by NYRA Press Office
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced today that Saratoga Springs resident Wilfred "Wil" Reed has won the inaugural Saratoga Showdown Sweepstakes Grand Prize, collecting a 2018 Belmont Stakes VIP Package that includes two seats in the Champagne room, two programs, food, merchandise and a $500 betting voucher.
Saratoga Showdown launched on Sunday, June 23 and the free online contest was available to fans every day of the Saratoga Summer meet. Winners after every contested race received entry into the grand prize sweepstakes. Winners at the end of the day were awarded 50,000 NYRA Bets points in addition to sweepstakes entries.
Using the contest name Wagering Wizard Wil, Reed was one of hundreds of people who earned sweepstakes entries for topping the leader board at the end of a race, even though he never took home a daily prize of 50,000 NYRA Bets points.
"I hit a $525 exacta and was in first place going into the last race [of the day]," Reed said. "I lost the whole thing by $26."
Reed said playing Saratoga Showdown was enjoyable in part to see how other bettors approach a race card.
"It's funny to see when longshots come in and how many people picked them," he said. "It is also interesting to see how all the people play."
A lifelong racing fan, Reed has never attended the Belmont Stakes even though his favorite horse of all-time holds the track record, in one of the most memorable performances in thoroughbred racing history.
"Secretariat is the greatest horse that ever lived. He did things that no other horse has ever done. I wish next year's Belmont was 43 years ago so I could see Secretariat's Belmont," he said.
The contest begins again today, Saturday, September 16, as Belmont Showdown, with the same rules, regulations and prizes. Belmont Showdown is available to horseplayers on Saturdays and Sundays during the Belmont Fall Championship Meet at www.belmontshowdown.com, with the contest featuring races broadcast on Belmont Park Live from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET. At the end of the Belmont Fall meet, NYRA will draw another Grand Prize Sweepstakes winner who will received a 2018 Belmont Stakes VIP package.