Connie Hoetger of Lincoln, Calif. made the plays that counted and took down the top prize in the Saturday, Feb. 8th $50,000 DerbyWars game!
DerbyWars, the online horse racing contest site, has hosted and paid out over $5,000,000 in tournaments. For the second time ever, on Saturday, February 8 DerbyWars hosted a $50,000 game won by Connie Hoetger.
Hoetger, known as "Connie" in the game, parlayed an $18 Round 1 Qualifier into a massive $20,000 score!
Hoetger is no stranger to the racetrack, having spent 13 years working at Del Mar. "After I retired...(I) lived in a trailer in the parking lot, walked to the beach, walked to work and morning workouts. Nothing but horse folks living there for the two months. I learned a lot about the ponies and how to party!" he said.
Hoetger parlayed his $18 qualifier win into a second-round qualifier that gained him the $875 entry into the $50,000 Game, where he faced off against 66 other entries.
"I played the round one $18 qualifier and five days later I cashed for $20,000! Where else could you do that?
Derby Wars ROCKS!"
Said Hoetger, "I have only been playing Derby Wars for a few months and love the variety of contests; varying entry fees, tournaments all day and night, and many tracks. A horseplayer could not ask for much more."
Though he started the game out slowly, his fortunes changed in Race 7, the San Antonio Handicap, where everyone was trying to pick against Game On Dude! His strategy, as he tells it, involved playing overlooked jockeys at value prices:
"There were 14 races in the 50K tourney and I lost the first six! I was saying to myself it only cost $18 so what can you expect?" he said.
"In the 7th race I had to beat Game on Dude....oh sure! I bet Aaron Gryder because he gets few mounts but is a skilled jock. And a long shot jock. He paid $33.80 on the front end. That didn't get me too excited about winning the tournament. At least I wasn't going to get blanked for the day.
Gulfstream's 11th was an easy pick for me. I always bet Luis Saez at 10-1 or better.....amazing ROI on that play. Luis came through and paid $31.60 on the front end.
Now I was thinking I could get in the top 10!
Fairgrounds 9th gave me a chance to play Brian Hernandez at 11-1. There are 5 jocks I always bet when they are 10-1 or better.......Victor Espinosa, Luis Saez, Joel Rosario, Brian Hernandez and Rafael Bejarano. That has worked well for me. Brian won the race and paid 24.40 to win.
I WAS IN FIRST PLACE!!!!
In Event 10 I bet Saez again. He placed and paid $6. I was in front by about $30!!! I can win this thing!!!
With four races to go I simply bet the long shots I liked figuring no one could beat me with the favorites. For the next 45 minutes I rooted for my horse and the three or four horses that were favorites....quite a nice position to be. Favorites won the last four and I was a BIG WINNER!!!!"
Coming in second was DerbyWars regular Craig Hom (chestnut) who was coming off a 20th place finish at the NHC, and DerbyWars veteran Taytay, who recently won DerbyWars $5,000 game in November.
Overall, Hoetger had beaten a stellar field that included 2014 NHC Tour winner Brent Sumja (bsumone, 5th place), and former NHC champs Michael Beychok (13th) and Richard Goodall (63rd).
"Online tournaments have kept me excited
about playing the horses."
"I made my first race bet in 1960 at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds. I have been very much a serious player over the years," he said."In the 1980's and 1990's I was at the track more than 200 times a year. And I had a full time job!"
He joined DerbyWars in September.
"I have been fortunate the last 1 1/2 years..... I won an entry into the Breeders Cup Betting Challenge ($10,000) and the Del Mar Challenge ($7,000). But this certainly tops those," he said. "Online tournaments have kept me excited about playing the horses. They give me the challenge of the usual handicapping but have added the necessity to have a degree of strategy to my bets. And for sure they have made me a better handicapper."
He also knows what it's like to have a horse in the Breeders' Cup Classic, as he was part-owner of Freedom Quest in 2000. Freedom Quest was the most noteworthy of about 15 Thoroughbreds Hoetger has owned in partnership over the years.
DerbyWars has hosted over 20,000 horse racing contests of all sizes, big and small - including over 500 different games last week!
You could be the next big winner!
Play TODAY and QUALIFY for SATURDAY's $10,000 Game