Chuck Grubbs of Georgetown, Kentucky, cashed more than $87,000 in winning wagers on the Breeders' Cup Classic, jumping from 31st place to the top of the leaderboard to win the 2018 Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) at last weekend's Breeders' Cup World Championships.
Grubbs finished with a total score of 94,020 and with a first place prize of $300,000, had total winnings of $394,020, besting second-place finisher Ed Abel of West Des Moines, Iowa, who had 86,330 points and combined with his second-place prize of $200,000 had total winnings of 286,330.
The 10th Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge, Thoroughbred racing's biggest live money tournament, was held November 2-3 at Churchill Downs and from official satellite locations at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey and Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, and online at participating ADW sites.
In the BCBC each player was required to fund a $2,500 buy-in and a $7,500 betting bankroll ($10,000 total). All buy-in monies were applied to the prize pool, making the total prize pool $977,500. Players made real wagers (Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta and Daily Double) with their $7,500 bankroll on 21 races over the two days and kept all monies earned from their wagering. Top prizes were $300,000 for first, $200,000 for second and $100,000 for third.
Complete tournament results are available at http://www.breederscup.com/bcbc/leaderboard.
“You always dream about winning but this tournament is so hard,” said Grubbs, 51, a Standard-bred owner, who grew up in Grove City, Ohio betting harness races at Scioto Downs and Lebanon Raceway outside Columbus, and was playing in his sixth BCBC. “There are 391 entrants and you've got to beat 390 of them – the best of the best – and I have so much respect for all of these guys. So to beat them on the biggest stage is quite an accomplishment.”
Going into the Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday, the final race of the BCBC, Grubbs was in 31st place with a $15,000 bankroll. He strategized that Accelerate and Gunnevera were going to be his key horses, starting with a $6,080 win bet on Accelerate. “In my mind I knew Accelerate was the best horse on paper, but thought he would be 7-5 or 8-5, not 5-2,” Grubbs recalled about the Classic favorite. “People may have shied away from him because Sadler (Accelerate's trainer, John Sadler) had never won a Breeders' Cup race. But I thought he was an overlay at 5-2 so I took advantage of that price.”
Accelerate paid $7.40 to win.
Grubbs also made two $40 Trifecta wagers using Accelerate and Gunnevera and Accelerate and Mind Your Biscuits in the first two positions. “Gunnevera was very consistent, not in winning, but he was always in the money,” said Grubbs. “I thought he would make a strong run in the stretch and he did.” Gunnevera finished one length behind Accelerate for second. Thunder Snow completed the trifecta, and Grubbs earned $64,000. Combined with win bet on Accelerate, he pushed his bankroll to $94,020 and the BCBC title.
“I was sitting in the Jockey Club Suites (at Churchill Downs), and when I found out I had the top score the place went crazy”, Grubbs recalled. “The thrill of celebrating with loved ones is something I wish all horseplayers could feel. I thought of my dad, who I lost 20 years ago. He would say to me about playing the races, ‘Boy you need to get a real job.' And I would say, ‘But dad, I'm good at this job.'”
BCBC Participation and Handle
· Averaging wagering for each BCBC player in 2018 was $12,512 compared to $12,161 in 2017.
· The Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge on track handle at Churchill Downs was $2,487,670 or 12.52% of on track handle during Breeders' Cup weekend.
This year's BCBC awarded 15 automatic berths into the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship, February 8-10, in Las Vegas.
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