Handicapping contest regular Bill Rendino of the Bronx, N.Y. turned his $1,000 starting bankroll into $10,375.50 to win Monmouth Park's third annual $2,000 Pick Your Prize Handicapping Challenge on Saturday, June 2.
Rendino bested a record field of 205 entries – made up of players from 24 different states and Canada.
For finishing first, Rendino received an automatic $14,100 and two picks from the Pick Your Prize board. In total, the board was composed of 20 NHC seats – the most of any online or on-track contest in history – as well as six full Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge seats and $78,340 in cash prizes. With his two picks, Rendino selected the top two cash prizes, $18,800 and $10,340, for a grand total of $43,240 in prize money.
Early in the day, the contest got off to a rousing start when, in race 2 at Belmont Park, Scott Carson threw down the gauntlet by having $100 to win on 17-1 winner Bitumen and also a $50 exacta with the winner over 5-1 Ranger in Paradise. The combined payoff of $6,915 had Carson in the lead for most of the day.
That was until race 8 at Belmont when Rendino made his move for the lead. With his bankroll at a respectable $1,962.50, Rendino decided to go all-in. He bet $600 across the board on eventual 7-1 winner Stretch's Stone, plus an $81 exacta box that didn't pan out. But his big winning play resulted in a payoff of $10,350. which was enough to catapult Rendino into the lead.
A last attempt by Carson to re-gain the lead fell 3¾ lengths short as Gioielli ran second in the finale at Gulfstream – the last contest race.
All was not lost for Carson though, who – in addition to his final bankroll of $6,655 – received an automatic $7,835 for his runner-up finish and selected a BCBC seat and the $5,640 cash prize with his two prize board picks. Carson also picked up an NHC seat as his second entry finished in 22nd place.
All Pick Your Prize players needed to bet at least $100 on a total of 10 races from Monmouth Park, Belmont and Gulfstream. At least five of those races needed to beMonmouth Park races. Bets could only be win, place, show, exacta or any combination thereof.
All players kept their final bankrolls. The Top 5 finishers received a guaranteed cash prize. The Top 7 finishers all received two picks from the prize board in order of finish. Finishers 8 through 26 received one pick.
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