Derby Wars Discipline

Lenny Moon picThis guest post is by Lenny Moon of Equinometry. Lenny Moon is the founder of Equinometry.com where he shares his thoughts on handicapping and betting horses and handicapping contests.  You can also occasionally find him in the grandstand of Laurel Park and more often in a handicapping contest on Derby Wars.  He can also be found on Twitter @Equinometry.

 

 

On any given day there are dozens of handicapping contests running at Derby Wars.  There are small fields and large fields, low entry fee and high entry fee, win/place and survivor.  The abundance and variety is great because there is something for just about everyone but it’s very easy to get carried away.

When I take the time to handicap a race card I want to get the most bang for my buck.  That means being in action as much as possible.  Don’t get me wrong that doesn’t mean betting every race or every wager available it means finding the best opportunities and maximizing the return on those opportunities.

The same philosophy applies to handicapping contests at Derby Wars.  If I really like my selections I want to capitalize on those opinions by maximizing my return on investment.

For a while this meant entering every handicapping contest that included the sequence of races I handicapped.  When my selections came in this strategy was fantastic but when they ran out it was devastating.

One day I would go six for six, the next zero for six.  It didn’t take long for me to realize this strategy was flawed.

 

Flaws in Overextending Yourself

First of all there is not one optimal strategy that applies universally to all the different types of handicapping contests.  Picking eight longshots might work in a 200 player point’s contest where most players are liberal in their selections but it is a terrible long term strategy in Head to Head contests.

Secondly there is a limit on the number of entries one can actively manage effectively.  An example outside horse racing can be found at a bingo hall (yes they still exist).  For the uninitiated one or two cards are the max but for a veteran twenty cards is a breeze.  Handicapping contest players are no different.  Some can handle only one or two entries at a time while others can handle ten or more.

Lastly entering too many handicapping contests can lead to wild fluctuations in your bankroll.  A good day can double or triple it but a bad day can reduce it by half or worse yet wipe it out.

 

Finding the Right Balance

Determining which handicapping contests to enter depends on your selections and confidence level that day.  If the contest races look chaotic and you find yourself landing on a bunch of longshots it’s probably best to avoid Head to Head or 3 to 5 player games.  If the races look straightforward and the likely winners logical those contests are probably your best chance of cashing.  In either case your confidence level must be the primary factor in deciding which contests to enter.  Be aggressive when you are confident and passive when you are not.

Deciding how many handicapping contests to enter again should be driven by your confidence level but also depends upon your comfort level.  I can handle five entries comfortably and up to ten is manageable.  It becomes more difficult when entering two or more of the same contests, such as three $11 Head to Head’s.  I’m most comfortable entering only one of each contest.  Instead of entering three $11 Head to Head’s I’ll enter one $11 and one $22, which will result in the same total winnings.  Your comfort level will likely be different and it’s important to establish it as soon as possible.

Bankroll management is the downfall of many horseplayers because there are so many wagering opportunities and that same pitfall can befall handicapping contest players.  As mentioned above there are dozens of opportunities on an average day at Derby Wars and it can be tempting to jump in with both feet.  Instead it’s probably best to take a step back and evaluate the opportunities at hand.  This will take a lot of self-discipline and it may take some time to learn the necessary restraint but the result will be a much healthier bankroll and less clicks of the deposit button.

 

Take Action Today

There is no better time to start improving your handicapping contest performance than today.  Take a look back at your successes and failures over the past couple of weeks and:

  • Find the formats that work best for your handicapping style
  • Determine the best strategy for each of those formats
  • Find your comfort zone of how many entries you can manage at one time
  • Assess your confidence level and be aggressive when you are most confident
  • Manage your bankroll wisely

Good luck and if you have any advice you would like to share be sure to do so in the comment section below.

 

Lenny Moon is the founder of Equinometry.com where he shares his thoughts on handicapping and betting horses and handicapping contests.  You can also occasionally find him in the grandstand of Laurel Park and more often in a handicapping contest on Derby Wars.  He can also be found on Twitter @Equinometry.

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DerbyWars Breeders’ Cup Tournaments

Seats are filling up fast in the Breeders’ Cup handicapping contests taking place on DerbyWars, racing’s premier contest site.

25K_breeders_cup_high_stakes_675x290

 

The tournaments are led by Saturday’s $25,000 Breeders’ Cup ‘High Stakes’ Contest, which boasts a $10,000 first-place prize and pays down to seventh place. The game has attracted some of racing’s fiercest handicapping contest players to compete for the top honors. In all, sixty players will contest the game and only a few spots remain at the time of publication. The cost to enter is $475.

Also highlighting the Saturday tournament menu is the $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Lockdown. With a prize structure mimicking DerbyWars’ weekly Saturday feature, the contest guarantees a $5,000 first-place prize comprised of $4,525 cash and a $475 Token to be used in an upcoming ‘High Stakes’ tournament. The ‘Lockdown’ aspect of the game mean that players must submit all tournament selections before the start of the first contest race, and then will be disallowed to change or alter those selections once the tournament has begun. Lockdown is the perfect format for players who may be at a Breeders’ Cup Party, playing in other handicapping contests, or – for the most unlucky – have to work during the races. The contest is limited top 67 players, with 63 already having entered the game – so very few seats remain! The cost to enter is $175.

The DerbyWars contest schedule on Friday and Saturday is packed with tournament action at all levels! Here are some more featured tournaments:

 

FRIDAY

 

$5,000 Breeders’ Cup Friday High Stakes Game

Cost to enter: $475

 

$5,000 Breeders’ Cup Friday Game

Cost to Enter: $115

 

$1,000 Breeders’ Cup Friday Game ($25 Entry!)

Cost to Enter: $25

 

 

SATURDAY

 

$10,000 Breeders’ Cup Game, 12 Players

Cost to Enter: $925

 

$5,000 Breeders’ Cup Saturday Game

Cost to Enter: $77

 

$2,000 Breeders’ Cup Saturday Lockdown

Cost to Enter: $47

 

New players are always welcome in the DerbyWars contest community!

First time depositors receive a cash bonus after their initial deposit.

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Moomey’s Memorable Money Making Weekend

“It was the most exciting tournament I’ve ever won!”

That was how contest veteran Eric Moomey described the thrill of victory after prevailing in a hotly contested edition of this past weekend’s $10,000 featured tournament.

The tension in the tournament chat was palpable as the contest wound down. Tournament stalwarts, including Moomey, found themselves well within striking range of Nikita Rochelle’s tenuous lead; poised to strike were close competitors Scott Pulcini, second in the previous day’s High Stakes, and defending $10,000 Tournament champion David Palmer.

“It all came down to the 9th at Keeneland [the Raven Run Stakes],” noted Moomey.

That race was positioned as the ninth of twelve contest races in the high dollar affair, but it was an obvious game changer from the onset. The original field of 16 was cut to 14 when two scratches occurred, but the complexion of the race was altered significantly when one of those two also eligibles was allowed to enter the field.

When the selection chart fired for the race and players picks were exposed to foes, Moomey and Pulcini were on board with #16 Madame Cactus, while Rochelle had selected fellow outsider Eden Prairie; the top three were each selecting live longshots.

The excitement hit a fever pitch in the stretch as Eden Prairie would slingshot to the lead in the lane while Madame Cactus kicked into high gear despite being fanned extremely wide on the far turn. It was only in the final yards that Madame Cactus was able to reel in Eden Prairie to secure victory in the Raven Run, slightly reshuffling the top three but further distancing that trio from the rest of the pack.

“It was so exciting because all three [leaders] had the one-two in there,” Moomey explained in slight amazement.

That would be the race that put Moomey into the lead, but he still needed to hold on for three more races. A win by 3-2 favorite Saratoga Snacks a couple races later would give him the padding he needed to hold off a small last minute rush from Rochelle to win the weekend’s featured contest.

Rochelle, always an upbeat personality even in defeat, playfully lamented his tough case of second-itis.

“I was really unlucky! All those second place finished!” Rochelle recalled. “The Raven Run was especially difficult. Madame Cactus was my alternate, I just thought she would be too wide.”

Both Moomey and Rochelle will go onto compete in next weekend’s $25,000 Breeders’ Cup Saturday Tournament, one of the richest tournaments ever to be held on the DerbyWars contest platform.

“It’s tough with all the good competition,” laughed Rochelle. “But why not play the big game for the money! I’m looking for another $475 Token!”

$475 Tokens are something Moomey is also collecting, having already twice qualified for the $25,000 contest since his win in the $10K last week. He’ll go into the $25,000 with three entries and an enviable hot streak.

Moomey is no stranger to winning when the stakes are highest, having preceded his $10,000 tournament win with a victory in Friday’s $5,000 High Stakes Tournament, besting out rival Scott Pulcini, who had opened up an almost insurmountable early lead after four races only to fall just a few dollars shy of Moomey in the end.

“It would have been easy to give up in that contest,” admitted Moomey. “I dug in, strategized, crossed my fingers and was able to pass him.”

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Ariel Diaz Logs Out, Wins $10,000 Tournament

Just a few races into last Saturday’s featured $10,000 Tournament, the mood of the room had turned cold. Longshots had taken four of the first five races and the chance to take home the game’s top prize seemed to be slipping away with haste. Colorful language decorated the game’s chat log and players began to flood into the day’s many other contests in search of greener pastures.

Oblivious to the goings on was Ariel Diaz. With plans to spend the day with his family, Diaz entered all of his contest selections before 1pm – hours ahead of the start of game play – and headed out for the day, hoping for the best.

“I never checked in. Family comes first,” Diaz wisely noted. “I got home around 9:30pm and started checking the results race by race.”

It didn’t take long for Diaz to realize he almost certainly had come away with the lucrative top prize.

“After a few races I realized I had done well,” recalled Diaz. “I didn’t win any in the last seven races but the early races were enough to win.”

They were more than enough.

Diaz had accumulated a bankroll of $122.20 after five contest races, a sum typically sufficient to win any tournament of a twelve-race duration. And he had done so with just three horses – one at each of the three racetracks that made up the tournament.

Diaz was quick to credit his favorite handicapper software for his good fortunes. He is a loyal user of Handicapping Technology & Research software, commonly referred to as HTR.

“The software identifies two or three horses with longshot potential,” explained Diaz. “So the horses I used were flagged by the software as potentials. It was my job to handicap the software.”

Diaz has been using HTR for quite some time now in his handicapping endeavors and credits it with his recent success.

“HTR gives me an edge because I am looking at something that other people aren’t looking at,” Diaz noted. “I have really been getting better the last eight or nine months as I understand the software better and learn how to use it better.”

A passionate fan of horse racing since the age of 14, Diaz has been playing in handicapping contests for the past three or four years now, and has been using handicapping software to aid his wagering since 2007.

“I play in contests up to five days a week,” said Diaz, a native of Puerto Rico. “And I play almost exclusively on DerbyWars. I don’t have the time to travel to big tournaments. My family comes first.”

For his winning effort, Diaz was awarded $4,525 cash and a $475 Token good for entry into an upcoming $5,000 High Stakes Tournament. Diaz has chosen to compete in the Santa Anita Opening Day edition of the high roller game, and could be a live contender with that contest featuring full fields and top-tier racing action.

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Brent Sumja Climbs NHC Tour Leaderboard with DerbyWars™ NHC Qualfier Win

NHC Seats Awarded to Thomas Labordo and Mike Ferrozzo

 

Today, Brent Sumja is perched proudly atop the NHC Tour Leaderboard.

A first-place finish in the Labor Day DerbyWars NHC Qualifier helped propel him into that spot – a spot he intends to hold onto with the same tenacity that put him there in the first place. Sumja is gearing up for a grueling tournament schedule over the next several months in order to stave off any challenges to his lead.

“The grind is mentally challenging,” admitted Sumja in a phone interview shortly after his Labor Day victory. “I took the month of August off; I went to Paris, celebrated my mom’s birthday. Now I have six weeks of [tournament related] travel.”

Sumja has good reason to keep up the grind. He is one of several NHC Tour members chasing the very top prizes associated with NHC Tour placing. The top finisher on the NHC Tour Leaderboard at the end of the year is rewarded with a $75,000 cash prize. But perhaps even just as compelling, the NHC Tour leader is eligible for a $2 million bonus if he or she were to go on to win the National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas next January.

“My friend Judy Wagner [a former NHC winner] told me ‘You don’t choose the Tour, the Tour chooses you!’, recalled Sumja. “After doing well early, several friends told me I should really go for the Tour.”

Wagner isn’t the only one in Sumja’s corner. Sumja cited several key influencers who recently introduced him to the contest world and guided his rapid rise into one of its top players.

“The people you meet [at handicapping contests] are unbelievably kind. They are genuinely rooting for you, not against you,” exclaimed Sumja. “Tom Quigley really laid the groundwork for me. Joe Koury has taught me to react based on what other players do. Mark McGuire, he is so sharp at figuring everything out, especially with video watching. Cara Yarusso actually was the first tournament player I met and she introduced me to Mark and Joe. She helps keep my calm, helps me find key things to look for. Oh yea and ‘Sicko’ I have to mention Sicko. Just Sicko. He’ll know.”

Sumja said he really learned from his experience at the NHC last year and intends to go into this upcoming contest with better strategy – a strategy he intends to keep close to the vest until the NHC comes.

Already a dual qualifier for the sport’s richest handicapping contest coming up in January at the Treasure Island Resort in Las Vegas, Sumja is now strictly playing for NHC Tour points. This meant that the two NHC Seats up for grabs in the DerbyWars NHC Qualifier actually went to the contest’s second and third place finishers, Thomas Labordo and Mike Ferrozzo, respectively.

Labordo was the leader of the pack throughout most of the contest, benefitting from Strong Mandate’s upset win in the Hopeful (GI) at Saratoga and then solidifying his leading position when Marcyjane’s win padded his bankroll in Del Mar’s 3rd race, the sixth race of the twelve race contest.

“I really liked Strong Mandate’s mud figures,” noted Labordo. “I lost the lead in that next race but retook with Marcyjane.”

Labordo didn’t yield his leading position until the final race of the tournament, the Yellow Ribbon (GI) at Del Mar. But although the race did cause Sumja to pass him, things could have gone much worse.

“I really had to sweat it out that last race! Oh gosh, it went on for so long!” recalled Labordo, referencing the lengthy stewards inquiry which went on for nearly ten minutes following the race’s finish, in which the stewards had to determine whether the winner interfered with the third place finisher. Had the winner, Egg Drop, been taken down and longshot Appealing moved up to first place, the complexion of the leaderboard would have been completely changed and Labordo would not have been awarded one of the two highly coveted NHC seats.

Last year was Labordo’s first time competing in the NHC himself, but not the first time he has experienced the event. Thomas’ father, Darwin Labordo, was third in the NHC two years ago. Thomas jovially holds that if his dad had taken his advice towards the end of that contest, an Eclipse Award as the nation’s best handicapper could have been in reach. This year they will both have another chance to chase that dream, having both qualified on DerbyWars; Darwin Labordo qualified in an earlier DerbyWars NHC Qualifier in August.

Mike Ferrozzo, much like Sumja, came into the contest primarily in pursuit of NHC Tour Points.

“The deal was, I was trying mostly to get points in order to qualify, so I tried to pick horses which were competitive,” Ferrozzo rakishly recalled. “But after hitting six of seven, I tried to win the thing!”

This upcoming NHC will be Ferrozzo’s fifth consecutive crack at the handicapping championship. A ten year veteran of handicapping contests, Ferrozzo has been playing on DerbyWars since the site began roughly two years ago, and took down a $10,000 Kentucky Derby Tournament on racing’s premier contest site. He has been a Thoroughbred racing fan since 1985 when Cantebury opened, when he won $250 betting on Quarter Horse racing.

DerbyWars wishes the best of luck to Sumja, Labordo and Ferrozzo in January’s National Handicapping Championship!

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Who’s Hot on DerbyWars: Patrick Gianforte

Every horseplayer goes through ups and downs, hot streaks and cold streaks. One DerbyWars player who is enjoying the more favorable of the two is Patrick Gianforte (pgn401).

10kGameboardGianforte’s procession of plush payouts began last Saturday, August 24, in that day’s featured $10,000 Travers Day Tournament. He didn’t just win that tournament, but dominated from start to finish en route to a $54.60 margin of victory over second play finisher taytay.

“Sometimes you get hot, you get lucky,” exclaimed Gianforte. “Things just fall into place.”

Many tournament winners that day credited their win to Capo Bastone, a longshot winner who credited the maximum of $50 to player’s mythical bankrolls if they backed him. While Gianforte did select Capo Bastone, he won by such a massive margin that he would have still be on top had he not selected that sophomore colt. He went on to illustrate how he did land on him.

“It was between three horses, including Capo Bastone,” explained Gianforte. “I didn’t like Forty Tales at all; I figured his last effort would take a lot out of him. I was looking for a value horse with a chance, and Capo Bastone had a valid excuse last time.”

Travers winner Will Take Charge was another of Gianforte’s longshot winners, and also one of the five horses he cashed in on from seven races at the Spa.

“Will Take Charge probably wasn’t ready for the Triple Crown run,” analyzed Gianforte. “But now he is really coming into his own. There was a lot of speed in the Travers so it came down to him and Orb.”

Gianforte’s powerful display of prognosticative prowess was too much for the 66 opposing entries into the contest.

“I am good friends with [third place finisher] Paul Shurman,” noted Gianforte. “At one point he just said ‘I give up!’”

For the win, Gianforte received $4,525 cash and entry into the next day’s $5,000 Pacific Classic High Stakes Tournament, where he would go onto finish second behind the always dangerous Paul Scott (ptscott), who Gianforte also counts as a friend. In fact, had Scott not selected the same horse as Gianforte in the finale of that contest, the outcome could have been reverse. But as it was, that second place effort netted Gianforte an additional $1,000 payout to cap a good weekend on DerbyWars.

But Gianforte wasn’t done yet.

In an effort to defend his title in the $10,000 featured weekend tournament, Gianforte leapt out to an enviable early lead in the $10,000 Woodward Day Tournament with a pair of longshot winners at Saratoga. Though he would eventually get passed by Pete Manzo (menace), Gianforte would finish in a tie for third place – good for another grand to add to his brimming collection of four figure payoffs.

Simultaneously, Gianforte was playing in the $5,000 Woodward Day High Stakes Tournament, which featured exclusively Saratoga races. A week after taytay finished second to Gianforte, the tables were turned as that foe got the best of his rival in this tournament. But Gianforte’s runner-up finish was enough to get him – you guessed it – another $1,000 kitty.

Despite all the success at Saratoga, Gianforte would make a slight admission.

“I’m really more of a west coast guy,” he chuckled.

Gianforte has been into horse racing since 6th grade when he was introduced to the sport by friends at a country club where he worked.

“I parlayed some small bets into $1,900,” reminisced Gianforte. “My mom told me then that that was the worst thing that could ever happen!”

Gianforte is an avid contest player and has already qualifier for next year’s NHC in Las Vegas, although he is seeking a second seat into that tournament. He has played in the championship event for the last seven or eight years, and had an improved showing last year.

When not handicapping, Gianforte can often be found playing golf, or spending time with his family which includes his wife of 35 years, three grown children, and many beloved grandchildren.

DerbyWars players might hope Gianforte chooses to spend some more time on the links. Because going up against pgn401 in the big DerbyWars tournaments has recently been a very daunting task.

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Mark Hackworth, Ryan Roberts Secure NHC Seats on DerbyWars

A pair of astute horseplayers punched their tickets to Las Vegas for next year’s National Handicapping Championship after finishing 1-2 in DerbyWars’ first 2013 NHC Qualifier to award two seats to the world’s richest handicapping tournament.

NHCGamecardMark Hackworth (wonpoint618) of California came out the winner of Saturday’s NHC Qualifier, amassing a mythical bankroll of $79.40. He selected five winners from twelve contest races, including Travers Stakes winner Will Take Charge, which alone comprised $29.80 of the winning sum.

“My tournament strategy is that I do not have a tournament strategy,” Hackworth cagily noted, perhaps as to not tip his hand in advance of the NHC.

But Hackworth’s win almost didn’t happen.

“I had my work basically cancel on both the contest feeder and the NHC Qualifying spot, which normally does not happen,” Hackworth noted. “So I entered the contests at the last minute and figured it was meant to be, and it was meant to be.”

Hackworth changed his mind at the last minute before the Travers Stakes, switching to eventual winner Will Take Charge. It was after that score that Hackworth felt he had a solid chance of qualifying for a seat to the NHC. His confidence continued to grow as he went on to hit three of the final six races to cement his victory.

NHCPlayercardHackworthRunner-up Ryan Roberts (arroberts) also elaborated on his prognosticative process.

“The track was speed favoring all day, the turf and the dirt,” observed Roberts in response to how he arrived at his Saratoga picks. “Mentor Cane is super quick; he had schooled since his last race when he was a bit of a nutcase and Shirreffs is a good trainer. And Moreno came in with big speed figures; he figured like a logical play at a huge price. Of course it would have been better if he’d won!”

Even with his Saratoga bankroll contributions, Roberts still needed a strong late showing to secure the much coveted NHC Seat.

“Before the last race I was sitting in fifth about $9 back,” recalled Roberts. “I was trying to get second place, not to win the contest. Wild Dude was a logical horse that could sneak me in. I thought he would go off favored. In his only two starts he’d finished behind (Santa Anita Derby winner) Goldencents and (Southwest Stakes winner) Super Ninety Nine. I was just hoping nobody else took him!”

NHCPlaycardRobertsWith Wild Dude’s win and none of Roberts’ close competitors blocking him with the same pick, his plan to sneak into the second position worked out swimmingly. And with that success will come his first chance to participate in the NHC.

“This is my first time qualifying to the NHC; I’m pretty excited!” exclaimed Roberts. “Everyone has told me to enjoy it and have fun.”

When asked about his contest strategy going into the NHC, Roberts said he would seek price horses but will use ‘logical’ horses in the absence of any live longshots.

It won’t be the first trip to the NHC for Hackworth, who ruefully recalled a most heartbreaking tournament experience in the 2009 NHC.

“The first day I was in the top 20 and did not know it until walking into elevator to my room,” Hackworth said. “On the second day, I was playing well and knew it, but I do not like to look at leaderboard for the most part.  So I went the whole day never looking at a score on final day until last race.  Anyhow, found out I was 20th or 21st.  I remember the 10 horse ran on Poly in Europe and was swayed to the #4 if memory serves me.  I knew the later horse would not get me in top 5 but I figured he would Win or Place and I would come home with a “Dime” or two. The #10 won and I learned a lesson for myself.  If I make it that far again, I may just play the less conservative play like the #10 in that last race of NHC 2009.”

Hackworth was introduced into racing by his parents over forty years ago and has been playing in handicapping contests for over five years; he joined DerbyWars about a year ago.

Roberts grew up right outside of Saratoga and for a time in his younger days worked for NYRA. He claims to have always been in the love with the sport since as early as age nine, recalling early race favorites Bet Twice and Houston. He has dabbled in handicapping contest play before, but really got into it this year with renewed determination.

NHCTourPointsResziedHackworth went on to dream about a win in the NHC.

“I enjoy early Porsches circa 1950’s and 60’s. I have owned many,” Hackworth noted. “A substantial monetary win would get an early ’61 356 Porsche restored sooner rather than later!”

 

All 21 Players Receive NHC Tour Points

For their efforts, all 21 players in Saturday’s DerbyWars NHC Qualifier received NHC Tour Points. In order to participate in Saturday’s event, players had to have securing a spot in the tournament through successfully competing in a prequalifying event in the weeks leading up to the tournament. Having won a prequalifying event, players are considered to have secured a sufficiently high finishing position to earn tour points on a schedule consistent with tournaments exceeding 300 participants.

Next DerbyWars NHC Qualifier: Labor Day, Monday, September 2

Prequalifying rounds to the next DerbyWars NHC Qualifier continue daily on DerbyWars, racing’s premier contest site. The next DerbyWars NHC Qualifier will be held on Labor Day, Monday, September 2. The contest will be identical to the most recent event held on Saturday, in that it will reward the top two finishers with prize packages set to include NHC seats, hotel accommodations and a travel stipend. As with this past weekend, all players who advance to the NHC Qualifier will receive NHC Tour points.

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$10,000 Travers Day Contest

On Saturday, all eyes will be on Saratoga for the Travers Stakes in which the season’s best sophomores will match up for what promises to be a championship event. DerbyWars, racing’s premier contest site, will host a featured $10,000 Travers Day Contest to celebrate the event.

The tournament will start with Saratoga’s eighth race at 3:30pm EDT. The races set for inclusion in the contest are Saratoga races 8 through 14, and Del Mar races 1 through 5. The entry fee for the contest is $175 and the field is limited to the first 67 players to purchase entry on a first-come, first-served basis.

Players are tasked with placing mythical $2 Win-Place wagers on one horse of their choice in each contest race. Selections which win or place in contest races will add to players’ mythical bankrolls based on the pari-mutuel payouts of the races; win prices are capped at $32 and place prices are capped at $18. The player with the largest mythical bankroll at the conclusion of the contest is the winner.

traverslogoThe field for the ‘Midsummer Derby’ is highlighted by Kentucky Derby winner Orb, Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice, and Haskell Invitational winner Verrazano. Others set for the Saratoga starting gate include Kentucky Derby runner-up Golden Soul, Rebel Stakes winner Will Take Charge, Dwyer Stakes winner Moreno, Virginia Derby winner War Dancer, and Curlin Stakes 1-2 finishers Transparent and Romansh, respectively.

 

Other stakes action happening at Saratoga on Saturday includes:

  • The $500,000 Test Stakes (GI) featuring Prioress Stakes (GI) winner Lighthouse Bay, Spinaway Stakes (GI) winner So Many Ways and Coaching Club American Oaks (GI) runner-up My Happy Face.
  • The $250,000 Ketel One Ballston Spa Stakes (GII) featuring Diana Stakes (GI) winner Laughing, Jenny Wiley Stakes (GI) winner Centre Court, Mint Julep Handicap (GIII) winner Miz Ida, and the highly accomplished Hungry Island.
  • The $500,000 Foxwoods King’s Bishop Stakes (GI) featuring Forty Tales, winner of the Amsterdam (GII), Woody Stephens (GII) and Derby Trial (GIII), as well as Arkansas Derby (GI) winner Overanalyze, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) third-place finisher Capo Bastone, and Bay Shore (GIII) winner Declan’s Warrior.

 

New Players Welcome!

DerbyWars is horse racing’s premier digital contest platform, offering the best contest choices and simplest, friendliest contest environment!

Players can register for DerbyWars at www.DerbyWars.com. First time depositors can receive a cash bonus. For more details on DerbyWars NHC Qualifiers or any DerbyWars related inquiries, please email the DerbyWars support staff at support@derbywars.com.

Get $20 FREE on DerbyWars today!

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Filly Exacta in DerbyWars $10,000 Weekend Tournament

Horse racing can still sometimes come across as a male dominated sport, although the tides are surely shifting. After all, three of the past four Horses of the Year have been fillies, proving that it certainly pays to ‘Run like a Girl.’

kimgamecardThis past weekend, Kimberly Shurtleff (kimas1) and Barbara Bowley (Sophia) left the competition in the dust in the featured $10,000 Weekend Tournament.

“It’s the $10,000 Distaff!” exclaimed one jovial contestant in the lively game chat.

It was Barbara Bowley who got off to the quickest start as one of three players to have correctly selected Sandyinthesun from the eighth race at Saratoga, which was also the contest’s opener. That put a quick $50 into her account as the selection capped out. But Bowley knew the contest was far from over.

“You always have to look over your shoulder,” Bowley wisely noted. “You can never get complacent.”

Undeterred, Shurtleff wasn’t too worried after the opener as she had the benefit of selecting second place finisher Lure of the South, putting $17.60 into her bankroll.

“I was just a little nervous after the first race,” Shurtleff said. “But not too worried. It’s a long contest.”

kimplaycardThe nerves may have been more with Bowley, who wasn’t excited about the upcoming races from Arlington Park.

“Arlington is not my strongest track,” admitted Bowley. “I’m a So. Cal girl, you know. I was waiting for Del Mar. In fact, on the drive down there, I was playing on DerbyWars Mobile…I wasn’t driving!”

Shurtleff would take advantage of those races from Arlington, adding to her bankroll with Gifted Girl in the Beverly D. and Real Solution in the Arlington Million.

“I felt lucky in the Million,” said Shurtleff, commenting on the disqualification of The Apache and the elevation of Real Solution to first place.

Luck may have been part of it, but shrewd handicapping prowess would put Shurtleff ahead of Bowley and the rest of the field as she added another $18 to her bankroll in Saratoga’s twelfth race with Jesses Giant Dunk.

The Apache & Real Solution cross the wire in the Arlington Million. Story continues below.

Arlington Million XXXI

 

sophiaplaycardThe final four races of the contest would take place at Del Mar and, just as predicted, Bowley hit her best stride. She would select the winners of three consecutive races at the San Diego racetrack. Unfortunately for Bowley, Shurtleff would have two of those winners as well and position herself nearly $16 ahead going into the final race of the contest.

“In Del Mar’s sixth and seventh races, the top three all picked the same horses,” recalled Shurtleff. “I knew going into the last race I couldn’t pick (8-5 race favorite) Kitten’s Dumplings. I had to use value.”

As it was, it wouldn’t matter. None of the top three selected race winner Discreet Marq, much to Bowley’s chagrin.

“I should’ve picked Julien Leparoux on the turf!” laughed Bowley in retrospect. “I could’ve won!”

Bowley, upbeat about her solid second place finish in the featured game, would go onto compliment the DerbyWars platform and community.

“It’s so exciting – I love DerbyWars!” remarked Bowley. “There are a lot of good female handicappers coming on. There’s something about the way the site is structured. It’s so easy to use. It’s not intimidating – a very female friendly environment.”

Shurtleff was similarly excited to come away as the weekend’s big winner. She has been a racing fan for over five years after attending a day at the races at Tampa Bay Downs.

“I started to love the game,” said Shurtleff. “It’s challenging and I like that.”

A member of the DerbyWars community nearly since the beginning of the site, Shurtleff is enjoying the big win and still dreaming of things to come. Last year she placed sixteenth in the Horseplayer World Series in Las Vegas. She hopes to qualify for the National Handicapping Championships next year.

“That is kind of a dream,” remarked Shurtleff, an attorney based in Trinity, Florida.

She’ll have plenty of opportunities to qualify on DerbyWars, with four seats into the championship event up for grabs over the next few weeks and chances to prequalify happening daily.

Good luck, guys.

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Another Chance At NHC Glory for Finance Executive

By Molly Jo Rosen

“I had fun taking an early lead and protected myself at the end by not taking some longshots because I didn’t want to run up style points.”

labordogameboardThat is the quiet confidence of Darwin Labordo, a finance executive from Southern California who has earned his fourth consecutive berth to the National Handicapping Contest in Las Vegas.

Of his trio of previous tries, Labordo’s best NHC finish was 2012 when he was a close third and he knows where he went wrong, saying “if I’d only listened to my son and daughter, it would’ve been a totally different outcome!”

Raising a pair of handicappers is probably not what he expected his future would hold when he accepted the assignment of writing a paper on Random Walk Theory as an MBA student at UCLA several decades ago. Labordo came to the conclusion that picking horses is much like picking stocks: there is no way to predict the outcome with any certainty because – in the case of racing – horses are not machines.

His strategy for playing tournaments is not exactly a simple formula: “Handicapping is part technology, part art form, and you have to trust your intuition most of all. I try not to get overwhelmed by the data and remember to look at each and labordoplaycardevery horse as an individual.”

It’s this approach that Labordo brought to the NHC Pre-Qualifiers and, ultimately, secured him the victory in Saturday’s Final. After taking a commanding early lead, Darwin remained focused on the his tournament strategy throughout all 12 races. He had $48.40 longshot Dangerous Lad in the very first leg of the tournament and would go on to score points in five of the next seven races.

Even though he finished out the tournament with four straight off-the-board finishes, it was somewhat by design. “It was textbook play for me and I caught a few breaks early. Playing against a small field was a tremendous advantage, even if my fellow players tried to psych me out in the chat. I just quietly plugged away and it turned out to be a nice competition.”

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