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Jim Benes Wins Second 2011 AHC Handicapping Contest

Arlington Park Communications | 03/24/2014 #

Ken Lieske, Fred Speck, Jr., Gary Meyer, and Jim Fragakis Round Out Top Five

Last Saturday, June 11, Arlington offered the second handicapping seminar & contest in the 2011 Arlington Handicapping Challenge (AHC) series.  The AHC will offer seven seminars and contests this summer, and will award seven trips to Las Vegas to play in the February, 2012, Coast Casinos Horse Players World Series (HWS) where the top prize is estimated to be $300,000.

You can click here to see the final standings of the June 11 contest.  To see the cumulative standings after two contests, click here.

The handicapping seminars and contests are free.  Later in this blog story you will be given a link to more information

First-place winner Jim Benes stalked then, late in the card, he pounced.  “I wasn’t really excited about much on the card,” Benes began.  Fans will remember that rain had forced the moving of turf races to the main track, resulting in a number of scratches.

“So during the afternoon I just made two-dollar bets to be sure I had my five-race minimum covered,” Benes continued.  “It was the eighth race that I was waiting for to make my primary move.

“I had strong opinions on who would win and which horses would make up the trifecta,” revealed Benes,  “so I made a win bet on Lemon Custard (5-2) and a tri bet using him with Tucky (7-1) and the favorite, Hurta (7-5), and those two finished 2-3 under Lemon Custard.  The tri paid $62.50 for a dollar and I had it a number of times.

“Good thing for me that I hit for about $500 on a Saturday where the winnings were lower, unlike the previous contest where Paul Hoffman won with over $1,100,” Benes chuckled.  “I’m glad to have my Vegas trip won early.  I’m anxious to get back there.” 

Ken Lieske also stalked and pounced, and on the same race as Benes.  “It wasn’t until the eighth race that I got going,” explained Lieske, who finished second with a total of $306.80.

“I made a few bets earlier in the card and none worked, so my bankroll was winding down,” he continued.  “But I liked Lemon Custard in the eighth race and he was the key horse that I worked around.

“I used Lemon Custard (5-2) in the exacta with Tucky (7-1) and hit that ($43.60 for $2),” Lieske revealed.  “I also went forward with Lemon Custard to Cat Bells (8-1) in the ninth for the daily double ($124.80 for $2).”

Lieske didn’t stop there.  “Since I liked Cat Bells enough to use her in the double, I also used her over the favorite, Hogan Beach (2-1) in the ninth race exacta ($93.40 for $2). 

“All in all, it was a good day,” Lieske summarized.  “The card wasn’t helped by losing turf racing, but one must adjust their thinking and proceed.  Anytime I can triple my beginning bankroll, I’m happy.  Adding some prize money to that just makes it that much better.”

Lieske will be back.  “I go to Arlington for the live racing almost every Saturday, so I will be in all the remaining contests,” he promised.  “If I’m going to bet $100 anyway, it only makes sense to take a free entry into the handicapping contest where you have a chance at a bonus, starting with a trip to Las Vegas.”

Fred Speck, Junior, couldn’t agree more.  “I won my way to Vegas last year, and played in the HWS last February, thanks to Arlington’s handicapping contests,” Speck reminded.  “I can’t wait to get back to the HWS, but everyone who’s been says that.”  Yes, they do.

Speck didn’t win his way back last Saturday, but he’s not complaining.  “I came in third, and that’s OK, it says I’m doing things right,” he philosophized.  “I believe I have a big chance to win one of these contests again.”

“I was a little late arriving last Saturday, but I did get there for the second race where I liked Vindiced Gypsy (7-2),” Speck continued.  “I bet $10 to win on her which bumped my bankroll up right out of the box.

“Then in the fourth race I liked Dooney Rock (15-1) so I increased my bet to $15 to win,” Speck continued.  “That was the right place to do that since I collected about $240 right there.

“I couldn’t do any more thereafter, but that’s alright,” admitted Speck.  “As I said, I want to get back to the HWS – I finished 79th out of several hundred contestants and I’m confident I can improve on that next time and win some of their prize money.”

Your next chance to win your way to Las Vegas is Saturday, July 9, which also is Million Preview Day.  Admission gates and contest registration open at 11:15 AM.  Sign up early and avoid the rush, then attend my FREE handicapping seminar at noon in the Starting Gate Theater (SGT).  Remember, you need to attend in order to see if my opinion on any of the races has changed after I wrote my analysis for the track program and the web site.  Register with me for drawings where we will give away free admission passes and other items.  I will remain in the SGT all afternoon to answer questions and discuss horseracing and handicapping.  You can stay there, too, but arrive early to secure a table and chair so you can spread out your work and your lunch.

Remember, the handicapping contest is free to enter.  But you can’t win it if you don’t get in it.  For more information on the contests, and a link to the contest rules, click here then scroll down and click on Arlington Will Pay You This Summer to Win $300,000 Next Winter!

Good Handicapping!


M. Scott McMannis

  • Handicapping Seminar and Contest Host, Arlington Park
  • Expert Selections Handicapper,
  • Midwest Correspondent, The HorsePlayer Magazine
  • Owner/Publisher, The McMannis Speed Figure & Trip Note Newsletter
  •      And Arlington and Hawthorne Trainer Patterns