07/18/2016 1:00PM

Rookie Zaretsky has big weekend


The biggest winner last weekend on DRF Tournaments was Dan Zaretsky, a National Handicapping Championship Tour rookie who is second in the Rookie Tour standings behind Pete Dressens on the strength of four solid scores in NHCQualify events. But it was on the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifying side where he made his mark Saturday.

Zaretsky won his $10,000 bankroll for the BCBC in a BCQualify event. His $107.40 total came mostly from two contest races: Gulfstream’s 10th race, where Sweetie Girl returned $31.60 win-place combined, and Del Mar’s third, where Cindys Secret was worth $55 win-place combined.

He collected a few points in three other races, and that’s a good thing for him because second-place finisher David Bajorek had a strong day as well with $98.60, thanks to points collections in seven races, including Cindys Secret. Third place went to Shea Harrod ($95.40), who had both Sweetie Girl and Cindys Secret but collected points in only one other race. For their efforts, Bajorek and Harrod receive their $2,500 entry fees to the BCBC but they must provide their own $7,500 bankrolls.

In Saturday’s nearly sold-out Battle of Saratoga qualifier, three players won two entries each. Robert Rosenzweig was first overall with $99.10, followed by Frank Foss ($97.10) and Sean O’Connor ($91.30). The Battle of Saratoga rules have changed this year. There will be two separate contests Aug. 10-11, each with a $1,000 buy-in.

Sunday’s headliner was a qualifier for the Santa Anita Autumn Championship on Oct. 8-9 at the Great Race Place. Ken McMahan ($107.30), one of the leaders on the 2016 NHC Tour, got the top prize, which includes his $4,500 Santa Anita entry as well as $500 for travel.

The qualification could prove significant for McMahan. NHC Tour rules count a player’s six best scores on the year, at least one of which must come in an on-site event. To this point, McMahan has five strong online scores of more than 2,000 points for top finishes via NHCQualify and elsewhere. His only live points came from the Monmouth Park Pick Your Prize contest, where he received just over 1,000 points. A big performance in an event like the Autumn Championship would stamp him as a top contender for one of the top slots.

McMahan cashed in seven of the 12 races Sunday, with his biggest score ($51.20 win-place combined) coming from Free N Clear in Belmont’s seventh. But the real reason he got the top spot was a good run late, with points collections in four of the last five races, including critical 5-2 winner Mr. Louis in Del Mar’s third, the penultimate contest race.

Brett Wiener ($97), a perennial force on the NHC Tour, finished second, and Zaretsky ($62.20) capped an impressive weekend with a third.

Action will return to DRF Tournaments on Wednesday with a spate of contests. There will be feeders for Saturday’s Battle of Saratoga and BCBC qualifiers as well as Sunday’s NHC and Santa Anita Autumn Championship qualifiers. The top 10 percent of finishers advance. These events will come back Thursday and Friday as well. Players can qualify to major contests for as little as $12.

There also will be at least three credit-builder contests each day: an 11-entrant, $150 winner-take-all contest, a $500 credit builder where three of 35 entries cash, and a feeder to Saturday’s $2,500 credit builder, where the top 10 percent of entries advance.

For more information, check out DRF Tournaments.