The move to Seven Springs has proven to be positive for the horse racing community. Attendance has held near fifty punters for the four heats. We are also attracting new players as well as the Old Faithful. Moving the demo to the earlier date may have been helpful also.
The program began on the first Saturday of the con. Three boards in each of the two heats were filled with players wishing to get an early entry into the finals. The winners on these first boards included Ken Gutermuth, Jeff Mullet, and Tom Vickery in the first heat, and Bruce Reiff, Robert Drozd, and Cliff Ackman in the second. Bruce scored the largest win with over $150K on his board and Cliff managed to take the slow track with only $87,500. Bruce, Ken, and Robert have a total of seven plaques between them.
Action continued into the third heat on Tuesday evening. Racing under the lights always draws the late night crowd. Winners in this session were John Emery, Rachel Harley, and Josh Coyle. John set a new dollar standard with $154,500 and Josh returned after his fifth place finish in the final board last year.
The fourth and final heat was, by far, the most interesting. Even though only six players were present, there were four former champions with a total of nine plaques all vying for a spot in the final. They were joined by two other experienced threats to their advancement. In the end, John Welage prevailed to set the field. His total was exactly the same as John’s in the third heat.
After Cliff Ackman and John Emery scratched, we had eight players left to compete for the 2017 title, four former champions with a total of ten wins and four hopefuls. Gunsmoke took the first race and Indian Giver the second, giving the wily bettor the 1-6 combination in the Daily Double and starting them off well. Bone Bruise won the third, making little money for the field. In the fourth race, Crime Wave beat the odds giving Robert some good money. Slow Molasses did the same for John in the fifth.
In the end, however, it was the crowd favorite Mona Lisa who brought home the money. Our four former champions were all close, but Bruce Reiff claimed his fifth win, but the first this millennia, with a total of $169,500. Just behind were John, Ken, and Robert, all separated by $12,000. This is the closest finish across the board in quite a few years of racing. Josh and Rachel finished fifth and sixth to get their pictures on next year’s kiosk.
Special thanks from the racing commission goes to Bruce and Nichole Reiff. Since the GM was unable to get to the First Saturday sessions, they ran the track for those two heats. Bruce was even kind enough to allow Tom to defeat him in the first heat so he would have to stay around for the second. Without their assistance, things would have been much more difficult on the GM. As always, thanks to Ken Gutermuth for the Big Board. It’s always a highlight of the con. We were able to accommodate the game easily in Chestnut. We look forward to the 2018 season at our Seven Springs track.