LEXINGTON, Ky. (November 6, 2014) - For the second consecutive year, a horseplayer has turned a $110 online qualifying spot into over $300,000 in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. Robert Traynor of Oceanside, Calif., scored big when his selection of Bayern in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic led wire to wire to catapult Traynor to first place, collecting $301,000 in Thoroughbred racing’s biggest live money event. Traynor wagered his entire remaining bankroll ($10,000) on Bayern to win and collected $71,000 for his winning wager but also netted $230,000 for first place prize money over an all-star cast of the nation’s top handicappers betting on the 13 Breeders’ Cup World Championships races held at Santa Anita Park, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
The sixth Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge set new records for participation, as 287 players competed for $730,000 in prize money at the Championships, and for the first time, included players at satellite locations at Keeneland Race Course in Kentucky and Aqueduct Racetrack in New York. The Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge is a $10,000 buy-in handicapping contest in a live money wagering format ($2,500 to prize pool and $7,500 betting bankroll). Contest wagers were limited to win, place, show, exacta and trifecta betting.
Traynor, 54, is a regular player at Santa Anita but has only started playing in contests over the past few years. He won his full $10,000 entry in a qualifying contest at www.bcqualify.com, the ‘Official Online Qualifying Site for the BCBC.’ Last year, Peter Behr was another $110 online entrant and collected over $324,000 in winning the BCBC.
Traynor felt confident in both his selection of Bayern, but said the toughest decision was, “Do I walk away with $10,000 or do I lay it out there?” Even after Bayern had crossed the finish line first, Traynor had to wait to see if there would be a disqualification from the Stewards’ Inquiry based on the start of the race, and also to see if his $71,000 in Classic winnings would be high enough for first place.
Paul Weizer was leading the contest going into the Classic with a total of $57,000 but failed to select the winning horses in the finale. For his second place finish, Weizer, an educator from Massachusetts, collected an additional $130,000 in prize money, bringing his total winnings to $184,770.
“We are very excited about the success of this year’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge,” said Craig R. Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President & CEO. “This competition has grown 278% since the inaugural event in 2009, and shows no signs of letting up with 107 more entrants more than last year. Significant credit goes to Tim Schram who leads the BCL team, and our strong online partnership with Daily Racing Form and Kenny Kirchner’s BCQualify.com.”
John Conte, former National Handicapping Champion and Horseplayers television show regular, finished third in a spirted effort. Conte also qualified online at BCQualify, turning his $110 qualifying spot into $124,958. Fourth place was Nicholas Tammaro, winning $104,674 and fifth was Bob Graham, winning $84,071.
The remaining finishers of the Top 16 (all of whom also win a qualifying spot in the $2 million DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas) were:
6th – Matt Bernier, $73,154
7th – Gordon D’Angelo, $63,126
8th – Ed Briggs, $56,950
9th – Kenny Mayne, $51,833
10th – Anthony Acierno, $46,211
11th – Jose Raphael, $43,769
12th – Mark Myrick, $42,415
13th – Jeff Komins - $41,260
14th – Harry Fry, $39,297
15th – Curtis Meyer, $37,083
16th – Todd Urbina – NHC seat
This is the fourth year out of the past five when an all-in win bet on the Classic has proven to be the winning strategy. Robert Hansan in 2010 and Patrick McGoey in 2011 and 2012 each successfully hit the Classic with a win bet to capture the BCBC title.
The 2014 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge was the first to feature participation from satellite wagering sites, as Keeneland and Aqueduct hosted BCBC players. Of the 287 players, 252 played at Santa Anita, 19 at Keeneland and 16 from Aqueduct. The total wagering by the 287 players was an all-time record of $3,929,000 million in contest wagers. This figure does not include non-contest wagering by participants. A total of $3.425 million was from 252 tournament players at Santa Anita, which comprised 17% of the on-track handle at the racetrack over the two days of the Championships. The Santa Anita participants wagered an average of nearly $13,600 per player.