Apr 15 2013

Tournament Results

What a wild ride!

This past weekend I participated in the annual Xpressbet Showdown tournament.  I’ve been a horseplayer for 35 years, but only recently have I begun dabbling in tournaments.  And, what a wild ride it turned out to be.

First some background information; the Showdown Tournament follows a series of “qualifying” tournaments in preceding months.  I qualified for Showdown by finishing 23rd in a field of 868 players about one month ago.  Being 23rd was significant, because the top 30 finishers received a free entry into the Showdown Tournament, worth $500.  That’s how you “qualify.”  And it sure beats paying $500.

Showdown is a tournament that spanned over two days (April 13 and 14), and was conducted online through the Xpressbet website.  During those two days, Xpressbet selected 20 races run at three different race tracks.  In this case it was Aqueduct, Keeneland, and Santa Anita.  In each race the contestant makes a single Win wager on a horse.  If that horse wins, his earnings are added to the contestants personal winnings total.  Then prize money is paid out to the contestants that accumulate the most total earnings for all 20 races combined.  The payouts were as follows:

Placing Payout
1st $20,000
2nd $10,000
3rd $5,000
4th $3,000
5th-10th $2,000

Below is a high level overview of my tournament play.

I got off to a quick start in Race 2 on Day One, hitting a horse that was 24-1, and paying $50 to win.  However, the tournament rules cap a single horse’s payout at 20-1, yielding $42 toward my total earnings.    From this point on I knew I would be in serious contention for a solid placing in the tournament, but 18 races remained.

I jostled between 1st and 2nd place for the rest of Day 1, ending up in 2nd place at the finish of the day.  I started out hitting the first race on Day 2, and I was in 1st place through race 14.  Unfortunately, I struggled the next few races, and after Race 17 I slipped to 3rd place.  Going into the 20th and last race, I remained in 3rd place.  The last race produced a 22-1 winner, that I did not have on my radar, and it was the worst possible result for me and the top two contestants prior to the last race.  It allowed several people far below our total earnings to leap-frog us and ultimately push me down to 8th place at the finish line.

Horse racing is a game of second guessing.  In a pivotal race on Day 2, in a wide open 11-horse field, I had crossed off the top four favored horses from my selections.  With five minutes to post I was down to two horses, and ironically both horses were 12-1 odds.  Long story short, the one I didn’t select went gate-to-wire and paid $26.40.  The one I did select ran up the track and didn’t even hit the board.  After the tournament was over, I did the math … had I used the $26.40 horse in that race, I would have accumulated more earnings than the winner of the tournament.  Ouch.

All in all, I was ok with the outcome.  A few of the couch pillows took a beating however.  And the cat ran far, far away from me.  My wife and daughter weren’t home at the time, and when I didn’t answer the phone they called a neighbor to come and check on me.  They thought my standing prediction of perishing at the conclusion of a horse race had finally come true!

I really didn’t do my best handicapping on Day 2, so I was happy that my Day 1 performance was good enough to get me in the money for the tournament.  $2k for a couple of days work isn’t that bad.  Plus, since it’s a “Live” money tournament, I also netted another $500 in wagering dollars.

It was a wild ride for sure; filled with close photo-finishes, last minute decisions, woulda-coulda-shoulda moments, and everything that makes a day (or two) at the races a most exciting adventure.  Have I mentioned that I love this sport?

Neal Headshot2
By Neal Benoit

2 comments on “Tournament Results

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *