The Washington Post's expert, Andrew Beyer, had it made in the $160,000 World Series of Handicapping at Penn National Race Course -- leading the field through the 29th race of the three-day, annual competition. With imaginary winnings of $12,400 off a $1,000 play-dough stake, Beyer stood to win a bundle in real money as the champion selector among a field of 146 contestants, amateur and professional. Came the 30th, and last race. Beyer played safe, betting $400 to win on well-regarded Par Value. Contender Chris Thomas of Baltimore's WBAL-TV plunged $300 to win, $400 to place, $300 to show on 23.80-to-1 chance Head For The Keys. Dark horse amateur Paul Enriquez of Canada, who qualified by winning a similar contest at Winnipeg's Assiniboia Downs, put $500 of his $3,800 imaginary bankroll on Head For The Keys. And, lo, HFTK won, zooming Enriquez's mythical account to $14,571; Thomas' to $12,980, while Beyer finished at $12,000.

Then Penn National broke out the real money for the top five accounts: for third-place Beyer, $16,500; for runner-up Thomas, $30,000; and for champion Enriquez . . . $90,000.