Keep the Car Running

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Or the plane in my case. Seven live tournaments in six months: BCBC, NHC, Players’ Challenge, The Big One, Gulfstream, Monmouth, Aqueduct, countless online contests, a $50K win (on a boat no less — boy did I go over my online minutes that day). And what did I get for all that travel? Pneumonia and some important lessons learned.

Life on the live contest circuit is hard. I mean mentally and physically hard. But I wanted to be the first woman to do it on her own. And I learned a lot. Kudos to the NHC Tour winners each year. This is physically exhausting work. Traveling to every one of the major plus many of the minor tourneys year round is a marathon.

The camaraderie in horse racing tourneys is like no other. The vast majority of tournament players completely respect female players and treat us as equals. I gained so many new friends. I think we are just a big traveling circus.

I learned I love live money games and will make them my focus next year. But I know my current strengths — live online play. I’m the only person who has run the table at Derby Wars for example. I’ve won a $100K, $50K, $25K, $10K, $5k, you name it. But I can’t win a lockdown/pick’n’pray/handcuff game for beans. I need to see the horses. That is my strength — physicality handicapping.

We need more women in this wonderful game. I’m extending my hand to women who want to get into the tournament scene. I want to show you the ropes if you’re a newbie. Stay tuned to TTE for more on this.

images-2Finally, don’t get pneumonia playing contests. After 6 months of intensive play I had run myself into the ground by the time the NHC’s came around in January, and as soon as I got back home to SoCal I was in the doctor’s office getting a chest xray and a fistful of antibiotics. Take care of yourself when you’re on the road. You don’t have to be a hero. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try your hardest to win. I’ll be looking for you, looking to compete with you, beat you, and all the while looking to make new friends. It’s a crazy game. The best one I know.

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Barbara Bowley
Top Female Contest Player/Physicality Handicapper twitter.com/portiasophia Barbara Bowley aka "Sophia" is the only female DerbyWars $100K game winner and one of the most successful women in the field. She recently won DW's $50k game, making her the only person to ever win both their $100k and $50k games. Her experience growing up around horses and natural intuitive style have made her successful at reading a horse’s psychological state, physical suitability and readiness to win.

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