Overcoming inclement weather and late changes to the contest landscape, Faron McCubbins of Mount Washington, Kentucky, hammered the 9th race at Keeneland with an $800 exacta on 8-10 that paid $28,560, resulting in an incredible final bankroll of $31,560 that bested 180 other contestants in the Grade One Gamble on Sunday, April 14. For his efforts, McCubbins takes home $35,000 in prize money, a fully paid Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge berth at Santa Anita worth $10,000 and an entry into the 2020 National Horseplayers Championship at Bally’s Las Vegas.
The day began with steady rain at Keeneland that caused all races to be taken off the turf; multiple scratches resulted in decimated fields. Contest management added three races from Gulfstream and two races from Aqueduct to the contest menu, and the changes resulted in a competitive contest that was decided at the wire.
Longtime leader Dan Slattery of Bethesda, Maryland, who cashed for $19,000 on Gulfstream’s 4th race, was passed late by the huge play of McCubbins, but took home his bankroll of $18,449.80 plus $18,000, a fully paid BCBC spot and an NHC entry.
Joining McCubbins and Slattery at the BCBC and NHC are Kevin Kerstein of Louisville, Paul Scott of Plantation, Florida, and Brett Kelly of Hobe Sound, Florida. Prize money for third through fifth was $9,000, $4,500 and $2,500, respectively.
Sixth-place finisher Jeff Joffrion of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, takes home a partial BCBC berth, an NHC berth and $1,500 in cash.
Seventh through 10th finishers Justin Nicholson of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania; Pete Acocella of Great River, New York; Jim Metzger of Louisville and Ross Gallo of Jupiter, Florida, snagged an NHC entry and $1,500 in cash.
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