Nick Fazzolari has played contests online and at the track and has won big before on DerbyWars. In general, he’s a big fan of handicapping contests.
“I really enjoy tournament play for a few reasons. The top one is that I stink at betting the races the traditional way. Can’t quite figure out the reason why but if I go to the track with $200 and bet the traditional way I’m coming home with $50 if I’m lucky,” said the New Jersey native. “The other two reasons are all the friends you meet along the way as well as the competition factor. Softball and basketball are a thing of the past, tournament play is the only thing I have left!”
He scored a big handicapping contest win, taking home nearly $10,000 in the DerbyWars marquee contest on Belmont Derby Day July 7.
“My key horses on the day were Optic Way and Athena,” Fazzolari said. “Optic Way way had trouble in the gate in her only start and was stretching out to mile. Her prior running line showed a little run early so I was hopping with a little luck she would make the lead and keep on going. It worked out as planned!”
“I also really liked Athena, anytime O’Brien and Moore come to town it’s worth paying attention. I was really surprised that I was able to get 10-1 despite her being 9/2 morning line. I was guessing that this was because she had run six day’s ago in Ireland and had come to Belmont straight from the detention barn at the airport, lol. I was lucky in the sense that I was at the track and was able to see her in the flesh. I have to say, she looked amazing and ran that way as well!”
Fazzolari has been in the lead enough to know it’s no sure thing until it’s over.
“I’m always worried about holding on at the end of a contest when I’m on the lead,” he said. “In the last race I was between the winner (Dream Passage) and Dove Shoot. I decided Dove offered more upside potential since he was unraced and well bred. In the end it only turned out to be a good choice because no one decided to take the favorite and I was able to block a couple people below me.
“I always say, it’s better to be lucky than smart!,” said Fazzolari.
Fazzolari noted that it’s memorable to win big games, but fond memories of the track and family times are unforgettable.
“I have spent at least one week in the summer at Saratoga for the past 50 years thanks to family vacations in Lake George. One summer, circa 1975 a horse in the last race was the subject of an interesting inquiry. The race was being reviewed because of a gate crew infraction, the poor guy had held onto the reins too long. It was a rainy miserable day and as everyone was running out the door to head to the Wishing Well. My Dad, despite not cashing a ticket all day insisted we wait for the race to be official. Turns out the horse was declared a non starter. At that point he turned my sister and I loose in the grandstand to find any ticket on the floor with the number 2 in the 9th race. We made a $188 that day, I think the cleaning people did even better than we did! For me, I guess when it comes to the racetrack the memories are as important as the money itself.”
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