Paul Haggard of San Diego is the latest $10,000 SAT Game winner on DerbyWars, and he's the first one to send us a picture of his dog!
Haggard explains the photo as the origin of his unique DerbyWars username: "The photo of my puppy is also the one used for my icon. Bobbie was eight weeks, three and a half pounds, and the only female of a litter from a Corgi-Labrador coupling. The Lab was the mother. I have a long history of picking second place finishers. My buddies would ask me who I had in the race, then say, 'now that we know who will place, we need to pick the winner.' Combine the second place finishes with the pun-intended, short-nosed puppy, and you have 'nosed out again'."
When it came to the June 28th $10K, however, he was anything but "nosed out"!
"Thanks DerbyWars, for developing this Exceptional Site!"
"Beyer figures, pace projection, race shape, surface and distance preps, breeding, the sire and dam’s offspring stats, top jockeys and trainers, all played a part on the path to picking nine winners in the June 28th game," he said. "Two of the winners were short priced favorites (Big Business in BEL R7 and Riposte in BEL R9). Both ran in small fields where the prevailing players proverb states, 'play the longest shot in a short field' - I have used that axiom in the past with minor success, but usually apply that to lower level races. Having missed out three weeks in a row last month of qualifying for a $10k game by amounts varying from 20 to 60 cents, I opted for the percentages in those types of higher level races which call for playing the favorite."
This bit of contest strategy was bolstered by sharp plays all throughout the card, which featured races from Belmont and Santa Anita.
"Bold Fantasy (in SA R1) looked sharp off the turf sprint prep with two works and a jockey change. (John) Sadler had first time starter Downton My Lady legged up with three consecutive six furlong works, including a bullet at San Luis Rey, and Pioneer of the Nile is a top sire. Maiden claimer Woody’s Wharf (in SA R3) had a good looking surface prep, a couple of works, jockey change, and both sire and dam were quality turf performers. The others fell into the same handicapping profiles, the trips all worked out, and racing luck was on my side."
Haggard scored in all but 3 of the 13 contest races last Saturday, for a final score of $149.70, an incredible $66 ahead of the next-closest rival! He took down the $5,000 first prize, including a spot in this Saturday's $25K Game!
"Innovative and Diverse contests!"
Finishing second was Donald Harris, "clockerdh", of Redondo Beach, Calif. with $83.70 to win $1,500 and an entry in the $10K High Stakes game. Richard Guggenheim, "guggie" of New York City, scored $82.20, enough to win the $800 third prize.
Haggard has his golf buddies and Russell Baze to thank for kickstarting his love of the game.
"My golf buddies in Northern California introduced me to Thoroughbred handicapping in 1988. We had tickets for Rodney Dangerfield at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View which is just up the highway from Bay Meadows Race Track. Arriving just in time for the last three races, I used Bob Ike’s Handicap, which was posted in the San Francisco Chronicle on a daily basis, to select Russell Baze to ride his mount to place. He finished second for my first payoff. Rolled that ticket over and wagered on Baze to place again. Same result. Now, the butterflies are churning and I’m up $24 after two races. My original wager was $5. I wanted to walk out of there even on the day at the least. The teller favored me with an odd expression when I wagered $19 on...you guessed it, Russell Baze, to win the last race of the day. Baze comes through with the win, edging my bankroll over the century mark and putting many drinks in our hands."
The first taste of victory wasn't enough for Haggard, who continued to play and polish his skill through many life changes.
"I could be found haunting the OTB at the Vallejo Fairgrounds before my work shift during the week and most Saturdays. This pattern continued upon relocating to Southern California in 1995 until 2006, the year I met my wife, Pam. She and her late husband had a stable of thoroughbreds and ran them on the Southern California tracks for twenty years starting in 1983. After our marriage in 2008 and my subsequent retirement the following year, she encouraged me to use the handicapping knowledge acquired over the years to see if we could turn a profit. Her continued support bolstered my confidence, and some days it all comes together. A few well paying tri’s and super’s led to our largest payout to date. A $23,771 pick four hit at Keeneland in April of 2011."
"I would like to thank the Derby Wars Staff for developing and maintaining this exceptional website with innovative and diverse handicapping contests suitable to all that wish to compete."
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