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Hawthorne Racecourse (5/16/06)

Contact: DAK Productions
(708) 222-4540

Ace Handicapper Sypula On a Roll

In Hawthorne’s Spring Series Championship, James Sypula outwitted, outplayed, and literally outlasted hundreds of wannabe champions to grab the Thoroughbred handicapping title, but in last Saturday night’s Handicapping Open, he returned to his racing roots, and pulled a couple of old tricks out of his bag.

“I started with harness racing when I was 18, and played them for 30 years,” Sypula explained. “I got too many first overs and shuffled backs. Plus I’m older now, so I switched over to Thoroughbreds because they race during the day.”

Sypula, 60, who never finished higher than 20th in any single contest during Hawthorne’s 19 tournament Spring Series, was in attack mode on Saturday night. In race one, he maxed out ($200 across the board) on eventual third place finisher Bluebird Wolf ($2.20 to show), but after taking a hit to his bankroll, he was not ready to back down.

“I came right back and bet the maximum ($130 across the board) on Explosive Moment in the third race (second race of the contest),” Sypula explained. “I liked that he took a week off sick, and that he won twice at the level earlier in the year.”

Explosive Moment gave just that to all of his backers, lighting up the toteboard like a Christmas tree to the tune of $53.40, $16.60 and $7.60.

“That put me in the lead, and from there I just bet the minimum on all the favorites the rest of the way, and they all won. I never went down; just kept gaining and maintaining. I was always moving forward."

For his efforts, Sypula received $500, and along with the rest of the top ten, a berth into the $10,000 Club Hawthorne Handicapping Invitational, to be held on Sunday, June 11.

Handicapping Open Satellite #1 Results

Rank Name Score
1 James Sypula 11,463
2 Mike Rusovick 6,879
3 Carmen Ronzio 5,420
4 Cyril Tuzzolino 5,329
5 Mike Rusovick 4,688
6 Thomas Sadzak 4,667
7 Mike Rusovick Jr 4,220
8 Edward Jenkins 4,043
9 Leonard Scharrer 3,614
10 Ted Hanna 3,443

If you didn’t qualify for the Invitational on Saturday, you’ll still have two more opportunities to do so. Additional satellite handicapping opens will be held at Hawthorne on Sunday, May 21 and Sunday, June 4.

The tournaments are open to all horseplayers, but are limited to the first 300 who register. For just $10, contestants receive an appetizer and dessert buffet and an opportunity to compete for over $1,000 in prize money. The contests are held on the third floor of the grandstand, and registration begins at 6 p.m.

For more information, visit the Handicapping Contest section of our website at, and best of luck!

Hawthorne’s spring 2006 Standardbred meet runs May 6 through June 17 with live racing six days per week: Tuesday through Sunday. Post time is 7:20 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, and opening day, Saturday May 6 (special early post).

Hawthorne’s fall 2006 Thoroughbred meet runs September 15 through December 31 with live racing five days per week: Wednesday through Sunday. Post time is 1:10 p.m.

Hawthorne’s spring 2006 Thoroughbred meet ran February 24 through May 2.

For more information visit





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