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May 06, 2020

TAMPA PLAYER BREAKS THROUGH TO CAPTURE “LIVE IT UP CHALLENGE”

by Mike Henry
Technology and software salesperson David LaMarre, Jr., wins first prize of a seat in next season's "High Rollers Handicapping Contest" at Tampa Bay Downs.

Tampa resident David LaMarre, Jr., experienced equal measures of excitement and worry entering Sunday’s final day of the “Live It Up Challenge” online handicapping contest.

LaMarre figured his lead was probably secure, but he had exhausted his lifelines, which meant his choice in the seventh race needed to finish in the money or he would be disqualified.

His assignment became more challenging when his original selection for the race, the Claude “Shug” McGaughey, III-trained filly, Windfall Profit, was scratched.

“I was extremely nervous when the race started,” LaMarre said. That feeling intensified when his pick, 6-5 favorite All Others Follow, endured a rocky trip and was still eighth at the top of the stretch.

But All Others Follow turned on the afterburners through the lane, finishing third by a half-length to clinch LaMarre’s victory in the 18-day event. His final “mythical” bankroll of $114.80 was best among 676 entrants, earning the technology and software salesperson the first prize of a seat in next season’s “High Rollers Handicapping Contest” at Tampa Bay Downs.

Phil Izzo of Frenchtown, N.J., finished second with a bankroll of $103.20, collecting second prize of $250. Anthonymichael Izzo of Wyckoff, N.J., was third with a $103 bankroll, earning $100.

“It’s a cool feeling,” said the 38-year-old LaMarre. “Tampa Bay Downs is my home track, and it’s fun to win a contest at a track I enjoy and that I’ve been going to for 15 years. I’ve played in every ‘Live It Up Challenge’ since they started, and I’d been close a couple of times but never won before now.

“I hope they continue because it’s a fun track and the contests keep you interested.”