It was a very happy new year's weekend for Travis Reese of Beverly, Mass., who outplayed 55 others to take home the $10,000 top prize in DerbyWars' $25,000 January Game! Reese (tsreese on the Leaderboard) has been a regular player of DerbyWars contests since the beginning in 2011, but this fall he's taken his game to another level, bringing down a $5,000 High Stakes game in October and the $5,000 Santa Anita Opening Day game on Dec. 26 in preparation for last weekend's $25,000 Game. He qualified twice for the game in a $47 Qualifier and a $77 Qualifier - not bad for a $124 investment!
"I basically try to strike the right balance of bombs, mid range and short priced horses," said Reese. "While picking short priced horses is not going to win you any tournaments, the beauty is that few tournament players settle on chalk, which can give a player an edge when they find legitimate favorites."
The picks tell the tale of this winning formula: Reese started the game on a 4-race scoring streak, boosted by the place-capper Hundred Acre Wood at Santa Anita. While some players hit a plateau after such a quick opening, Reese continued to pick scoring horses throughout the rest of the contest, ending with an incredible 9 of 14 in-the-money picks! His final score was $102.10, $3.50 more than runner-up Dana Martino (mayor) of Las Vegas, who finished with $98.60 on the board. Dave Gray (dave g) of Cleveland, Ohio was third with a final score of $79.60.
"Having 2 entries really helped me out as I was able to pick horses that I thought were the most likely winners with my top entry and hedge by picking price horses on my second," he said. His second ticket finished 19th with $46.60.
Reese, 33, grew up near Saratoga and has been handicapping and attending races "since before legal gambling age."
"(I) have been refining my handicapping skills over the past 18 years or so. You have you continue to learn and evolve in this game to remain competitive."
Start refining your winning strategies today - sign up now for DerbyWars! The next $25,000 Game is Jan. 18 and the $50,000 Game is coming up February 8!