06/11/2016 7:28PM

Skiba wins inaugural Belmont Betting Challenge


Garett Skiba has won the inaugural Belmont Betting Challenge. Skiba is believed to be the first handicapping-contest participant to win six figures on three separate occasions, having finished third at the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and second five weeks ago at the inaugural Kentucky Derby Betting Challenge.

“It’s nice, I’m not complaining,” he said. “I woke up this morning, and thought I had some good opinions and that another six-figure score was within reach.”

Skiba wins $65,000 and a $10,000 BCBC seat and keeps his $40,655 bankroll.

Skiba had two of the 51 entries in the contest. “That was an advantage because I was able to play the second entry really conservative on Day 1, and I thought I had better opinions on Day 2,” he said, “and I tread water all day and went all in ($5,400) on the last race, which was what I really liked.”

Skiba’s main opinion all day was Creator, and he came around on Destin throughout the day. He ended up having a $4.50 trifecta and a $200 exacta in the big race. Had it come out the other way, he’d have had a $2,000 win bet on Destin and a $250 exacta plus the tri, so he was good either way the photo went.

“I thought Creator had a tough trip in the Derby,” Skiba said, “and I thought he fit the historical profile of a Belmont winner. A couple of people tried to talk me out of him, thinking he’d be too far back, but I stuck with him.”

The three major wins, all on big days, can’t be an accident. “It’s just watching races all the time and expecting certain horses to run a certain way,” he said. “What it really comes down to is seeing horses that you think should be 5-1 that go off at 10-1. Today, the timing was just right, where they ended up winning at the right time.”

Paul Weizer, second in the same BCBC where Skiba was third, ran second today, netting $52,625.00 and a BCBC seat. Weizer also scored big in the Belmont, betting $1,000 to win on Creator and catching a $50 exacta with Destin. Some might consider that a bad beat, but not Weizer. “I loved Creator all day long, but [Skiba] played him for more and deserved to win,” he said.

The third through eighth finishers will receive seats to the National Handicapping Championship, with its expected $2.5 million purse. Here is a list of the top 10 finishers Saturday:

1. Garett Skiba – $40,655.00 (BCBC seat, $65,000)
2. Paul Weizer – $27,625.00 (BCBC seat, $25,000)
3. Gene Cahalan – $20,499.00 (NHC seat, $15,000)
4. Eric Pineiro – $16,330.00 (NHC seat, $10,000)
5. Stephen Thompson – $13,994.70 (NHC seat)
6. Robert Little – $12,841.70, (NHC seat)
7. James Covello – $10,922.50, (NHC seat)
8. Francis Drew – $8,840.25, (NHC seat)
9. Sarah Wiener – $8,321.85
10. Don Chung – $7,502.50