The annual Emerald Qualifying Tournament was held Sunday, June 3, and Christopher Larmey used a devastating one-two punch to knock out the competition.
Larmey, 51, finished with a total of $185.20, $35.30 more than runner-up Kevin Geraghty, while Dave Mahy was third with $143.
The 300-entrant EQT was so competitive that four of the top five finishers had already qualified for the 2013 National Handicapping Championships in Las Vegas, thus the five qualifying berths went to the third, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth-place finishers.
“Anytime you can win a contest with 300 people, it’s great,” Larmey said. “But this EQT was a tough one, with so many great handicappers.”
During a span of 25 minutes, Larmey selected both Andydar, a 57-to-1 winner of the fifth race at Golden Gate, and Light My Heart, a 37-to-1 winner of the fourth race at Emerald Downs, and the outcome was never in doubt. Makors Finale—the horse Larmey liked best of all—provided the exclamation point with a dead-heat for victory in the Auburn Handicap.
Total money was capped at $64 per race—20-to-1 on win and 10-to-1 on place—and each contestant was obligated to make $2 win and $2 place bets on all 10 Emerald Downs races, and $2 win and $2 place bets on an additional seven simulcast races.
Larmey earned $12,000 for finishing first, and he would have secured another berth at the 2013 National Handicapping Championships in Las Vegas. Turns out he didn’t need one, though, as he’d already qualified for an eighth straight appearance at the NHC, where his best showing was a seventh-place finish in 2011.
A Kennewick resident, Larmey said he used two of his favorite handicapping methods to divine both Andydar and Light My Heart. The former had shown marked improvement in his previous start, which was his first race on turf. And Light My Heart was a lightly raced 3-year-old gelding making his second start following a decent comeback race off a winter respite.
“I went bang-bang, and that was it,” Larmey said of Andydar and Light My Heart.
Even better yet, Larmey’s daughter and niece, who accompanied him west of the mountains, wagered real dollars on both horses.
The Top 10 finishers at the 2012 Emerald Qualifying Tournament:
Bold earned berth to the 2013 NHC.
1. Christopher Larmey (a), $185.20
2. Kevin Geraghty (b), $149.90
3. Dave Mahy (b), $143
4. Leonard Wong (a), $141.40
5. Dave Mahy (a), $137.40
6. Dave Brownfield, $137.20
7. Kenneth Evans, $133.80
8. Dan Camoro, $132.40
9. Grant Rimer (b), $132.20
10. Don Maio, $126