Horseplayer Graham Wins 'Battle of Saratoga'

Handicapper takes top prize of $110,000 and paid entry to national championship.

After a slow first day, Bradley Graham caught fire Aug. 7 to win the two-day "Battle of Saratoga Handicapping Challenge," taking down the top prize of $110,000.

Graham also gained a paid entry to the National Handicapping Championship and the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge.

A record 274 entrants came out for the Battle of Saratoga, which paid to the top 30 finishers for the first time ever.

Graham, a real estate broker from Raleigh, N.C., ended the first day with only one winner to his credit, but the tournament veteran did not panic.

"I don't even know how far back I was," said Graham. "I only hit one race (Wednesday), but I strung a couple of medium priced horses together to start (Thursday)."

Graham's ascension up the leaderboard came rapidly. In quick succession, the horseplayer hit the finale at Saratoga Race Course, Given Fire at 18-1, and then Royal Seven ($29.80) in the last at Arlington International Racecourse, catapulting him into first place. With only one race remaining, the third at Del Mar, Graham placed his last bet of the day and hoped for the best.

"I liked a horse, but no good," said Graham of the Del Mar race. "It was pretty quiet after the race, so I thought, 'maybe I have a shot.'"

As it turned out, he did, as his name remained atop the leaderboard. With graceful stoicism, the winner collected his $110,000 check and posed for pictures.

"I love Saratoga," said Graham. "I've been coming here for 14 years. This is my Christmas vacation."

Christopher Larmey checked in second, earning himself $44,500 and a seat to the National Handicapping Championship. Don Ablamsky finished third, picking up a $30,000 check.

Fourth-place finisher Scott Eyraud earned $20,000 and a berth to the National Handicapping Championship. Ablamsky was ineligible for the seat because he is not an NHC Tour member.