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Published Feb 18, 2024
by Mike Henry
High Rollers Handicapping Contest winner Brett Wiener

A variety of physical ailments, including brain and autoimmune diseases and diabetes, make it difficult for High Rollers Handicapping Contest winner Brett Wiener to participate in many of the activities he used to enjoy.

“I have arthritis and can barely walk due to nerve damage, so I can’t play golf and tennis anymore. I’ve had severe migraine headaches for the last 12 years and I’ve lost 50 percent of my memory and vocabulary recall,” Wiener said.

“About the only thing I have going for me now is these contests. I like the competition, and it gives me something to look forward to and have some fun. I have a beautiful horse racing room in my condo with five televisions and horse racing memorabilia, and sometimes I’ll just lay in bed and play tournaments.”

Even with that outlet, the 57-year-old Clearwater resident, who also lives in Las Vegas part of the year, can’t approach handicapping horse races with his former intensity.

“For 40-plus years, I handicapped 2 or 3 hours every night, but now I can only skim over the races looking for my angles that jump out at me,” he said. “If I start crunching numbers (speed figures, fractional times and the like), my brain just stops.”

Over the course of a gorgeous Friday and a rainy Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs, Wiener lived up to his deserved reputation as a big-money competitor. He finished with a total bankroll of $1,923, $303 ahead of runner-up William Rendino.

Wiener is a respected (some would say feared) tournament player. He had already qualified for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association/National Horseplayers Championship at Horseshoe Las Vegas from March 15-17 entering the High Rollers event, and he has been nominated for inclusion in the NHC Hall of Fame. Through the NTRA, he mentors others on how to compete successfully in tournaments.

Sarah Wiener, his wife, is a pretty fair tournament handicapper, too. She finished 10th in the High Rollers Contest and won $75,000 in 2021 for finishing fifth at nationals.

Wiener’s skillful efforts earned him the first-place tournament prize of $12,950 and a seat in the 2025 NHC, since he had already qualified for this year’s NHC event. Rendino took home second-place money of $5,180. Rendino earned a seat in the upcoming NHC by being the first-day High Rollers tournament leader and applied his seat for finishing second overall to next year’s High Rollers event.

Ron Myeress, who finished third with a final bankroll of $1,390, also earned an NHC seat by finishing atop the Day 2 standings.

A total of 91 players took part, each putting up a $1,000 buy-in to compete.

The tournament format required players to allocate $250 of their $500 bankroll each day to five races and wager $50 a race on win, place and/or show, with no restrictions on the number of horses they could wager on in a race.

Wiener got off to a great start Friday when he scored a $40 place bet on longshot Gav N Brody in the third race. The 3-year-old colt finished second, paying $44.20 to place for a bankroll boost of $844.

In second place after Day 1, Wiener cashed in four out of five races Saturday to overtake Rendino, who had entered the second day with a $66 lead.

“I was just trying to stay steady and not lose my money like I did at Saratoga many years ago,” said Wiener, who founded and owns a company, Shrine Design, that designs electronic candle systems for churches. “Less losses, less going backward, and trying to stay on top of everybody.

“A big key was betting horses to place and hoping my longshots finished second, because I never bet the favorite. So if my longshots worked, I cashed my tickets while everybody else was losing with their win ticket.”

Here are the High Rollers Handicapping Contest top-10 finishers with their final bankroll totals (and contest prize earnings and awards in parentheses), along with the top three finishers on Day 1 and Day 2 and those prize amounts and awards:





  1. Brett Wiener, $1,923 ($12,950, NTRA/NHC seat)


  1. William Rendino, $1,620 ($5,180, High Rollers seat)


  1. Ron Myeress, $1,390 ($3,885)


  1. Evan Trommer, $1,305 ($2,590)


  1. Kip Ginsburg, $1,206 ($1,295)


  1. John Kaiser, $1,125


  1. Peter Macheska, $1,037.50


  1. Phil Matzat, $1,000


  • Brendan Fay, $1,000


  1. Sarah Wiener, $990



First Place: William Rendino (NTRA/NHC seat, $500)

Second Place: Brett Wiener ($250)

Third Place: John Vail ($50)



First Place: Ron Myeress (NTRA/NHC seat, $500)

Second Place: John Kaiser ($250)

Third Place: Brett Wiener ($50)


Around the oval. Trainers Wayne Potts and Juan Arriagada sent out back-to-back winners today. Potts won the sixth race with Amirati, a 3-year-old filly owned by Amira Chichakly, Transfiguration Stable and Toga Party Racing Stable and ridden by Kevin Gomez. Amirati was claimed from the race by trainer Michael V. Simone for $16,000 for new owner Robert Deckert, Jr.

Potts added the seventh race with Teshima, a 4-year-old filly owned by Roger B. Sterling and ridden by Daniel Centeno. Once again, Potts bade farewell to the winner, as Teshima was claimed by trainer Lisa Allen for $10,000 for new owner Algarcon Stables.

Arriagada swept the late daily double. He won the eighth race, the Cody’s Original Roadhouse Race of the Week, with Conspiracy Fact, a 5-year-old gelding he also owns. Jose Batista was the rider. Again as owner-trainer, Arriagada won the ninth with Dreaming in Style, a 4-year-old Florida-bred filly who was ridden by Gabriel Maldonado.

That was one of two victories for the apprentice jockey, who also won the third race on Rubysa, a 6-year-old Florida-bred mare owned by Elena Florentina Laynen and trained by Angel M. Rodriguez.

Legends Bar on the second floor of the Grandstand opens at 11 a.m. on Monday for a full slate of Presidents’ Day simulcast action. Tracks being simulcast include Aqueduct, Oaklawn Park, Sam Houston, Parx Racing, Mahoning Valley and Turf Paradise.

Thoroughbred racing continues here Wednesday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:25 p.m. The fifth, seventh and ninth races will be moved from the turf to the main dirt track due to the wet grounds.

Tampa Bay Downs races on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule and is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at the Downs Golf Practice Facility.






High Rollers Handicapping Contest winner Brett Wiener

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