Race, Bet & Scheme
If you win here ...
... you get to play here.
continued our renaissance with 39 jockeys/owners returning to
the Lancaster paddocks. Four 5-player and one 6-player game
were played on Tuesday. Three more 5-player and another
6-player preliminary game were added Saturday. This qualified
nine winners for the Big Board Final.
The first racing was a night card as 26 would be owners and
gamblers showed up Tuesday night to test their knowledge of the
horses. Five previous champions were among them with four gaining
an early spot at the Final table.
In the first game, two-time champ Ken Gutermuth managed to
stay close by consistently winning purse money until he was able
to to edge Mike Zorrer in the last race as both rode Mona Lisa
to a close finish.
Four-time champ Bruce Reiff wasted no time punching his ticket
to the Final by collecting the largest total of the first day
($177,000). Bruce got a big jump on the field in the second
race with an across the baord win including the top purse money.
Bert Schoose posted the only upset of a former champ in the
first card as he defeated Dave "the fixer" Steiner
who finished last at Table 3.
Defending champ John Wellage stayed close until the sixth
race when he rode Jungle Monarch to a win with an across the
board bet to augment the purse.
Dennis Nicholson, our last former champ, rounded out the first
night qualifiers by edging out Marvin Birnbaum. Dennis used
good early payouts on place and show bets to build his lead and
The Saturday afternoon card brought in 21 owners --13 trying
their luck for the first time including a sixth former champ,
Robert Drozd, and eight also-rans back again for another try.
Jason Levine, a former laurelist, took an early lead and never
looked back to advance once again to the big board.
Tom Browne got his first glimpse of the big board as he amassed
the largest total of the week with $195,500 gained primarily
with purses and bets on his own horses.
Mike Zorrer, a frequent finalist, compensated for his narrow
loss on Tuesday to advance, once again riding the strength of
Mona Lisa in the last race to victory.
Our last game saw Dave Steiner avenge his first night loss
by schooling his table on why he is kown as "the fixer" amassing
such a large lead that the last race was not run.
As Win, Place, and Show entered its final round, eight
of the nine qualifiers posted to enter what would be one of the
wildest Finals ever played at Lancaster Downs. The finalists
included defending champion John Welage, as well as former champions
Ken Gutermuth, Dennis Nicholson, Bruce Reiff, and Dave Steiner. Veteran
finalists Jason Levine and Mike Zorrer joined the former champions
as well as newcomer Tom Browne. Bert Schoose was a victim
of his own success and was too busy winning Grognard events to
attend. The finalists unanimously agreed to use the race cards
that were produced by Stuart Tucker years before in the General
in order to add some variety. The horse names had been changed
to a wedding theme as several of them had been used a few years
previously at the Gutermuth wedding.
The first three races proved to be a survival test as three
of our finalists were "all in" with either their horse
purchases or bets in Race 4.
In the first three races, John and Ken were able to bring
in enough bets and purse money to be ahead of their starting
cash while Tom and Mike stayed within reach. Dave was getting
low but still had enough money to enter race 4 with no jeopardy
of elimination. Bruce, Dennis, and Jason, however, were
on the brink of bankruptcy.
In Race 4, a turning point in the Final, Dennis spent 2K -
his entire remaining cash - purchasing a horse. Unfortunately,
the horse was lame and halfway through the race, it was evident
that Dennis would be the first to fall. John and Ken hit
good payouts in Race 4 to distance themselves from the rest of
the field. Bruce and Jason survived their bets and managed
to win enough money to stay alive. Tom and mike continued
in 3rd and 4th but would need a break to catch the leaders.
Race 5 continued like the others with Ken not getting a horse
to run while John continued to make purse money. Payouts
for Race 5 left John with a $10K to $15K lead over Ken who was
a good deal ahead of the rest of the pack. The cash was
still lower than the normal status after five races and therefore
in addition to John and Ken, Jason, Tom, and Mike still had a
chance to capture the title if they could find the right longshot
in the sixth.
Despite some aggressive bidding, Ken was the owner left without
a horse again with no chance to claim the $25K purse. The
last race looked like Jason might make a run at the lead as his
horse, not one of the favorites was making a strong run into
the end of the last turn. Based on getting a bonus roll,
Jason had to stop in the last turn space with a horse in front
of him. His odds were still good as he ran the number 3
horse while the number 2 horse was in front of him. As Jason's
luck in the Final continued on stride, a white 3 was rolled and
his horse could not move. This stopped any chance
of his comeback win. In the end, John's horse finished second
and Ken and John had both bet on it to keep the order of finish
intact with John successfully defending his title.
Final scores were John Welage $176.5K, Ken Gutermuth $144K,
Dave Steiner $54K, Mike Zorrer, $47.5K, Bruce R. $44.5K, Tom
Browne $19K, Jason Levine $11K, and Dennis Nicholson with $0. The
Final proved more entertaining than usual as none of the finalists
knew what to bet on each race with the different racing cards.
John Welage is obviously a man
whose found his game. The 2006 champ has a shirt to match his
John coaxes his mount through
the turn while wearing his 2006 Centurion "silks.