NYTHA’s Appelbaum earns a shot at $3M handicapping bonus

Posted: Nov. 28, 2016

New York owner and New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association board member Joe Appelbaum took home the top prize in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge held Nov. 4-5 at Santa Anita Park—and he now has a shot at $3 million in January.

With his win in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, Appelbaum now heads to the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship Jan. 27-29 in Las Vegas, Nev. A handicapper who wins both contests earns a $3 million bonus.

Appelbaum, a 48-year-old Yale graduate based in New York City, clinched the BCBC with a $13,000 exacta of Arrogate over California Chrome in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The winning wager returned $64,000.

He took home $364,000—the $64,000 bankroll plus a $300,000 first prize—for the Breeders’ Cup contest. First prize at the NHC is $800,000, so if Appelbaum wins, the double would be worth $4.164 million.

“The $3 million obviously makes it that much more exciting but it would be premature to even think about that,” Appelbaum told NTRA officials. “I’m clear-headed enough to know the NHC is incredibly difficult to win. That’s a great, shiny prize but I just want to focus on putting myself in a position to do well and then I’ll worry about the bonus if I’m in it on Sunday.”

Appelbaum, before the Breeders’ Cup Classic, was sitting in 47th position in the live-money contest that offered a total of $1 million in awards. But change in strategy based on the odds in the Classic moved him to first place after the final race of the contest.

“I was originally going to make a win bet on Arrogate, but when I saw his odds drop to 8-5, I had to change those plans,” Appelbaum said.

He instead played a $13,000 exacta with Arrogate over California Chrome that was successful and returned $65,000 less a $1,000 penalty.

“I was thrilled to win it,” said Appelbaum, who has found success in racing partnerships and pinhooking through his Off the Hook venture. “It’s the largest live-money tournament, and to prevail here I feel incredibly fortunate.”

Charlie Davis finished second with a score of $61,505. There were 396 players in the contest who participate either on track; at Aqueduct Racetrack, Churchill Downs, and Gulfstream Park; or via TwinSpires.com.

Appelbaum through Off the Hook pinhooked the filly Inside Information, who went on to win the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. The operation has won 14 graded stakes, including grade I victories by Turbo Compressor and Zivo.

(Photo courtesy of Joe Appelbaum)