Though Groundhog Day isn’t until next week, Day 2 of the National Handicapping Championship duplicated what took place on Friday. Longshots
reigned supreme, especially at Santa Anita, and the leader remained the same.
Four of Santa Anita’s
10 races were won by cap horses, led by 65-1 Susans Express in the Cal Cup
Oaks. Aside from the Cal Cup Oaks and Weewinnin’s 21-1 upset of the Cal Cup Turf,
the rest of the NHC mandatory races were rather chalky, with the next highest
payoff being Cloud Scapes ($10.00/$6.40) in the Endeavor Stakes at Tampa Bay
Despite tote boards short circuiting due to high payoffs, the leader board stayed pretty much intact from Friday to today. Jose Arias added to his bankroll and still leads with $326.00. Nick Alpino ($279.20) from Laguna Hills, CA climbed to second, and Chris Skotz of Campbell, CA moved up from 6th to 3rd on Saturday.
Only contestants in the top 50 are eligible to for the top prize. Just making the cut was Richard Mueller by amassing a bankroll of $173.60. Past champions James Michelson Jr. (24th) and Judy Wagner (47th) still have a chance to become the first two-time winner of the event.
Sunday the final 50 will compete in a 10-race tournament consisting
of 7 optional and 3 mandatory race selections. Once complete, the top 10 will
move onto the final table and compete over an additional five mandatory races.
Once the smoke clears a champion handicapper will be crowned for 2014 receiving
$750,000 and an Eclipse Award.
Though Arias leads Alpino by $46.80, those chasing him are more focused on making it to the final table. The $33.80 gap between 10th and 50th assures there will be plenty of anxious moments with every close finish on Sunday.