11/17/2008 12:00AM

Staten Island handicapper wins contest


Jerry McClenin, a 51-year-old printing press operator from Staten Island, N.Y., won Aqueduct’s Fall Handicapping Challenge, defeating a field of more than 200 rival horseplayers during the Saturday and Sunday event and taking down the top prize of $35,000.

McClenin finished with a mythical bankroll of $1,091, and edged out Thomas Mooney, who earned $10,000 for finishing second as well as a $1,000 bonus for being the leader after the first day of the two-day contest.

Ken Seeman finished in third.

The top three finishers will make up Team Aqueduct at the 2009 NTRA/Daily Racing Form National Handicapping Championship, to be held Jan. 23-24 at the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas.

"I was in good position heading into Day 2, so my strategy was too bide my time and wait to make my bets until late in the card," said McClenin, who took the lead when Step Out Smartly won the eighth race on Sunday at Churchill Downs at 5-1.