As we kick summer into full gear, so must we kick qualifying for The BIG One into full gear. Starting this Sunday, June 18, each HorseTourneys qualifier will offer two guaranteed, all-inclusive packages to The BIG One, rather than one.
As The BIG One devotees know, the September 23-24 extravaganza at Laurel Park is limited to no more than 57 entries—50 from HorseTourneys qualifiers, two from onsite qualifiers at Laurel, and potentially up to five buy-in entries (at $9,000 each). This relatively low number of entrants is significant given that a whopping 28 seats to major onsite tournaments are part of the prize pool. These 28 seats are comprised of:
Eight full, $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entries
Ten NHC seats
Ten Horse Player World Series Entries (or $1,500 cash at the option of the player)
The top eight finishers will win both a BCBC entry and an NHC seat. NHC seats go to the 9th and 10th place finishers, and Horse Player World Series entries (or $1,500 cash) go to the next 10 in the standings.
Also note that, for the first time ever, the winner of The BIG One will automatically be eligible for a $500,000 lump sum bonus should he or she go on to win the following year’s NHC. This bonus is not an annuity stretched out over 20 or 50 years, but a lump sum windfall if you can pull off the prized double. And again, the chances of becoming eligible for this bonus are, at worst, 1 in 57 if you get yourself to The BIG One.
This is why we like to call The BIG One horse racing’s “High Expectation Tournament”. Half-million-dollar bonus aside, your chances of walking away with both a BCBC entry and an NHC seat are roughly one in six. If you show up and pick two days’ worth of losers, you will, by all means, go home with the middle of a donut. But if you can put in even a respectable showing, you can leave with a very worthwhile prize.
And that’s because there are significant cash payouts in addition to all of those tournament seats. The top 10 finishers will share in a cash prize pool based directly on participation levels in qualifiers for The BIG One. Last year’s winner, Dan Flanigan earned $35,200 from an overall prize pool of $87,956—in addition to his BCBC and NHC seats.
And keep in mind that this is a live bankroll contest, so players retain their live betting bankroll, which starts out at $1,000 for everyone. (Win, place and exacta wagering are available at The BIG One.) Flanigan finished with $5,858.30 last year, which he, of course, kept along with his other winnings.
Transparency is very important to us at The BIG One, and that’s why you can quickly and easily monitor the status of The BIG One’s cash prize pool all year long by visiting:
This is a regular page right on the HorseTourneys site. As of June 11, the prize pool was at $46,491, with 28 of 50 players yet to qualify online. So you can count on that number growing significantly between now and September 23. And you can track its progress each week by visiting the above-referenced web page.
There are two additional elements that are important to mention:
If a contestant in The BIG One and is lucky enough to already be double qualified to the NHC, and winds up finishing in an NHC qualifying position at The BIG One (i.e. finishes in the Top 10 at The BIG One), he or she will receive $5,000 cash in lieu of the NHC package. And because 10 NHC seats must be awarded at The BIG One, these $5,000 payments come completely at the additional risk and expense of HorseTourneys. They are not subtracted from the overall prize pool. Last year we awarded three such $5,000 prizes. Our accountants didn’t like this unbudgeted $15,000 payout, but we feel this is very important to properly recognize double-qualified NHC players (and to encourage their participation, of course).
The other element that I am probably very remiss in leaving to the end is the hospitality you will receive as a The BIG One contestant.
All of our packages to The BIG One are all-inclusive. You not only receive a $500 travel stipend, you also receive a complimentary three-night stay at a hotel convenient to Laurel, plus transfers to and from the track. There’s also our free Friday night welcome dinner at an area restaurant.
An open bar and full buffet is also free to all players at Laurel during both days of the competition. And even if there’s a particular brand of beverage (adult or otherwise) you really enjoy and think may not be stocked at Laurel, you can let us know and we will do our best to have it there for you. A few players did, indeed, take advantage of this option last year.
Have any additional questions? You can always contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org . But for more details, we have a general information page on our site that you might find particularly helpful:
So be sure to sign up for our upcoming The BIG One qualifiers. Starting this Sunday, they will be twice as BIG.