Playing your hunches ...
The Happy Handicapper himself, Stuart
Tucker, joins John Welage, Morris Kyrollos and Winton LeMoine
for a day at the track.
Michael Zorrer, Scott Foremny, Vassili
Kyrkis and Owen Kyrollos compete for a seat at the big table.
Craig Fox and Chester Lanham have
the look of a couple successful Daily Double wagerers.
Bert Schoose, Bruc Reiff, Vassili
Kyrkos and Robert Drozd show off their custom made jockeys fashioned
after frequent finalists.
The racing season at Lancaster Downs was increased by one
heat in 2014. This change resulted in higher attendance and
more gamers promoted to the Final table. Several new punters
joined ten previous champions representing 17 plaques.
The racing began on Sunday in the Pre-Con for the first time
with 2013 champ Jason Levine leading the way with just over $300,000
in cash. Jason, who was one of five players to have won in consecutive
years, was joined by fellow double winners and perennial finalists
Bruce Reiff and Ken Gutermuth promoted from other boards.
The Tuesday late night card featured wins by Vasilli Kyrkos
and 2003 champ Robert Drozd. Just when we thought that the $300K
barrier had rarely been broken, consecutive winner John Welage
took the third board with an even more astounding $314,500.
You have to be listening to someone else besides the usual touts
to take that kind of cash.
Friday was the least attended day, with only one board played.
Perennial finalist Craig Fox punched his ticket with the low
total for the week.
Attendance was back up for the Saturday finale. Three boards
advanced Mike Zorrer and Bert Schoose. Bert was in the neighborhood
and decided to play at the last minute. The other winner was
the fifth player to have consecutive wins at WBC, Dave Steiner.
That accounted for all five repeat winners of he event and all
had qualified again.
While there have been five players to have consecutive wins,
no one has accomplished the triple. Jason blew his chance to
be the first by choosing to attend another event, leaving nine
horse fanciers to contend for the 2014 "wood".
The first two races were run mainly jockeying for position.
No real money was made on the daily double with Lucky Old Sun
(3-2) and Indian Giver (3-1) paying only 5-1. More careful play
extended into the next two races with Egg Yolk and Adam's Apple
also coming in at short odds. While several players had made
a good stake, none had really gotten into an unassailable position.
Things changed in the fifth race, however. Bidding on horses
now increased as most of the players wanted to be able to run
their own race. Even though one of the favorite long shots in
the field, Cockroach at 10-1, came across the line as winner,
only three players were confident enough to bet him across the
board. These took a large lead in the program as the supporters
of favorite Lobster Tail at 2-1 had to settle for a small payout
The sixth race featured even more spirited bidding, especially
for the betting favorite, Mona Lisa. She, in turn, did not disappoint
her supporters and rewarded them handsomely with her 5-1 win.
Captain Ahab gave a few betters money with his 10-1 for place,
and 4-1 favorite Jungle Monarch showed. In a very tight finish,
Bert Schoose's $229K nosed out Vasilli Kyrkos' $223K for the
2014 plaque. Craig Fox took place with $167K. Bert's hunches
proved to be good on this day - starting with his decision to
play a little Win, Place & Show which turned into a longer
and more fruitful day at the races than he had envisioned.
You've got to win a heat on the small
boards to have a seat at the big track.