06/05/2017 1:31PM

Zhou scores again for Belmont Challenge


The highlight of the weekend on DRF Tournaments was Sunday’s last-chance qualifier for the Belmont Stakes Challenge. The winner was Tony Zhou, who has been a mainstay on the tournament scene the last few years.

Zhou had four collections in the 12-race contest: $5.30 from Play Big in Belmont’s fifth; $32.80 from McCormick in Churchill’s eighth; $35 from Tizelle in Belmont’s eighth; and $15.60 from Moonshine Annie in Santa Anita’s sixth. His total of $88.70 put him just over $3 clear of Leonard Telesca in second.

This is the second time in just over a month Zhou has won a $10,500 Belmont package on DRFT. “I can’t wait” for the Belmont Stakes Challenge, he told DRF on May 1. “It’s my favorite betting day of the year. I was introduced to this great game on Belmont Stakes day in 2010, so I will always have a special day in my heart and a permanent block each year on my calendar.”

Action returns to DRFT on Wednesday. This weekend’s featured contest is Saturday’s Grade 1 qualifier for the World Championship of Handicapping. On Wednesday through Friday, players can put up $95 and one in seven will advance to Saturday. As an alternative, players can put up $580 to play on Saturday, where one in 10 will win their $5,000 buy-ins to the $1 million, no-takeout finals.

There’s also a Wynn Challenge qualifier on Saturday and a Del Mar Handicapping Championship qualifier on Sunday. Go to tournaments.drf.com to feed into all of DRFT’s featured events and to see the full lineup of available contests.

Shurman on top in Monmouth Pick Your Prize

As expected, Monmouth’s Pick Your Prize contest on Saturday was a huge success. The live-bank tournament completed its second year with 172 entries, more than expected and many of them won via DRF Tournaments.

In the end, tournament veteran Paul Shurman won top honors, crushing an exacta in Monmouth’s nightcap, the final contest event. He ran his initial $1,000 bankroll up to over $8,000.

“I overshot the mark I was looking for,” said Shurman, a studious player who usually sets a target in live bank contests. “I bet the winner with three longshots underneath and caught one of them. If I’d had more money left, I might have just bet to win and been lucky to finish in the top five.”

Shurman was also playing in an online event simultaneously and nearly missed making his play at Monmouth. “Mitch [Schuman] tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘There’s one minute left,’ ” Shurman explained. “Otherwise I might have gotten shut out.”

The winners at Monmouth got to choose their prizes from seats to major tournaments and cash awards. A full list of prizes isn’t yet available but should be up soon on Monmouth’s website. Here’s a list of the top 17 finishers:

1. Paul Shurman $8,190

2. Thomas O’Connor $5,645.60

3. Phil Lam $4,705

4. Roger Cettina $4,485

5. Joe Perry $4,306.50

6. Bill Rendino $3,920

7. Cheryl McIntyre $3,892.50

8. William Meisel $3,868

9. Stephanie Davis $3,683.60

10. Ryan Scharnowske $3,450.60

11. Roger Cettina $3,436

12. Berry McQueen $2,914

13. Pere Acocella $2,850

14. Jerry McClenin $2,828.50

15. Pat Nufrio $2,600.60

16. Duke Matties $2,600.60

17. Paul Matties Jr. $2,027.50