SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – With a $40 wager on a 29-1 shot in the final race at Saratoga Race Course on Thursday, Emad Himaya of Lindenhurst, N.Y., vaulted into first place and took home the $100,000 grand prize in the “Battle of Saratoga” handicapping contest.

Himaya, 53, finished the two-day contest with a mythical bankroll of $1,050, edging Paul Caltagirone of Whiting, N.J., who won the $30,000 second prize with a bankroll of $1,032. Ross Gallo of Jupiter, Fla., came in third with a bankroll of $934 and won $20,000 in prize money.

Allowed one mythical $40 wager in the contest, Himaya placed it on Warrior Up ($60.50), who rallied between horses in the stretch and went on to post a three-quarter-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile claiming race on the turf.

“All day, I had been trying to build up my bankroll to stay in contention and wait until the last race to place my only $40 wager,” said Himaya, who works in the security business on Long Island. “I liked the horse [Warrior Up] because he had drawn three bad posts from the 10 in three races, and he’d also been running against faster horses. I thought with a break in the post, he deserved a shot.”

Himaya, who said he also had a $50 cash bet on Warrior Up, earned an additional $3,250 for having the highest bankroll ($844) on Day 2 of the contest. Gary Johnson of Cleveland, Ohio, won $3,250 for having the highest bankroll ($686) after Wednesday.

In wining his first-ever handicapping content, Himaya will be joined by Caltagirone and Gallo in representing Saratoga in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association/Daily Racing Form National Handicapping Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas in January, 2013. In addition to their prize money, the trio will receive airfare reimbursement for the DRF/NTRA tournament, courtesy of The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA). The NTRA will provide a three-night stay at the official tournament hotel for the championship event.

The “Battle of Saratoga” format allowed players nine $20 win, place, or show mythical wagers and one $40 wager during both days of the weekend contest.