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Final Table is Set for Fun in the Sun Feast

by Johnny D

September 2, 2020

The table is set for 10—those players who’ve qualified to enjoy a Fun in the Sun Final Table feast worth $23,297.50. Dinner is served Monday, Labor Day, as a scrumptious, celebratory 10-course meal that includes the last five races at Saratoga and the first five at Del Mar. Players will make ‘live’ $10 win wagers on one horse in each event. The top earner will collect $16,308.25 and the runner-up will pocket $4,659.50. Show finisher bags $2,329.75.

The invitation list includes the following individuals: Phillip Gordon; Aner Carlstrom; Kevin Lynn; Robert Rosen; Anthony DeCaspers; Mathew McAleer; Richard Powers; Howard Bolte; John Velguth and George Chute.

Actually, they’ve all boldly invited themselves by finishing first or second in five weekly Fun in the Sun competitions. The group already has collectively pocketed $30,771.75 in prize money. Phillip Gordon is the top earner, enjoying a $4,137 ‘kiss hello’ in the first week. In the final week, John Velguth and George Chute tied for the top spot while posting the season’s best weekly mutuel total of $406.

The seasonal average winning margin between weekly first and second finishers is just $24.10. Besides the final week deadheat, the closest conclusion came in the initial competition when Phillip Gordon outlasted Aner Carlstrom by just $6.50. The largest margin of victory belonged to Richard Powers over Howard Bolte at $52.50. Obviously, actual mutuel payoffs in competition races affect final scores, but overall weekly Fun in the Sun winning totals averaged $322.20. Now the scores reset and everyone begins anew at the Final Table.

As anticipated, Final Table guests aren’t handicapping newbies. They’re not all are grizzled veterans, either, but to a man they’ve all been attempting to solve equine puzzles for at least several decades. We’re proud to say between the 10 finalists, there are 99 combined years of loyalty as Xpressbet customers.

At one end of the experience spectrum, George Chute, 69, is a retired businessman who’s been an avid Thoroughbred fan since the mid-sixties. Mike McAleer is the ‘rookie’ in the group and “really started my love of racing/handicapping” in the mid-90s. Out of the gate a decade before McAleer was Howard Bolte, who has been playing the horses since the early 80s and has been an Xpressbet account holder since 2005.

Other experienced horseplayers seated at the Final Table are tournament veteran Steve De Caspers, who has been mining for winners for 25 years and was “...taught to read the Racing Form by (my) high school biology teacher Glenn Stevens…” Rob Rosen hit his first exacta at Laurel Park at age 10, compliments of Mario Pino in the winning saddle, and Phillip Gordon was raised in Lexington, KY and has been handicapping for 30 years. Assembly line workers at General Motors taught Rick Powers the Xs and Os of handicapping as an impressionable 22-year-old and he’s been “analyzing it” ever since.

Follow along Monday by watching and wagering on the races from Saratoga and Del Mar with Xpressbet and by checking the Fun in the Sun Final Table leaderboard. ‘Dinner’ is served in the afternoon and dessert comes at night (ET). Can’t wait to see who ends up with the largest slice of the pie.