Updated on 09/26/2016 2:45PM

Steve Wolfson headed to BCBC


The 2003 National Handicapping Championship winner topped the BCQualify leaderboard on Sunday. Steve Wolfson Jr. won his way back to the NHC earlier this year via a DRFBets event. This weekend, he was one of five players to qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge in a two-round contest held at DRF Tournaments.

The two-stage contest format is simple. There were three Round 1 events earlier this month (including Saturday) and players finishing in the top 10 percent advanced to Round 2. From Round 2, five of the 69 entries received their full $10,000 buy-ins with three others winning their $2,500 BCBC entry fees.

The other full qualifiers were William O’Neal, Joseph Cirone, Daniel Wilde, and Patrick Gianforte, with Jeremy Eklund, Wendy Long, and Dennis Gates getting the smaller prizes. Both Gianforte and Cirone advanced to Round 2 in their final opportunity in the Saturday Round 1 – not a bad weekend of handicapping.

Wolfson, who finished with $127.90, cashed in six of the 12 contest events with his biggest winners being Papa Zulu in Churchill’s ninth race ($51 win-place combined) and Accepting ($31.50) in Belmont’s sixth.

The biggest price in the sequence was Naval War ($61.60) in Churchill’s seventh. Typically several qualifiers have the longest shot, but not in this case. Daniel Wilde was the only one in the top five to use the Thomas McCarthy-owned and -trained colt.

Speaking of the National Handicapping Championship, on Saturday two players won berths to the 2017 NHC, care of an NHCQualify contest on DRF Tournaments. Brendan Fay and Curtis Meyer finished atop the field of 145 entries

Fay ($105.40) cashed in eight of the first 10 races with Sadler’s Joy in Belmont’s seventh providing the big price he needed to secure qualification.

Tour veteran Meyer ($92.80) started off ice cold, and was sitting on zero halfway through the contest. But he didn’t let the daunting task deter him. He got on the board with Sadler’s Joy and kept grinding from there. He made small collections in three of the next four and finished strongly with Connect ($33 win/place) in the Pennsylvania Derby. In the end he was more than $7 clear of unlucky third place finisher Susie Grensing.

Also on Sunday, Robert Crowe ($138) blasted the field in his contest, winning by more than $40. As a result, he landed a $5,000 package for the upcoming Santa Anita Autumn Championship, largely on the backs on Naval War and Papa Zulu. Should Crowe go on to win the Santa Anita event, he’ll be alive for a $1 million bonus should he go on to win the BCBC.

Looking ahead to the weekend, the featured events on DRF Tournaments on Saturday are geared toward major live-bankroll events with track partners. The final qualifier for the Santa Anita Autumn contest will take place. Players put up $225 and the field is limited to 53 entries. There is also a one-day qualifier for the Gulfstream Conquer the Crown contest with a $135 buy-in.

On Sunday, there are one-day contests for both the National Handicapping Championship and the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. The NHC contest costs $162 and the BCBC entry fee is $225.

All week long, from Wednesday through Sunday, DRF Tournaments will be holding feeder events for those contests as well as credit builders and match-up contests where players can fund their future contest play.

A previous version of this article had an incorrect headline. As stated in the article, Steve Wolfson won an entry to the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge, not the National Handicapping Championship.