James Ross wins Road to the Derby

After competing in 11 weeks of the 2016 Road to the Derby contest, James Ross emerged as the winner, taking home the top prize of $1,500. Ross, a native of Indianapolis, took over the lead after the fourth week and never looked back to win his first handicapping contest of his career as a horseplayer.

“I’ve been betting on horses since the late 1960’s,” said Ross. “I came to the races with an old buddy of mine. I prefer Thoroughbreds and my favorite racetracks to play are Tampa Bay Downs and Oaklawn. I don’t come out to the live races a lot, but I follow the Kentucky Derby prep races each year, so this is a nice bonus.”

Ross took over the top spot on his selection in the Tampa Bay Derby March 12 by choosing Destin to win with a payout of $9.20. Ross returned the next week to select Cupid in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, pulling in a win payout of $7.80 to solidify his lead, continuing to hold his own at the top until the final week.

In the final week of the Road to the Derby contest, only one person could have defeated Ross for the top prize. Kenny Peacock was sitting at 38 points behind Ross’ tally of 41 points. Also, FL Carrier was in third with 36 points and could have tied Ross. However, all three top players didn’t have the longshot that came in for the Arkansas Derby so the results stood as they did heading into the final week with Ross in first, Peacock in second and Carrier in third.

“I got lucky on the last race,” said Ross, who is retired from the construction business in which he was a partner in the company. “I didn’t know what other people had taken. Not a sole had that race.”

Peacock received $600 for finishing second while Peacock received $250 for third. Roger Browning finished fourth and won $100 while John Napariu finished fifth for a $50 race wager.

In another exciting twist, Roger Browning was the sole winner of the final week, the first time the top spot didn’t have a tie the entire contest. As a result, he won an additional 2,000 points for being atop the leader board the final week.

In addition to the cash prizes, players who competed in all 11 weeks of the contest also received 5,000 points credited to their Club Centaur Rewards card. Eight players receiving the 5,000 points included Ross, Peacock, Carrier, Browning, Napariu, Steven Robbins, Amiko Robbins and Earl Wilkerson.