Maybe we need to add slots?
Tom Brown, Mark F. Smith, Sean McCulloch
and Vassili Kyrkos try to outwager the Chairman.
The Tighe's returned to the track
in force this year as we welcomed back John Tighe Sr after a
too long absence.
The horse racing industry has been fading for a long time
- relying on adrenaline from legalized slots gambling to prop
up its sagging fortunes all over the country. This trend is also
visible at WBC where attendance has been trending downwards.
At the end of the 2009 racing season, it was decided to increase
the demand for slots in the "WBC Derby" with a third
day of qualifying on the card for the 2010 season. The wisdom
of this decision was confirmed when the Racing Association reversed
the decrease in the number of entries and added a definite rise
in the excitement level since the change would not only mean
that there would be increased opportunities to play the game,
but also to qualify for the big board Final. Despite Win,
Place, & Show being a "6-player" game, having
more than six in a game ensures that the auction for horses becomes
a more crucial part of the game. Bidding is no longer a matter
of having to take some nag just to fill the field, but an integral
part of one's strategy in securing a mount to control in each
This having been said, there was no lack of excitement in
the Preliminary races where there were often less than six participants
to a board. Because WPS has a loyal cadre of players and a very
high level of participation from previous champions, the qualifying
action was very hard fought. The first set of races on the Tuesday
card featured wins by four-time champion Bruce Reiff, newcomer
Thomas Browne, and John Tighe, Sr. John, was a major player at
Avaloncon many years ago and had obviously not lost form in his
return to WPS and it was good to see him back after a long absence.
All of the wins were conclusive as each amassed a considerably
larger stash than the other punters.
The Friday slate was not as well attended but did generate
two boards, both won by former two-time champs Ken Gutermuth
and David Steiner. While Ken had a fairly easy win, Dave had
to sweat his win ended up only $3000 to the good.
The last preliminary on Saturday again drew three boards.
Former two-time champ John Welage managed to triumph with a fairly
modest $110,000 and a newcomer to the big board, Mark Kennel
won his invite with not much more. The third board was, however,
the most interesting of the tournament. Jason Levine finished
the day with $178000 in his pocket and could only come in third
as everyone was hitting the long shots. In the end, long time
player Craig Fox went over the $200K mark to win.
The championship round was a lot more conservative. With four
former champs in a field of eight, the Final was bound to be
close as all players were keeping an eagle eye on one another.
The first three races were played close to the vest. When two
players tried to break out in the fourth, they were rewarded
with bankruptcy. The fifth and sixth races did not go according
to form, at least for a few of the usual suspects. In the end,
a win for Jungle Monarch provided the winning margin for now
three-time champ John Welage as the purse won was the margin
of victory. As opposed to most years where the betting is the
thing and the backers of Mona Lisa are usually rewarded, the
2010 championship was decided by a $4000 owner investment.
GM Jim Burnett acts as steward for
the usual array of suspects, shady owners and corrupt jockeys
on the take.
Winning on the little board gets you
a ticket to Lancaster Downs and the big track where the Chairman
of the Board is usually in residence.