News & Barn notes

Phil Matzat Finishes 1st (and 4th) in 2024 Pick Your Prize; 331 Entries Sets Another Contest Record

June 05, 2024


Monmouth Park’s $2,000 Pick Your Prize Handicapping Challenge on Saturday, June 1 saw a record 331 entries – besting last year’s record total of 299. At contest’s end, two of the entries in the Top 5 were played by the same person.

Playing on-site at Monmouth, Phil Matzat of Boca Raton, FL had himself a day. His first entry – which started with his $1,000 contest bankroll – ended with a tournament-topping total of $10,345. His second entry finished with a bankroll of $8,328.50 – good for fourth place.

By finishing first and fourth, Matzat automatically received $25,300 in combined cash prizes. As part of Pick Your Prize’s unique and unparalleled prize structure, Matzat also received four prize selections from a prize board that included 25 seats to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), nine seats to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and eight cash prizes ranging from $9,800 to $4,000.

With his first two selections, Matzat picked “NHC+$6,000” and $9,800. With his second two selections, his picks were a BCBC seat and $7,000. All told, Matzat walked away with his combined $18,673.50 bankroll, $48,100 in cash prizes, a seat in the 2025 NHC, and a spot in the 2024 BCBC.

Contest runner-up Mike Mulvihill, playing through Xpressbet, finished with a bankroll of $9,475. With his two prize selections, Mulvihill picked a BCBC seat and $8,500 – in addition to his second-place cash prize of $11,500

In total, the Top 8 finishers received two prize board selections. Finishers 9-34 received one pick.

All Pick Your Prize players had to bet a minimum of five Monmouth Park races.   The minimum bet for those races was $200.  Pools available for contest play were win, place, show, exacta and daily double. Contest players participated on-site or online through Xpressbet and FanDuel.

Monmouth Park’s next live money handicapping contest is the $1,000 Haskell Challenge on Saturday, July 20.  Entries can only be played online through Xpressbet, FanDuel/4NJBETS or HPI.

For those looking for more immediate contest action, Monmouth Park has partnered with for a $1 (yes, $1) online handicapping for the Saturday, June 15 Haskell Preview Day card. The Top 5 finishers in that Horsetourneys contest will receive a seat in the $1,000 Haskell Challenge.

For information on future Monmouth Park contests, please contact Brian Skirka at

$2,000 Pick Your Prize Official Contest Results & Prizes


Name Bankroll Prize(s)
Phil Matzat $10,345 $20,700, NHC+$6,000, $9,800
Mike Mulvihill $9,475 $11,500, BCBC, $8,500
Roger Cettina $8,510 $6,900, BCBC, $8,000
Phil Matzat $8,328.50 $4,600, BCBC, $7,000
Chris Olsson $7,915.60 $2,300, BCBC, $6,500
Gregory Lewis $7,795 BCBC, $5,500
James Orban $7,485.50 BCBC, NHC+$4,000
Ronald Tang $7,145 BCBC, $4,500
John Zielinski $6,008 BCBC
Dick Jerardi $5,860 BCBC
John Kaiser $5,734.50 NHC+$3,000
Chris Podratz $4,939.50 NHC+$2,000
William Sadoo $4,850 NHC
Anthony Decaspers $4,653 $4,000
Eugene Cahalan $4,119.40 NHC
Joseph Hardoon $4,050 NHC
Jim Benes $3,818 NHC
Mark Streiff $3,752.30 NHC
Mike McIntyre $3,685 NHC
Mark Hackworth $3,509 NHC
Lou Filoso $3,468.20 NHC
David Wolff $3,422 NHC
Jim Tipps $3,355 NHC
Justin Waitekus $3,346 NHC
Kevin Matties $3,311.20 NHC
Michael Stich $3,217.50 NHC
Mark Bogdanoff $3,120 NHC
Corey Lonberger $3,087 NHC
Roger Cettina $2,970.20 NHC
George Chute $2,916.90 NHC
Craig Kaufman $2,855.90 NHC
Mark Odorisio $2,792 NHC
GT Nixon $2,786 NHC
Rich Averill $2,784 NHC