Race, Bet & Scheme
If you win here ...
... you get to play here.
WPS rebounded in 2006 with 37 jockeys/owners returning to
the paddocks at Lancaster. Five 5-player games on Tuesday
and three 6-player games on Saturday qualified eight for the
Big Board Final racing card Saturday.
The event opened with a night card as 25 would be owners and
gamblers showed up Tuesday night to test their knowledge of the
horses. Five previous champions were in attendance but only two
qualified for an early spot in the Final.
In the first game, two-time champ Ken Gutermuth managed to
stay close by consistently winning purse money until he was able
to pull away with the Roach in Race 5 as the Roach sped to victory
on the strength of two bonus numbers.
Our other previous champion to advance Tuesday evening was
2003's Rob Drozd. Rob built a lead with wins in the second
and third race and then held on in the lowest scoring game of
the first heat.
John Emery doused the hopes of two-time defending champion
Dave "the Fixer" Steiner as he posted the highest score
of the night. John was aided by a very strong first race
in which he mistakenly looked at the third race card, made his
bets, and managed to win the first race.
John Welage, a perennial contender, knocked off Mr. Plaque
Bruce Reiff by cashing in on purses in five of the six races
and betting on his own horses.
Carl Ademec held on to edge 1995 champion Dennis Nicholson
who made a late charge with a Mona Lisa across the board bet
and purse money.
The Saturday afternoon card brought in 19 owners. With
an optimum of six per game, assistant GM Nate Hoam opted to sit
out the heat in order to make a perfect 18.
Jason Levine, a perennial track hound, rebounded from a devastating
Roach performance in Race 5 to ride Mona Lisa to the win in Race
6 to earn his shot at the big board.
Racing regular Gerald Lientz joined Jason in the winner's
column, denying former Champ Nicholson's second try to reclaimn
past glories. Gerald's thirrd place bet on Captain Ahab
in the finale assured his win.
In our closest contest of the weekend, two-time Champion Stuart
tucker edged out Steve Raszewski on the strength of an erroneous
foul claim. Steve's foul claim in Race 5 cost him $2,000
when it was shown that Stuart bet on the horse in question. Steve
then came up $1,000 short of Stuart after Race 6.
The Final was now set with the twp-year reign of the
"Fixer" ended as Dave Steiner failed to qualify. Seven
of the eight qualifiers were able to make the finals including
previous champions Stuart Tucker, Robert Drozd, and Ken Gutermuth. They
were joined by former laurelists John Wellage, Jason Levine,
John Emery and Gerald Lientz. There wasn't an easy mark
in the crowd.
In the first race, the perennial favorite among bettors, Gunsmoke,
came up one space short on the next to last roll and then failed
to finish in the money. Both John's surged ahead as Welage
took Eight Ball to show and place and Emery got three payouts
with Lucky Old Sun to Win and Place and Rotunda to show.
The second race showed signs of fixing as Gerald ran Peace
Corps to the outside, a move that didn't raise an eyebrow as
Peace Corps is a very long shot. No one made a lot of money
this race as the favorite Nothing Special won. Welage's
purse money, a story that would follow the rest of the card,
managed him to build a lead with his safety bet of Nothing Special
to place and show. Emery's bets on Corn Plaster dropped
him back to the pack.
The daily double of the two favorites, Lucky Old Sun and Nothing
Special cost everyone $5,000 in lost bets.
The third race would just about end all hopes of six of our
contestants as Welage.began his final push of running his horses
to purse finishes and betting on them. John ran Stampede
to a first place finish and bet on Stampede across the board. This
payout of $80,000 left him $93.500 ahead of Rob in second with
Knowing they needed a miracle, the third race was uneventful
as everyone waited for Race 5 and the Roach. In an exciting
finish to the race, designated roller Lisa Gutermuth rolled boxcars
on the last roll to give French Twist the win for Gerald. Jason
and Stuart's across the board bet on the Twist allowed them to
gain some ground, but they still trailed by $80,000.
The much anticipated bidding for the Roach in Race 5, especially
with Jason, Stuart, and Ken known to pay a high price, was tempered
when Stuart lost the dice-off and had to purchase the favorite
Lobster Tail and Ken was forced to take Hung Jury. Welage
bailed out of the bidding by taking slow Molasses. Jason
ended up with the Roach for $5,500.
The race proved to be too slow for the Roach and favorite
Lobster Tail won easily. A couple of bonus numbers for Slow
Molasses gave Welage's horse second place and almost assured
him of his first crown. Going into the last race, Stuart
was in second place, $93.5K behind the leader.
As we entered the bidding for the last race, Jason let slip
Stuart's traditional strategy of the Mona Lisa for the race. Knowing
John would probably not be caught, bidding patterns changed. Welage
got out early with a $7,500 bid on the favorite Jungle Monarch. Ken
lost the roll off and had to take Swami before the big three
horses entered the auction block. Wanting to stop Jason,
Stuart let Robert have the Mona Lisa for $2,500 and Gerald managed
to pick up Hannibal for $1,000. The bidding then skyrocketed
as Captain Ahab went for $17,000 to Stuart. Using bonus
numbers again, book favorite Jungle Monarch emerged victorious
outracing Mona Lisa in a fairly slow race. The $25,000 purse
money without a long shot winning assured Welage. of the crown.
Congratulations to John Welage on a fine win that showed if
you bet on your own horses and run them well, you can race to
victory. Final scores were John Welage $175,000, Robert
Drozd $80,000, John Emery $31,000, Stuart Tucker $27,000, Ken
Gutermuth $22,000, Jason Levine $16,500, and Gerald Lientz $4,000,
leaving only two of our finalists above their starting cash.