06/26/2017 12:16PM

Pair win Del Mar seats on DRFT


Ali Aksoy and Pat Gianforte were the big winners on DRF Tournaments last weekend, each netting a $7,000 seat to the Del Mar Handicapping Challenge, plus $500 in travel, by finishing best in separate 22-player qualifiers.

Aksoy got off to a fast start by collecting points in the first four of the 12 contest events. His winners included Tam Tam Attack ($32.60 win-place combined) in Churchill’s sixth and Cat’s Halo ($22.60) in Belmont’s sixth. As it turned out, the $72 he received from the first four races would have been enough to win, but he added $13.10 from Souperfast in Belmont’s ninth.

Aksoy, a 70-year-old resident of Toronto who was born in Turkey, is still looking for his first win in a major tournament, but he’s developed a good reputation in contest circles over the past two years with high finishes at Keeneland’s Grade One Gamble and one of Woodbine’s contests. Perhaps he’ll finally taste victory in a major come Del Mar.

:: Get a jump on the Del Mar meet and save on PPs, wagering strategies, and more

Gianforte, a well-liked tournament veteran, finished with $93.50. He hit in eight races, with his longest price also being Tam Tam Attack. From there, he chipped away, holding off John Nichols by just under $9.

Also on DRFT last weekend, three players won into the Wynn Challenge via two different contests. The larger event had 54 participants who put $108 each to play. Robert Schneider and Jobby Blevins advanced to the Wynn. Schneider also started with Tam Tam Attack and adding six more collections, including Marriage Fever ($22) in Belmont’s eighth, for a total of $100.90. Blevins ($94.70) hit in six races, with Cat’s Halo and Zipp on By ($31) in Churchill’s 10th leading the way.

There was also a high-roller Wynn qualifier where 10 players put up $290 each. Brian Johnson was the winner there with just $59, demonstrating the power of the player-friendly ratio of prizes to entries: A much lower total is required to advance. Johnson had a solid day with five collections, including Cat’s Halo.

Tournament action returns to DRFT on Wednesday with feeders, credit-builders, matchups, and first-round qualifiers for major contests. You can get in on the action for as little as $10 and end up winning into the contest world’s biggest events, including the Del Mar contest, the Wynn Challenge, and the World Championship of Handicapping.

Every operating day, DRFT offers first-round contests where players put up $95 and one in seven advance to a Grade 1 qualifier. The next Grade 1 takes place July 8, and one in 10 players will win $5,000 entries for the $1 million, no-takeout WCH.

Check tournaments.drf.com each day for a list of contests.