August 4-5 weekend’s $500 Graded Stakes Survivor game was a great example of how you can triumph in Survivor games. It’s also a great example of just how picking a horse to show sounds easy – but Survivor can be brutally tough as well.
The contest was $4 to enter and started with 94 entries. There were 6 Graded Stakes to navigate. Here’s how it played out:
Race 1 – Prioress Stakes
In this race, Agave Kiss was the 4-5 favorite in a field of six. She looked shaky in the stretch and held on for third. Judy The Beauty ran second as the 3-1 second choice. Together, those two got 61 entries through and another 13 had the winner Emma’s Encore.
But note that even in this chalky leg, 20 players were out of the money. Down to 74.
Race 2 – West Virginia Derby
Here, fan favorite Hansen was an overwhelming 3-5 favorite, and he took 52 of the 74 Survivor selections. While he seemed like a “free square” and an easy leg, it’s important to note that most everyone put their eggs in this basket. So, with a misstep by Hansen, this game would be nearly over.
Sure enough, Hansen ran fourth, and this Survivor game when from 74 to 16 entries in two minutes. Interestingly, Macho Macho and Bourbon Courage, the 1-2 finishers, were the clear 2nd and 3rd choices in the race. Those that hedged with the 4 and 8 were rewarded.
Race 3 – Whitney Stakes
At this point, there were 16 entries left and they could taste victory. But things weren’t getting any easier. The Whitney knocked out half of the field as Hymn Book ran fourth, and others spread with the 2 and 3.
Race 4 – Clement Hirsch
Here the final 8 performed strongly as only two were knocked out. Suprisingly, the most picked horse was the #7 horse Star Billing, who finished second at 9-1.
The next day – Race 5 – Vanderbilt
A day later and down to 6 entries, this was the race that dealt the knockout blow. Shackleford running last at 6-5 took down 2 entries, and #4 Rothko and #7 Jersey Town took down two more.
The final two picked Emcee and were now in the money. The only question would be whether they would be splitting the $500 or whether someone would take home the first place prize.
Race 6 – Best Pal
BromosDad and ClassyFreddieBassie were the two remaining entries, but neither could come up with the 1-2-3 finishers of the Best Pal, so they ended up splitting the $500 and taking home $250 each. Not bad for a $4 entry!
So How Did The Winners Do It?
BromosDad successfully employed a 3-entry strategy. He singled Judy The Beauty in the first leg, but then spread all three out in the West Virginia Derby. That proved fruitful, because even though he lost entry #1 with Hansen, he now held two of the remaining 16 entries.
He then nailed Flat Out in the Whitney and Star Billing in the Hirsch on both entries, giving him 2 of the remaining 6 entries in the Vanderbilt on Sunday. He spread those picks out, and by using both #2 Emcee and #7 Jersey Town, he doubled his chances of getting through this tricky leg, which ultimately proved to be a wise decision.
Classy Freddie Blassie (great name) powered through Survivor in an entirely different means. He had one entry and he was on fire. After getting through the first leg with Agave Kiss, he reeled off three winners in a row: Macho Macho (9-2), Fort Larned (7-1) and Include Me Out (8-5). That put him in the spot to pick Emcee in the Vanderbilt and finish in the final two.
Congrats to both of our winners – BromosDad (William Ortega) and Classy Freddie Blassie (Richard Everson)!