and it should mimic the conditions at the racetrack as closely as possible....No caps; no restrictions on which races can be played; no outside information from backstretch acquaintances...just a starting bankroll that is equal among all participants and let the highest score win! If you want to play multiple exotics in one race, fine. If you want to make multiple win bets in the same race, fine. Or if you want to bet your entire bankroll on a P5 or P6, fine! In the end, whoever has the most money is the winner!
Goldhybrid More than 1 year ago
What sorts of handicapping tools are they limited to?
Héctor Lebrón More than 1 year ago
Vamos, José!
George Smith More than 1 year ago
Congrats to Team TexArkCal, or Table CalTexArk now from Chris' two day performance. Four people from the same NHC table in the top 33 proudly representing their states. 3) Christopher Skotz (CAL), $267.80 (Cisco Kid, was (is) a friend of mine ... ) 8) Trey Stiles (TEX), $225.00 (Hook 'em Horns) 17) Don Allen (ARK), $199.80 (Throw a log on the fire Big Don) 33) Amy Brantley, $181.80 (Razorback filly bred to run long) Your buds in Louisiana, Illinois, and Kentucky will be pulling for you tomorrow.
kenski1975 . More than 1 year ago
Well said George. Those CA, AR, TX Breds are well rounded players, wish them luck on Sunday. Make your buds proud. Peter great job the coverage of NHC XV, wish you started 15 years ago, we would have had a 15% increase in tournament play.
Richard Wilkinson More than 1 year ago
Good folks & good handicappers...hope to see several of you @ the "final table". Good luck to all.
Michael More than 1 year ago
Good luck. Impressive 2nd day for the leader.