Overcoming inclement weather and late changes to the contest landscape, Faron McCubbins of Mount Washington, Kentucky, hammered Keeneland’s ninth race Sunday 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 that day. For his efforts, McCubbins took home $35,000 in prize money, a fully paid Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) berth at Santa Anita worth $10,000 and an entry into the 2020 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas.
The day began with steady rain at Keeneland that caused all races to be taken off the turf; multiple scratches followed. Contest management added three races from Gulfstream Park 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 fourth 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 place was $9,000, $4,500 and $2,500, respectively.
Sixth-place finisher Jeff Joffrion of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, took home a partial BCBC berth, an NHC berth and $1,500 in cash.
Seventh- through 10th-place 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.