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Mike Rusovick Wins 12/4/10 Handicapping Contest at Arlington's Trackside Waukegan-Sundance OTB
Tom Hausheer, Rusovick (again), Dave Sellner, Ed Hanna Round Out Waukegan Five
"It's about time! It took me long enough, didn't it?" responded Mike Rusovick when informed of his first-place finish in Arlington's most recent handicapping contest. "I've always won my way to the national tournaments but this year I had to drag it out to the end."
Rusovick was referring to going 0-for-2010 until Arlington's handicapping contest held last Saturday at Arlington's newest off-track betting facility located in the Sundance Saloon in Waukegan. It was the last chance to win, outright, a trip to Las Vegas to play in next February's Coast Casinos Horse Player World Series (HWS) handicapping tournament. Had he missed the win in the Sundance contest, Rusovick would have needed to finish first in the net cumulative standings for the fall, 2010, series in order to be sponsored to the HWS.
His triumph gave Rusovick a new favorite horse, Choragus, ultimately the winner of the third race. "I remember her winning with some strong races," reflected Rusovick. "I felt strongly that this was a field she could handle with ease, so I started with $20 daily doubles, Choragus (2-1) to the one-entry (Momentarily/That I Am, 8-5) and the 10 (Daddy Forty Nine, 7-2) in the next race. Choragus and ‘Daddy' won for a generous $45 (for $2) double payout which got me off to a good start on that entry."
Rusovick wasn't done. "I used those same horses in the first two legs of a $5 pick three," he continued. "For the third leg I really liked Distorted Groom (7-2) so I singled him, and he won to make a pick three of $190 for $2.
"At that point I had a balance of over $900 on that entry so I decided to back off, figuring that amount will usually be enough to win one of these contests," Rusovick revealed, rightfully.
But he wasn't done there. Rusovick had a second entry that earned the third slot for the day. Again, the key horse was Choragus. "By the third race I had a balance of $64 on my other entry, so I made a $16 daily double part wheel, Choragus to four horses, which used the whole $64. One of the four was ‘Daddy' so I hit that double again, this time on my other entry."
All in all, it was approximately a $4,000 day for Rusovick. He made about $1,500 on his shrewd handicapping and money management, once wagering returns and prize money are added together. Plus, his first-place finish wins him a trip to Las Vegas to play in the HWS, a trip valued at about $2,500 when all residuals are added together. That's 40 times over on his $100 investment.
Prize money is paid out to the top five finishers in every weekly contest. The top five in the Sundance contest and their final balances are:
1. Mike Rusovick $ 919.30
2. Tom Hausheer 375.10
3. Mike Rusovick 360.00
4. Dave Sellner 302.70
5. Ed Hanna 208.90
Tom Hausheer started off well and was feeling good about his chances. "I started with a pick three on races 4-5-6 that hit," he began. "It was Daddy Forty Nine to Distorted Groom to Courtesy Title (6-1) and that paid $270 for a dollar. But I had to sweat out the multiple-horse photo in that last leg.
"I also had the fifth-sixth race daily double, ‘Distorted' to ‘Courtesy,' which paid $172 for $2," Hausheer continued. "Those two collections put my balance at $475.
"I was feeling pretty positive at that point because I knew that $475 would have won several of the contests this fall," admitted Hausheer. "Then I heard that Big Mike (Rusovick) had over $900."
Everyone in the OTB had to know that Rusovick had scored big - his nickname is Noise for a reason.
"That left me in the position of needing to keep firing, so I put about $100 into the ninth race in an attempt to catch Big Mike, but to no avail," concluded Hausheer.
Dave Sellner, like his handicapping buddy Rusovick, had the Choragus to Daddy Forty Nine daily double. "I knew Noise liked the same horses as I did, but I didn't realize until after the double hit that Mike had a bigger ticket than I did.
"When he jumped to what we thought should be the lead in the contest, I decided to back off so I wouldn't spoil things for him by surpassing him by day's end," Sellner admitted. "I already won an Arlington-sponsored trip to the HWS, so I wanted to see Noise win one so he could join our group (which includes winners Jimmy Jordan and Paul Georgian) in Vegas.
"I figure, since I let him win, that Rusovick owes me a steak and lobster dinner, with drinks and all the trimmings, at the steak house of my choice in Vegas," reasoned Sellner. Sounds reasonable to me.
Ed Hanna likes to go easy early, observing the beginning races to see if the track has any pace or lane bias. "I didn't make my first bet until the fifth race," he admitted. "I started with a $1 pick three part wheel, races 5-6-7.
"I singled Distorted Groom, used Courtesy Title and another horse in the second leg, and ‘all' in the third leg," Hanna explained. "Papa Tango (9-2) won that third leg and completed the pick three which paid $630 for $2.
"I knew Big Mike had hit big, so I had to go for it," Hanna explained. "I bet about $100 on later races but didn't score.
"But I'm determined to win one of these contests, and I'll certainly settle for the consistency prize," Hanna stated. "I won my way to the HWS a couple of years ago and I had one of the best times of my life. And it wasn't because I won anything, I didn't. But, it's just a very fun experience, and you feel good about your accomplishment in getting there. Plus, I'm confident that I'll do better the next time I go because I have experience."
In all, Arlington is awarding 31 entries to the 2011 HWS during 2010, more than any other racetrack. Plans are under development for an extensive contest series for 2011 and will be announced after the first of the year. If you are on our email list, you will receive notice. If you are not on our email list but would like to be, send your request to me at email@example.com.
M. Scott McMannis
- Seminar and Contest Coordinator, Arlington Park
- Expert Selections Handicapper, arlingtonpark.com
- Midwest Correspondent, The HorsePlayer Magazine
- Owner/Publisher, Arlington and Hawthorne Trainer Patterns,
and The McMannis Speed & Trip Service Weekly Newsletter