The annual Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest was off to a good start last Saturday. With plenty of room to spread out on both Clubhouse and Mezzanine levels, race fans were treated to a competitive day of racing including the R2K feature track Gulfstream Park.
Handicapper Michael Tindall earned 1,912 points in R2K to win the week and $200. Phil Marudas, yes THAT Phil Marudas, who in the early days of Canterbury was the prognosticator for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, scored 1,750 for second place and $150, while Michael Olson was third with 1,484 earning a $100 prize.
Those top three also earned Canterbury Handicapper of the Year points, three for first, two for second and one for third, which are awarded each of the 14 weeks.
This Saturday the Road stops at Tampa Bay Downs for the Sam F. Davis Stakes, a prep for that track’s premier race, the Tampa Bay Derby. For those not familiar with the R2K contest, see below for the scoring system. There is an additional bonus race, the Withers from Aqueduct, in the contest. The nor’easter should have blown through by then and the track will be ready for a day of racing.
Tampa Bay Downs has an excellent card, 12 races in all, with three other stakes in addition to the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis: the Lambholm South Endeavour, a Grade 3 turf race; the Suncoast Stakes; and the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes on the grass.
Santa Anita has three graded stakes Saturday as well and Minnesota-bred stakes star Mr. Jagermeister is entered at Oaklawn in the King Cotton Stakes. The Racebook and Mezz level simulcast area open at 9:30 a.m. R2K Entry deadline is first post at Tampa at 10:50 a.m.
Here is how the R2K scoring system works:
Entrants (players can enter once per week and cannot submit entries for others not present) select one horse in each race at the featured track and one horse in any additional bonus races. Entry cards will be distributed to entrants in the Racebook who then write the official program number of each selection in the designated slots. Entry cards need to be submitted before the start of the featured track.
Points will be awarded based on the official outcome of the races based on the amount of points that equals the total dollar amount of the official mutuel return on each selection based on a mythical $20 across-the-board wager. For example: Selection finishes first and the official mutuel results are as follows: $6.00 to win; $4.00 to place; $2.40 to show, the player will receive 124 points for that pick. If a selection finishes second and returns $15.00 to place and $8.80 to show, the player would receive 238 points. The maximum points possible for win will be 600 points, for place 400 points and for show 200 points. The bonus races are doubled for scoring purposes.
Points are totaled and the best scores win.