13 players, 3 races, $20 show bets, $1-million

Profile Picture: Ed DeRosa

Ed DeRosa

April 9th, 2015

This is uncharted territory for all of us—the players, the marketing team, the racetrack. We’ve never had one player alive this deep let alone 13, but that’s where we are heading into the final Kentucky Derby prep weekend.

Thirteen players have successfully made 17 consecutive $20 show bets on designated races in the $1-million Road to the Kentucky Derby Showdown. If anyone sweeps the final three races of the series—the Lexington Stakes, Arkansas Derby, and Kentucky Derby—then s/he will win or share $1-million.

The Lexington Stakes and Arkansas Derby are on Saturday at Keeneland Race Course and Oaklawn Park, respectively. Players who make it past those two races will have three weeks to prepare for their Derby pick on May 2 at Churchill Downs. For FREE Ultimate Past Performances of this weekend’s SHOWdown races, click here.

Strategy varies among players.

“I strictly pick my top selection in each race,” said Robert Weir of Virginia. “I have not tried to find value anywhere. My final decision each week comes down to if I will be satisfied if I get knocked out on that horse.”

“Buy the ticket, take the ride,” agreed Matt Ball of California. “I try to pick the horse that I feel most comfortable losing on.”

The 11 other remaining players are: Charles Cornish of Kentucky, Jeremy Enke of California, Ed Farley of Michigan, Justin Johnson of California, David Jones of Pennsylvania, James Levine of Kentucky, Burnett Polk of Kentucky, Kristin Stuedle of Kentucky, Bill Weber of Oklahoma, Kevin West of New York, and David Wielga of Massachusetts.

Many of the players still alive said that a Showdown win—even if they have to share the $1-million prize—would be their biggest win to date in racing. If all 13 players go 20/20 then they’d each receive a 40-year annuity worth $75,000 or could choose the $35,000 (before taxes) cash option.

“A Showdown win would be bigger than I’d ever hoped to win,” said Weber, who has followed racing for about 40 years. “There’s still three races to go, but no matter what happens it’s been a blast every weekend studying the races; every weekend has been a thrill.”