Oracle vs Brady

Local horse handicapper Bruce ”The Oracle’ Meyer might  not have a lot in common with quarterback Tom Brady but each has six titles. Brady won six Super bowls, while Oracle has six Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year belts.

Brady may have the bigger stage; millions of people are watching him, while Oracle toils away to crowds of several thousand, but the magnitude of the accomplishments of each must not be understated. Beating back multiple foes six times over the course of several years is something.

On Sunday in the Big Game, Brady can win his seventh ring.  In 2021, The Oracle can win his seventh HOY. Brady gets his answer tomorrow; Oracle in 10 months. He caught a point last month in the In The Money chop. One point a month has been his target for years. Many try. Few succeed.

The QB won his first title in the 2000-2001 season and his sixth in the 2019 game. Oracle started chasing the HOY after qualifying for the NHC in 2008. He won his first title in 2011 and his sixth in 2019 and has never gone two year since ’11 without a championship. If that trend remains true, this is again his year.

“Wouldn’t that be great,” Meyer said. “The comparison between Brady and me is a natural one to make. If Brady wins, I definitely need to catch him. Luckily my handicapping career will extend past his pro football career. But I think the Chiefs will win anyway.”

The Oracle providing bulletin board material for Brady.

Like any endeavor, commitment, skill and a degree of good fortune can vault one into the rarified air of champions.  It does not come without sacrifice for The Oracle. For example, an upcoming trip is scheduled for Sunday through Thursday to avoid missing contests.

In 2021, Canterbury Park will offer handicapping contests every month; some will be free to  enter like the Road to Kentucky contest going on now, others require an entry fee like the weekly Spring Tune Up Super Satellites now underway, but all will award winners Handicapper of the Year points that will accumulate toward the Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year award and an additional $2,000 prize. The runner-up will receive $500.

Speaking of Big Game Sunday, the Canterbury Card Casino is open 24/7 and the Racebook will be open prior to the game with racing from tracks like Gulfstream, Oaklawn and Santa Anita.

Rau Wins 2020 Canterbury Handicapper of the Year; Quest for 2021 Title Begins

The start-stop-start-stop 2020 racing year did not deter Shaun Rau from winning the prestigious Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year title. The 39-year-old horse player from Lakeville, runner up in the 2019 HOY standings, pushed past 2010 winner Ron Hafner to capture the honors by a score of 12 to 10. [final standings here].  Rau receives the $2,000 first prize and Hafner $500 for his second-place effort.

Rau dominated in the weekly $10 super satellites held throughout 2020, accruing the majority of his points there. He also had a second-place finish in a weekly Road to Kentucky event.

The 2021 journey to Handicapper of the Year begins Saturday with the NHC Last Chance Qualifier and the In The Money Contest. The $10 Spring Tune Up Super Satellites begin Jan. 21 and the free-to-enter 14-week Road to Kentucky will begin Jan. 30.

Handicapping contests will continue to be hosted every month in the Canterbury Racebook; some will be free to enter, others require an entry fee, but all will award winners Handicapper of the Year points that will accumulate toward the 2021 Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year award.

The tradition of posting an advance wagering line continues. Bruce Meyer has won the title six times since his first in 2011 and has never gone two years without winning. Meyer is installed as the 3 to 1 favorite. Rau gives no indication he will not again pursue the glory. He is 6 to 1 second choice. Hafner is persistent and always a danger to have a big year, 10 to 1.

Mike Ferrozzo is well-known on the national scene, won Canterbury HOY in 2017, and should he take an interest in 2021 the 12 to 1 line would be an overlay. Terry Severson finished third in 2020. A full year in 2021 increases his chances. Dean Carleton is a longtime player that took interest in the weekly contest scene after performing well in Road to Kentucky, finishing second overall to Joshua Taarud. He is 15 to 1 along with Ron White, the best contest player never to win HOY. Pam Kight and Ray Hassan will be on the board at some point.  The Vanguard includes the computer data players like Rick Dahl who rely on sources such as OptixEQ and HTR.  (Dahl is the offshore choice to win the title IF all contests started after 3pm.)

The Young Guns, once highly touted, have fallen to 50 to 1. This group includes Super Stats Dave and 2020 R2K winner Josh Taarud who have been labeled by one aforementioned handicapper as ‘cheap speed’.

Bruce Meyer  3-1
Shaun Rau 6-1
Ron Hafner 10-1
Terry Severson 12-1
Mike Ferrozzo 12-1
Ron White 15-1
Dean Carleton 15-1
Pam Kight  20-1
Ray Hassan 20-1
The Vanguard  25-1
The Young Guns 50-1

Handicapping contests continue to offer added value to horseplayers wishing to capitalize on their opinions.

Fountain of Youth Saturday as R2K Handicapping Contest Continues

Week seven of the free-to-enter Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest continues Saturday in the Canterbury Racebook.  The feature track is Gulfstream Park. Those hoping to enter the contest should note the 10:30 a.m. start time and contest entry deadline. Post times at Gulfstream can be a moving target and this extra-early start is no exception. Early birds enter the contest!  Action in the Racebook starts at 7 a.m. anyway with the Saudi Cup card getting underway. See below for details on that event. Contest entry cards will be available at 10 a.m.

The $400,000 Fountain of Youth, an important stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby that almost assuredly places the winner in the Derby field of 20, has attracted 12 three-year-olds including the 2-1 morning line favorite Dennis’ Moment, unseen since stumbling and finishing last as the betting choice in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. The Fountain of Youth is race 14 on a 14 race program. For R2K contest purposes, the Derby prep provides double points in the mythical $20 WPS scoring system.

Check out the weekly winners and overall contest leaders by clicking here.

2020 Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year

One expects to see the surname Meyer in the top 10 of the Handicapper of the Year standings but it has for years been associated with the given name Bruce, six-time winner of HOY honors. Bruce Meyer is currently off the board but Adam Meyer, via second and third place finishes in weekly R2K contests, is tied for second with three points, just one behind Ron Hafner, the 2010 winner.

Handicapper of the Year points are awarded weekly in various contests. More information can be found HERE.

Stevens Nears 5,000th Win

Jockey Scott Stevens, a longtime member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame, is approaching his 5,000th career thoroughbred victory. Stevens, 59, is currently riding at Turf Paradise in Phoenix where he is second in the standings. He has 4,995 career thoroughbred wins and is named on two horses Saturday and three on Sunday.

Stevens’ overall win total, adding in recognized quarter horse, Arabian, and mixed breed races is 5,160, not including the countless times he out rode brother Gary in the backyard of their Idaho home in his youth.  Scott recorded his first thoroughbred win at Les Bois Park in 1976.

Racing from Saudi Arabia Friday and Saturday

Two days of racing, Feb. 28 and 29, from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia will be simulcast in the Racebook with the line-up listed below. Saturday is the $29.2 million Saudi Cup Day with $20m alone the purse for the Saudi Cup. Midnight Bisou will take on the boys, including 3-year-old Maximum Security, in the 1800 meter race that also attracted McKinzie and Mucho Gusto. Daily Racing Form has been providing extensive coverage of the Saudi Cup including THIS STORY by correspondent Brad Free.


Morning Line for Canterbury Park’s 2019 Handicapper of the Year

As The Oracle (Bruce Meyer) turned in another stellar performance to become 2018 Handicapper of the Year at Canterbury Park, eyes are turning toward 2019 and who could claim the coveted title. With five HOY belts already, Meyer is the early favorite.

“It’s a competitive field every year,” said Jeff Maday, handicapping contest coordinator for Canterbury Park. “But it will be interesting to see who gets hot, or stays hot, to win our contests and earn those HOY points throughout 2019.”

List of Current Handicapping Contests

There are contests offered weekly so keep an eye on the Racing Promotions webpage for upcoming events.

Oddsmakers in the Racebook at Canterbury Park have produced  a “Morning Line” for 2019 Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year. Many of the names will be familiar to those who compete in the regular contests.

2019 HOY Morning Line

• Bruce Meyer – 3-1

Reigning HOY champion.

• Mike Ferrozzo – 7-2

Former HOY champion with a national tournament reputation. Vows to focus on HOY in 2019.

• Terry Severson – 10-1

A threat in any handicapping contest entered.

• Ron White – 10-1

Best contest player never to win the HOY.

• Andrew Zabowski – 15-1

2018 was first year playing contests. He focused on HOY in second half of year and finished second.

• Hassan Entry – 15-1

Sleeper pick but strong competitor. Ray won the title in 2013.

• Pamela Kight – 20-1

Consistent player who flies under the radar.

• Dave Handeland – 50-1

Speed and fade in 2018.

• Field – 6-1

Looking Ahead

The 2018 Handicapper of the Year title came down to the final weekend, but Meyer already has a leg up on the 2019 competition, having secured a HOY point after winning the first Horse Player World Series Super Satellite contest.

There are plenty of opportunities for horseplayers to earn points toward the $2,000 HOY prize, including the upcoming $25,000 Road to Kentucky contest. The annual free-to-enter contest will this season reward one player with entry to the $3 million National Horseplayers Championship in 2020.

“The Oracle is a tough customer. He’s the favorite for the 2019 Handicapper of the Year award,” Maday said. “Still, it’s anybody’s game. In 2018 it came down to the final contest with several players in the mix. We’ll have to see how things unfold in the months ahead.”

2017 Canterbury Handicapper of the Year:  Mike Ferrozzo

Mike Ferrozzo became the 16th horse player to be named Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year.

The annual award is determined through a system that assigns points for top performances in handicapping contests held at Canterbury throughout the year.  In 2017, Ferrozzo beat Pamela Kight by a single point and four-time Handicapper of the Year Bruce Meyer by three points.

He earned the title plus $2,000 and a trophy. Ferrozzo’s photo will be placed near the leaderboard in the Race Book along with the previous 15 winners.

Ferrozzo is caught in a meat grinder of sorts in the 2017 National Horseplayer Championship Tour. He is currently leading the NHC Tour and while one might assume, since it is 2018, that the winner would have been determined, that would be incorrect. There was an online contest last Saturday that could award sufficient points to defeat Ferrozzo but a malfunction caused its cancellation and subsequent rescheduling to this coming Saturday.

First place in the tour pays $100,000. Second is $50,000. Stay tuned for results and hopefully a well-deserved title for the longtime Eagan horse player.

The 2018 Handicapper of the Year contest is now underway.  Here are the current future odds to win the title:.

Bruce Meyer  3-1 — searching for ‘one for the thumb.’ The chalk.
Hassan Entry – 4-1  —  The Hassan family, especially 2013 winner Ray and daughter Katherine, are always a threat.
Mike Ferrozzo  5-1  —-   no doubt he can repeat if he focuses on the local title
Pamela Kight  10-1 – strong 2017 performance. The big win has been elusive.
Ron White  12-1  —   he won the R2K contest years ago. Persistence will pay off.
Rick Dahl  20-1 —   if he shows up on time he could accumulate the points needed to win.
Dave Handeland  30-1 – ‘young gun’ fell off the radar last year. Redemption?
Mark Freiberg  30-1  —  Expect him to be on the leaderboard early.
Past HOY Winners not already listed  10-1
Field  10-1

Shaun Rau earned the first point of the new season by winning the Jan. 4-6 HPWS Super Satellite. These supers will be held each Thursday through Saturday through Feb. 3. The HPWS Satellite, which will send the winner to Vegas, takes place Feb. 10.

The annual Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest starts this Saturday. More than $25,000 in cash prizes will be up for grabs. Each Saturday there are a total of five Handicapper of the Year points given to the top three players and points awarded for best overall scores throughout the series.

Here is the entire list of Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year winners:

2017 – Mike Ferrozzo
2016 – Bruce Meyer
2015 – Lannette Sheldon
2014 – Bruce Meyer
2013 – Ray Hassan
2012 – Bruce Meyer
2011 – Bruce Meyer
2010 – Ron Hafner
2009 – Bill Ender
2008 – Kalib Martin
2007 – Steve Leeper
2006 – Jerod Dinkin
2005 – Richard Johnson
2004 – Harold Krahn Jr.
2003 – Dan Lynch
2002 – Jeff Ovshak

2015 Handicapper of the Year

HOY 2015

Lannette Sheldon won the 2015 Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year title, becoming the first woman to earn the prestigious honor in 14 years of the competition. Players accumulate points based on performance in various handicapping contests held throughout the year. Sheldon won several super satellite contests but her biggest scores were wins in the Hawthorne Challenge Satellite and the Dec. 19 Horse Player World Series Satellite, where she hit an 18-1 winner in the final contest race of the day. The three points earned there allowed her to leapfrog then leader Ron White and cement the title. In addition to the accolades came a $2,000 prize. White, who held a clear second, earned $500.

These were the top point-earners of 2015:

Lannette Sheldon  12 points

Ron White           11 points

Mike Ferrozzo   7 points

Shaun Rau           7 points

Bob Hawkinson 7 points

Pat Larson           7 points

The journey to the 2016 Handicapper of the Year title is underway already with HPWS Super Satellites being offered weekly through mid-February.  The satellite that will send players to Vegas in March for the Horse Player World Series will be held Feb. 20. The annual Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest, which offers Handicapper of the Year points weekly to the top three players, gets underway Jan. 16.

While the title is open to all players, there are several names that make regular appearances on the leader board. A group of local handicappers compiled this list of potential 2016 winners and the accompanying odds line:

5-1   Bruce Meyer:  three-time Handicapper of the Year steamed-rolled the field in 2014 with a record 24 points but had a disappointing 5-point performance in 2015. His three titles and determined play make him the favorite. he prefers the local tournament scene over national play.

8-1 Lannette Sheldon: the defending champ has been consistent the past few years and could repeat if the hot streak continues. She cashed in her first trip to the HPWS in 2015.

8-1 Ron White:  finished second the past two years. He is known for selecting Giacomo in the 2005 Kentucky Derby and winning the Road to Kentucky Contest.

15-1 Bill Ender: player won the title in 2009. Always in the mix in the big contests. Known for taking the longshot quarter horses and playing the obscure tracks.  Sneaky.

15-1 Pat Larson: persistent player looking for breakthrough year. Started hot in 2015 but tailed off.

15-1 Mike Ferrozzo: Claim to fame was a Final Table appearance in the 2015 National Handicapping Championship where he won $60,000.  His travel to contests nationally have kept him out of the rotation here on a regular basis. Won the 2009 live-bankroll Dog Days contest by hitting a place pick all for $11,000.

20-1 Ron Hafner: winner in 2010 was chasing the title in 2015. Always a threat and specializes in Canterbury contests, of which there are many.

20-1 Ray Hassan: speed player catches the occasional bomb. Title winner in 2013.

25-1 Pamela Kight: this longshot player flies under the radar and just needs a few breaks to contend.

15-1 Young Guns : this group of relatively new contest players have flashed occasional brilliance. Any one of them is capable of going on a run.

30-1 Steve Leeper:  Has not replicated his 2007 performance when he won the title. Enjoys the racing from the Hawkeye State.

50-1 Kalib Martin: finished off the board in 2015 after a strong run in 2014. Victim of numerous bad beats. He won the title in 2008.

50-1 Mark Frieberg:   rounding into contest form. He plays all contests. Got hot in final quarter of 2014 and cashed in the Hawthorne Final.

99-1 Shaun Rau:  appears on the leader board often but lacks a signature contest win. Odds-maker Eric Schmidt gives him a long shot chance in 2016. Began the new year winning the first super satellite and earning one point. If the contest ended today, he would be the champ.