12/21/2006 1:00AM

Pippenger rolls at Beulah



Jason Pippenger of Cincinnati, Ohio was certainly in the zone during the Beulah Park National Handicapping Championship Qualifier Handicapping Contest on Dec. 9. Pippenger cashed on eight of the 15 plays required in the contest, many of them at big prices, to dominate a tournament field of 354 entries. In so doing, Pippenger earned first prize of $21,000 as well as one of the berths offered to the first six finishers in the Beulah contest to the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship on Jan. 26 and 27 at Bally's Las Vegas.

Pippenger finished with a total mythical bankroll of $222.80 in a contest with a format that required $2 win and place wagers on a single horse in 15 different races. Eight of the 15 races were mandatory live races from Beulah, while the other seven were optional choices by the contestants on races at Aqueduct, Calder Race Course, Fair Grounds, Hawthorne, Hollywood Park, Laurel Park, Tampa Bay Downs, and Turfway Park.

Pippenger finished first by almost $80, a whopping margin due directly to the fact that six of his eight win and place wagers returned $55.40, $44.20, $22, $24.80, $32.20, and $40.80.

The second through sixth place finishers, all of whom also earned spots in the NHC, with final bankrolls, were: Mark Ely of Grove City, Ohio, $143; Richard Armstrong of Arlington, Tx., $138.80; David Petrosek of Florence, Ky., $131.80; Dean Goulet of Nashua, N.H., $128.90; and Pat Gianforte of Cary, Il., $126.40.


Speaking of dominant handicapping contest victories, David Malatesta of Wilmington, De., posted just such a score over 361 other contest entries in the Delaware Park Handicapping Tournament on Dec. 9 to earn a first prize of $18,000 and a berth in the DRF /NTRA National Handicapping Championship on Jan. 26 and 27 at Bally's Las Vegas.

This tournament was a real money contest requiring contestants to put up an entry fee of $100, plus a $200 betting stake. Contestants had to make a minimum wager of $20 per race with no maximum wager cap on at least 10 races, although there was no limit to the number of races a contestant could play. Contestants had their choice of races from Aqueduct, Calder, Laurel, Philadelphia Park, Tampa Bay Downs, and Turfway.

Although Malatesta's contest total of $6,619.20 was nearly $2,800 higher than the runner up's, he did not move to the lead until he cashed a $700 win wager on Richland Creek ($17.60) in the 12th and final race from Turfway Park.

Helaine Barash of Staten Island, N.Y., finished second with a final total of $3,828.50 and earned the tournament's other berth to the NHC. Barash bet $435 on Richland Creek, who was a first time starter in a maiden special weight event.

Malatesta owns racehorses, and campaigned Smart Guy, winner of the 1999 Pennsylvania Derby. This will be his first trip to the NHC. Barash has been to the NHC at least once before.


Charlie Chapple of Louisiana, Douglas Burden of Texas, and Allan Corns of New York all earned berths in the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship on Jan. 26 and 27 at Bally's Las Vegas by finishing first, second and third, respectively, in the TVG Internet Online Handicapping Contest on Dec. 10.

TVG's online contest format required contestants to make win and place bets on races 4, 6, and 7 at Aqueduct, races 6-8 at Fair Grounds, and races 5-8 at Hollywood Park. Chapple finished with a bankroll of $126.50, besting Burden's final total of $123.20, and Corns's tally of $120.10.