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Accidental qualifier wins NHHC grand prize

July 10, 2011

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Wai Kwong Chen of New York, N.Y., captured the $20,000 grand prize in the 2011 National Harness Handicapping Championship on Saturday night at Meadowlands Racetrack.
Chen finished the tournament with a $1,183 bankroll to top the field of 85 players from across North America who competed for $50,000 in prize money. The paralegal and Chinese interpreter earned his seat in the 2011 NHHC by winning a qualifying tournament at the Mohegan Sun Casino Racebook (Conn.).
The NHHC contest format required contestants to bet 10 races: seven Meadowlands races of their choice, plus one mandatory race each from Balmoral, Mohawk and Tioga racetracks. Bets had to meet a $40 minimum, $100 maximum per race.  Contestants could only bet one horse per race and wagers could either be win, place or a combination of the two.

Chen started to build his bankroll with $100 place bets on favorites Pet Rock ($2.10) and I Fought Dalaw ($2.20) in the early double at the Meadowlands. The Meadowlands' fifth race was the pivotal point in the contest for Chen as he cashed $907 from a $75 win bet on the George Teague entry topped by Custard The Dragon ($24). Chen also cashed with a $100 place bet on Big Jim ($3) in the Meadowlands' sixth, and with $40 place bets on Whata Hustler ($4.30) in the eighth at Tioga, Activator ($5.20) in the eighth at Mohawk and Hit Away ($2.80) in the Meadowlands' ninth race. 

"I actually won the Mohegan Sun qualifier by accident," Chen said after the tournament. "I had bet the wrong horse and wasn't able to cancel my ticket in time, and the horse ended up winning!  Tonight I was almost broke when I bet $75 to win on the entry in the fifth race and that put me back into contention."

In addition to the Meadowlands, the following partner outlets sent players to compete in the 2011 NHHC: Balmoral Park, Buffalo Raceway, Hawthorne, Maywood Park, Mohawk Ractrack, Mohegan Sun Casino (CT), Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Racing and Gaming Services, Tioga Downs, TVG, Twinspires.com, Vernon Downs and Western OTB.

Rank    Name          Bankroll    Prize                 Site
1 Wai Kwong Chen   $1,185     $20,000    Mohegan Sun Casino (CT)
2 Patrick Welsh       $936        $10,000    Meadowlands
3 Il Yang      $907        $7,500     Buy in
4 Sam Auerbach                $787        $5,000     Buy in
5 Don Tiger             $780        $2,500     Buy in
6 Agustin Toscano    $690        $1,000     Twinspires.com
7 Tom Humphrey      $679        $1,000     Tioga Downs
8 Ira Sobel              $678       $1,000      Buy in
9 Tracy Hendler       $621       $1,000      Meadowlands
10 Nick Montemurro  $613       $1,000      Meadowlands

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