Once again, the Seven Springs Race Track proved to be popular with the WBC horse racing community. Attendance was around forty punters for the 2018 program which featured four heats leading up to the final. We are also attracting new players as well as the “Old Faithful”. This year the demo had a large attendance, showing that new players are gaining interest.
The program began on the first Sunday of the con. There were four boards in this heat were filled with players wishing to get an early entry into the finals. The winners on these first boards were Bert Schoose, Mark Kennel, Mike Pulcen, and John Anderson. Of these, only Bert was a past champion. For these early races, the winning amounts remained fairly modest at only a bit over $100,000.
Action continued into the second heat on Tuesday evening. Racing under the lights always draws the late night crowd. Winners in this session were Bruce Reiff, Stuart Tucker, and Brady Detwiler. Bruce and Stuart were also returning winners. Again, the winnings were relatively small; in the same range as the previous heat.
The third heat on Friday morning saw the field down to only two boards. Former champ Ken Gutermuth was joined by perennial contender Vasili Kyrkos. As a change, Vasili managed to accumulate $185,000.
The fourth and final heat was interesting, if only because several strong players were taking their last shot. There were two boards competed and, in the end, ex-champs John Welage and Jeremy Billones prevailed to set the field. John managed to hit $150,000 and Jeremy came in at the normal (for this meet) $100,000.
After John Anderson scratched, we had ten players left to compete for the 2018 title; the usual mix of former champions and hopefuls. The track for the Big Board started out fast. Mustard Seed took the first race and Corn Plaster the second, saving the Racing Commission from having to pay off any Daily Doubles. Egg Yolk won the third, also saving payouts. In the fourth race, French Twist beat the odds giving Mark a fairly good hold on the lead. Dying Ember kept up the string of upsets in the fifth race and some players were scrambling for cash to close out the program.
All of a sudden, after fast racing and upsets, the track went slow in the finale. As is usual on a slow track, crowd favorite Mona Lisa brought home the money – just the same as last year. Former champion Stuart Tucker had bought and backed the Lisa across the board to make a big comeback for the win with $147,500. Mark kept his cash up enough to get second, followed by Vasili, Jeremy, Brady, and Bruce. This was the only time the GM can recall the Racing Commission actually turning a profit as the players turned in about $5000 less than they were issued.
Special thanks from the racing commission goes to Bruce and Nichole Reiff. Since the GM was unable to get to the Saturday sessions, they ran the track for those two heats. Bruce was even kind enough to lose 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 look forward to the 2019 season at our Seven Springs track.