09/27/2005 11:00PM

Three winning best bets decisive for Sudul

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Veteran tournament player Dennis Sudul qualified for his third Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship last Saturday with a victory over 80 contestants in the Autotote "Live Money" Handicapping Contest.

Sudul, from South Salem, N.Y., won the contest's $4,100 first prize by nailing all three of his best bets on the day and turning his starting $200 bankroll into $2,364.20. It was his third victory in an Autotote-sponsored contest.

Sudul made a $164 "all-in" win wager on Bright Abundance ($15.60) in Belmont's ninth race, which put him in the lead until Steve Wolfson Sr. briefly forged ahead. Sudul reclaimed the lead when he hit a $200 win-and-place wager on Term in Office ($9.60, $4.60) in Turfway Park's 15th race and sealed the win with a $720 show bet on even-money winner Northcountry Chief ($2.60 to show) in Calder's 13th. He finished $747.70 clear of the runner-up.

The one-day contest required players who put up the $100 entry fee to bet at minimum of $20 on each of at least 10 races from, Belmont, Calder, Monmouth, Philadelphia, and Turfway. Contestants could play in person at the Sports Haven in New Haven, Conn. or over the phone. Those playing remotely could, for the first time, track a live scoreboard online. Sudul, who had two entries, played over the phone.

Sudul, a director of payroll, will be spending quite a chunk of time in Las Vegas next January. In addition to qualifying for the seventh DRF/NTRA Championship, to be held Jan. 27-28 at Bally's, Sudul earlier this year earned a berth in the Horseplayer World Series at the Orleans on Jan. 19-21 with a runner-up finish in a contest at Nassau OTB.

Sudul, 56, estimates he has played in more than 100 tournaments over the last 20 years and counts this as his sixth major contest victory, yielding him more than $300,000 in prize money, including 30 top-ten finishes. In his previous trips to the DRF/NTRA Championship, he finished 111th in 2004, and 98th in 2003.

Fairplex

Tom Noone of Redondo Beach, Calif., topped a tough field of 140 entries and won the $11,280 first prize in the final of Fairplex Park's three qualifying tournaments last weekend.

It will be the first trip to the NHC for Noone, who won the prestigious Gold Coast Summer Classic in 2004, topping more than 700 entries and taking home the $123,000 first prize.

Fairplex runner-up Sally Wang of Henderson, Nev., earned $5,640. She joins elite company, qualifying for her fourth trip to the national finals. Wang played in three straight NHC's from 2002-2004.

Canterbury

Canterbury Park will play host to its annual October-Fest Handicapping Contest on Saturday, Oct. 8. Three NHC berths are at stake.

The one-day tournament costs $100 to enter, plus players must put up a $200 live-money bankroll. Contestants are required to place 10 $10 win-and-place wagers on 10 races from the day's simulcast menu.

Noel Michaels, author of the newly revised "Handicapping Contest Handbook," which goes on sale next week, will also be at Canterbury for a book signing from 11 a.m. to noon in the tournament headquarters on clubhouse level. All October-Fest entrants will receive a copy of the book.

Tournament director Jeff Maday is expecting a field of about 100 players. There are no advance sign-ups. Complete rules are available online at canterburypark.com.