Trifecta Score in Gotham Stakes Propells Handicapper to Victory

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NTRA NHC logoWhen Old Time Revival set the pace and valiantly held on to nab the runner up spot in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes, it not only propelled the 3-year-old into the Triple Crown picture, it vaulted Karen Casey into first place in the Gotham Handicapping Challenge, held at Aqueduct.

Casey, a registered nurse from Manhattan, successfully hit a $10 Trifecta in the race, netting $5,695 which vaulted her into first place from 125 participants.

The Gotham Challenge, a $500 entry fee live-money handicapping challenge with $250 directly deposited to the prize pool and the remaining $250 comprising each player’s live bankroll, featured races on Saturday from Aqueduct Racetrack, Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs.

“I was stunned,” Casey said when the field crossed the wire in the Triple Crown prep race. “I couldn’t believe it. [It was] very exciting.” 

Casey said she has been following handicappers on Twitter and listening to podcasts, especially Pete Fornatale, and learned that successful players had been winning similar events by playing trifectas. She said that in previous events she focused on exactas, but decided trifectas were the way to go in the Gotham Challenge.

Her second strategy was to focus on speed horses at Aqueduct, she said. That led her to Old Time Revival, who had shown early speed in all of his races and once again disputed the pace in the Gotham, where he held the lead until late in the stretch.

“Speed was running so well all day at Aqueduct, so I just threw the 7 in there,” Casey said. “That wasn’t my main tri, but I took a shot in the last race since speed was playing well. I keyed a $10 tri, 9 with 6,7.”

Casey said she first fell in love with horse racing as a youngster. A native of New Jersey, she fondly recalls her father taking her to Monmouth Park. She took a break from following racing while raising her children but reconnected with it in 2007 after a trip to Saratoga.

Picking up the first-place prize of $5,000, Casey also earned $5,985 on the day from her live-money wagers. With her victory, she also won a seat to the 2018 Belmont Stakes Challenge. In second-place was Peter Yan, with $2,049 from the prize pool and $3,845 in live money and one seat to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas. Michael Cavana finished in third-place, netting $1,567 from the prize pool and $2,567.75 in live money wagers earning the remaining seat to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship.

The next Handicapping Challenge the New York Racing Association will host is the Wood Memorial Challenge on Saturday, April 7. The winner of that contest is guaranteed a minimum first place prize of $5,000, with a seat to the 2018 Belmont Stakes Challenge and two seats to the National Horseplayers Championship in February 2019 up for grabs.

Registration is available for the Wood Memorial Challenge at NYRA.com/Challenge. Entrants may also earn a berth through qualifiers hosted at DRF.com and Horsetourneys.com.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 15-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is also a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program. He is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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