Wiener, Wilhelm, and Strunk to Represent Turfway at the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship
FLORENCE, Ky. (Dec. 8, 2013) – Brett Wiener of Clearwater Beach, Fla., topped all players in Turfway Park’s handicapping contest on Sunday, a qualifier for the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas in January. The victory gave Wiener one of three national championship berths available at the Turfway qualifier.
Players at the Turfway Park qualifier operated with a $48 live bankroll, placing $2 win and $2 place bets on races of their choice from five designated tracks. Wiener ended the day with $298.50 in winnings, earning his way to the national tournament and Turfway’s $3,408 first place cash prize.
This year marks the fifth time Wiener has qualified for the national tournament. He hit back-to-back long shots to ensure Sunday’s victory: Triple Arch at 33-1 in the ninth race at Gulfstream Park and French Celebrity at 22-1 in the seventh race at Fair Grounds.
“I put my picks in ahead of time, and then when I got the lead I still had to wait for some long shots to come in. It was a roller coaster ride,” said Wiener. “I think I was the highest-ranked player on the [NHC] tour who hadn’t yet qualified.”
John Wilhelm of Claredon Hills, Ill., finished second in Turfway’s qualifier with $286.30, also earning a trip to the national tournament and $2,130 in cash.
Players were allowed up to 10 entries each at Turfway’s qualifier, and Mark Streiff of Mission Viejo, Calif., took advantage of that rule, finishing third with $272.30 and taking seventh and eighth places as well. Streiff had qualified for the national championship at an earlier contest and therefore was playing at Turfway only to increase his NHC Tour point total and earn cash prizes. His afternoon’s work brought him $1,349.
Because Streiff had already qualified, Bennie Strunk of Lexington, Ky., ended the afternoon a happy handicapper. Strunk finished fourth with $267.60 but took the third available berth that Turfway offered for the national championship.
Finishing fifth, sixth, ninth, and 10th at Turfway were Susie Grensing, Brent Sumja, Paul Hoffman, and Cheryl McIntyre, respectively. As of Dec. 6, Sumja is the points leader on the NHC Tour, a year-long series of qualifying contests that lead to the national tournament. Streiff is currently second on the tour, while Hoffman stands fourth and McIntyre is 11th. The tour offers a total of $175,000 in cash prizes, including $75,000 to the winner.
The DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas is expected to offer $750,000 to the winner of the three-day contest and $1.5 million overall. If the tour winner also wins the national tournament, he or she is eligible for a $2 million bonus.