by Ron Scaglia
Phil Lam, an IT professional in the banking industry from Fresh Meadows, New York, took first place in the Wood Memorial Challenge, held at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday, April 7.
Lam finished with a bankroll of $3,382.85, besting 133 entries and also earned an additional $500 with the NYRA Bets 10 percent Challenge bonus. The NYRA Bets bonus was eligible to the top-three finishers of the Wood Memorial Challenge for NYRA Bets members who meet specific criteria. In addition, Lam also won a seat to the Belmont Stakes Challenge.
"I was elated," Lam said about feelings when he realized that he had won the contest. "I tried so many times at NYRA. I was leading at the Belmont Stakes Challenge by $20,000 with one race to go, and I got caught. So, no lead is safe."
In the Wood Memorial Challenge, Lam was not leading heading in to the last race of the contest, Race 11 from Aqueduct. Lam wagered $1,000 to win on Lucky Ramsey, who rallied from a few lengths off the pace to take lead in the stretch and held off the closers. Returning $5.80 for a $2 win wager, the victory was enough to propel Lam into first place.
"My strategy was to be within striking distance," Lam said about his strategy for success.
In addition to his live money bankroll, Lam also took home the first-place prize of $5,000 and the additional NYRA Bets Challenge bonus offered at the Wood Memorial Challenge for the top three finishers, bringing his total prize win to $5,500. Lam also won a seat at the Belmont Stakes Challenge in June.
Finishing in second-place was Steve Doodnath, with a bankroll of $2,692.75 and $2,389 in prize winnings. Andy Berg, with a bankroll of $2,347.50, took third-place, and won $1,827 in prize money. Booth Doodnath and Berg also won seats to the National Handicapping Championships next February in Las Vegas.
The Belmont Stakes Challenge, is the next NYRA handicapping challenge. Held over two days starting on June 8 and concluding with the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes on June 9. For more information on the Belmont Stakes Challenge and the NYRA Bets 10-percent Challenge winners bonus, please visit NYRA.com.