We normally like to spread out our big-money tourneys a bit, but with back-to-back weekend days like last Saturday at Gulfstream and this coming Saturday with the Wood Memorial, Blue Grass Stakes and Santa Anita Derby, we’re wheeling right back on short rest like a Rick Dutrow trainee (back when those existed) and offering an up-to-$75,000 all-stakes tourney with $50,000 Guaranteed.
More on that $75,000 live-format tourney later, but let’s take a look at a pretty great day in its own right…Friday.
It’s a tradition unlike any other. No, not The Masters…Keeneland! And to celebrate Friday’s opening day of Keeneland’s spring meet, we’ll have a robust schedule of Keeneland-only tourneys, including an up-to-$5,000 contest with $1,000 Guaranteed.
On to the Friday featured schedule.
Last week’s Friday, up-to-$10,000 Pick & Pray—won by Edward Wright—was a sell out last week. So don’t wait until the last minute to enter. Otherwise you might have the “Wright Stuff” and not even know it. The entry fee is $190, and entries are capped at 60. Contest races are the 6th through 10th at Keeneland; the 5th, 6th and 8th from Santa Anita; and the 8th and 9th from Aqueduct—10 races in all.
Those races will also make up the racing menu for that day’s Keeneland Grade One Gamble qualifier. This is your final weekend to qualify for the April 15 competition run expertly by Jim Goodman. Friday’s $164 Pick & Pray will, once again, be one of three Keeneland Grade One Gamble tourneys offered over the course of the three weekend days. Each winner receives a $3,500 package to the “G1G.”
Friday will also offer a key Round 2 feeder for Saturday’s up-to-$75,000 tourney. One in five entries (at $159 each) earn a $695 entry to the following day’s big-money game.
HorsePlayers has what should be a pretty popular Friday tourney of its own—a $75 NHC qualifier.
Two packages are guaranteed to be awarded, and the contest races will be the same as for the HorseTourneys featured Friday events.
The up-to-$75,000 live-format tourney is the clearcut leader within the Saturday featured schedule.
And what a race menu it is. Twelve races…all stakes…and all on dirt. With wet weather in the forecast at all three contest race venues—Aqueduct, Keeneland and Santa Anita—we wanted to avoid undue guessing among handicappers about whether races would stay on the turf. So we tried to provide both quality and a measure of reliability to the proceedings. Contest races are the 6th through 10th at Aqueduct; the 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th from Keeneland; and the 4th, 6th and 9th from Santa Anita. From a chronological standpoint, the final three races among the 12 will be the Wood Memorial, the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby. Overall entries for the tournament, at $695 each, are capped at 121. There is a maximum of three entries permitted per account.
If you didn’t succeed in qualifying to the NHC for $75 at HorsePlayers on Friday, you can try again on Saturday at HorseTourneys for $165 (and you’ll almost certainly have fewer to beat).
If you didn’t succeed in qualifying for the Keeneland Grade One Gamble on Friday, you can try again on Saturday for the same money, and with the same winning ratio—1 per 25. And at least in theoretical terms, if you qualify for Keeneland this weekend, with Keeneland races in the mix, it might give you a leg up come April 15.
Over at HorsePlayers, you can take a Saturday shot at the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge.
One per each 65 entries will earn a $10,000 ticket to the BCBC and one prize is guaranteed regardless of participation in this Pick & Pray.
As usual, our HorseTourneys air traffic controllers are busiest on Sunday when we have a total of eight featured tourneys.
This Sunday schedule is topped by a pair of qualifiers to lucrative onsite events. One is for the September 22-23 The BIG One at Laurel Park where (it was recently announced) a $1 million annuity or $575,000 lump sum bonus (player’s choice) will be available to the winner should he or she go on to capture the 2019 NHC. Two all-inclusive packages will be awarded regardless of participation in this $515 buy-in game. Only a maximum of 57 entries are allowed at The BIG One, and those 57 divvy up cash, 10 NHC spots, 10 BCBC entries and another 10 Horseplayer World Series entries or $1,500 cash (again, player’s choice).
The other high-end qualifier on Sunday is for the Belmont Stakes Betting Challenge, where entries cost $10,000. Our qualifier carries an entry fee of $495, and one in 25 will earn a Belmont entry plus $500 for travel.
Sunday is also your last chance to qualify to the Keeneland Grade One Gamble…again for $164, again a Pick & Pray.
Also for $164, you can play for the Saratoga Challenge where two, separate one-day tourneys will be played on Friday and Saturday, August 10-11. HorseTourneys qualifier, of course, win entries for both days.
There’s also a Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier for $117 with one in 25 moving on to the Jersey Shore.
And there’s a new, budget-friendly addition to our roster of qualifiers—a $59 tourney with one in 10 winning a $500 entry to the April 21 Santa Anita April Betting Challenge.
We haven’t forgotten about you Sunday cash gamers. We’ll again be offering our popular up-to-$20,000 tourney (Pick & Pray this week) for $195 with $12,000 Guaranteed.
There’s also our Sunday live-format Exacta tourney for $72. There’s a $2,000 guarantee in place, but it could pay out as much as $5,000, depending on how many sign up.
There are not one but two key events at HorsePlayers this Sunday.
One is our second-ever, BCBC “Low Ratio” tourney. (Our first was last weekend, at it proved to be very well attended.) It’s an even $500 to enter and one in just 23 entries will win a $10,000 BCBC berth. One prize is guranteed. If you want to maximize your chances to play in the BCBC you have two options: pony up the ten grand come November…play in The BIG One…or play in these low ratio qualifiers.
There’s also a “regular” NHC qualifier for $165. Both the BCBC and NHC contests at HorsePlayers will be run on Sunday in Pick & Pray mode.
Safe to say, even though Easter was last weekend, there will be plenty of praying going on this weekend. The golfers navigating Amen Corner will be praying at Augusta. The weathermen (and perhaps track superintendents) will be praying at Aqueduct at Keeneland on Saturday. And horsemen and handicappers will be praying as their horses battle it out down the stretch of so many of this weekend’s big stakes races.
May your prayers be answered!