12/03/2016 7:59PM

Skiba's huge exacta hit on last race wins Conquer the Crown

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Garett Skiba won the Conquer the Crown contest Saturday on the opening day of Gulfstream Park’s championship meet. Skiba earned a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seat plus an additional $14,500, including a BCBC travel award.

 Skiba, best in a field of 62 entries, 19 of which were qualified through DRF Tournaments, had wagered his entire bankroll as the gates were about to pop for the last race. His winning bet was a $400 exacta in the finale, the Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes. The favored Keystoneforvictory (3-1) dug in gamely in the stretch to prevail over longshot Flashy Chelsey, returning $156.40 for every $2 bet, and netting Skiba his final score of $31,280.

 Second-place finisher Brian Chenvert wins a seat to the National Handicapping Championship, plus $8,000. His closing bankroll was $24,936. Joining Chenvert at the NHC will be Donald Chung, who also collected $6,500 and kept his $14,880 bankroll. The fourth through sixth finishers also collected additional prize money: Mark Woodson ($9,641.70) earned $5,500, Paul Scott ($9002) got $4,500, and Pete Accocella ($6,270) collected $3,600.

 The contest required a $3,000 buy-in, $2,000 of which acted as a live bankroll and the other $1,000 funded the prize pool. Players wagered on a minimum of eight of the 11 Gulfstream races in the win, place, show, exacta, trifecta, and daily double pools.

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 It has been an unbelievable year for Skiba, who adds this win to several previous successes. Most recently he was 11th of 397 entries in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, the king of all live bank contests. Prior to that, he won Belmont’s high buy-in live bankroll contest and was second in the Kentucky Derby Betting Challenge. Lest you think cash play is the only contest skill he has, he has also done well in three mythical online events.

 Skiba should be fifth in the NHC Tour standings after this weekend. Unfortunately for him, when it comes to Tour points, buy-in size is irrelevant. It’s big fields that make for events where large amounts of points are available. He may not win the Tour, but nobody has had a better 2016 playing contests than Garett Skiba.