If your goal—or your best-case-scenario—is to qualify for the NHC or Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge…but to do so on a budget, then this is a great week for you to be playing at HorseTourneys/HorsePlayers.
On Sunday, you can play in a Guaranteed BCBC qualifier for just $20. If even 20 bucks is too steep, you can take at shot at the NHC on Saturday for free (as long as you are a registered member of the 2018 NHC Tour).
The NHC and BCBC opportunities this weekend don’t end there. And neither do the opportunities to win cash or to qualify for several other terrific brick-and-mortar tournaments. As always, the weekend excitement gets started here on Friday.
The Friday feature at HorseTourneys is our up-to-$12,500 Pick & Pray, which will offer a guaranteed purse of at least $6,000. Contest races are the 7th through 10th from Saratoga; the 8th through 10th from Gulfstream; and the first three from Del Mar—10 races in all.
The first of several low-entry-fee, high-prestige qualifiers takes place on Friday as well over at HorsePlayers.
It’s a 2-seats-guaranteed NHC qualifier for just $75. Like the up-to-$12,500 game, it’s a Pick & Pray with the same 10 contest races. And if we get up to 429 entries, we’ll add a third NHC seat to the prize pool. Big prizes and big fun for not a lot of money.
The only thing better than that is big prizes and big fun for no money, and HorsePlayers is your home for that on Saturday.
There are three featured tourneys on the HorsePlayers Saturday docket, led by a free NHC qualifier for 2018 NHC Tour members. Not a member? Membership is just $50 and signing up is easy at ntra.com. The top three finishers in this free Pick & Pray will play for the big money in Vegas next February.
You could also go from one extreme to the other regarding the NHC. Instead of playing for free against lots of people, you could pay $500 and compete against far fewer for that same NHC berth by playing in the NHC Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers, where one in just 21 will win the grand prize. And one NHC berth is guaranteed here even if fewer than 21 sign up.
If you’re more of a middle-of-the-road kind of person, then you might prefer Saturday’s “regular” BCBC qualifier at HorsePlayers. Here one grand prize of a $10,000 entry is guaranteed. The entry fee is $179 and one prize will be awarded per each 65 entries in this Pick & Pray tourney.
Did you think there couldn’t possibly be any more chances to play for an NHC seat on Saturday? If so, you’d be wrong.
The HorseTourneys featured Saturday schedule leads off with an NHC “Lower Ratio” qualifier with one in 45 punching his or her ticket to Las Vegas. This Pick & Pray costs $240 to play and two NHC spots are guaranteed.
Two of our more popular brick-and-mortar qualifiers of late are also available for your Saturday handicapping pleasure. One is for the August 10-11 Saratoga Challenges. One winning entry per each 25—at $164 each—earns $3,000 in entry fees (good for both of the one-day tourneys at the Spa) plus $500 for travel to upstate New York.
The other is for the October 11-13 Orleans Fall Classic where mythical-money aficionados will battle it out for cash. Like the Saratoga qualifier, this one will be run in live-format mode and, here, one in 15 will win. It’s just $79 to play.
Last but a long way from least is our richest tourney of the weekend, our up-to-$30,000 contest with $17,500 guaranteed. It’s $260 to play in this one and entries are capped at 133.
Contest races for the Saturday featured events at both HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers are the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 11th from Saratoga; the 8th and 10th from Woodbine, the 10th and 11th from Gulfstream; and the 4th through 6th races at Del Mar. That’s 12 races in all, including six stakes races.
As for Sunday, we again lead off with the HorsePlayers menu because not only does it include a special event, but what is truly a first-of-its-kind offering.
It’s an unprecedented $20 direct qualifier to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. One $10,000 entry is guaranteed as a grand prize regardless of participation and the first race of the competition will be Sunday’s Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. You won’t be able to bet on Justify, but you can bet $20 on yourself to win a BCBC entry. Note that for this $20 buy-in affair, players are permitted to purchase up to five entries each.
And if you can’t find $20 under your sofa cushions, you can play your way into the Sunday BCBC qualifier via feeders running all week long for just $5. It’s hard to find so much upside for such a small price.
There will also be a pair of more traditional qualifiers at HorsePlayers on Sunday. One is for the NHC ($165 entry fee, two spots guaranteed) and the other is a BCBC Low Ratio qualifier where $500 buys you a one-in-23 chance at the big $10,000 entry prize. All three of the Sunday HorsePlayers tourneys are Pick & Prays so you can do your handicapping, enter your selections, and then root like hell. Or if you prefer, you can take an afternoon nap and see how you did when you wake up.
There’s plenty of Sunday action at HorseTourneys as well but, note, these featured events are all live-format contests, so afternoon naps are not recommended.
The marquee Sunday event is our qualifier for The BIG One. Just 16 online spots remain available for the September 22-23 extravaganza at Laurel and two of those 16 packages are guaranteed to be awarded in Sunday’s tourney. Winners will advance to Laurel and compete for 10 NHC seats, 10 BCBC entries and 10 Horse Player World Series entries in a field that will not exceed 57 (counting two onsite winners from Laurel plus up to five buy-in entries). Cash bonuses will be in play as well. As many of you know, all packages to The BIG One carry the extra benefit of being all-inclusive. Travel, hotel, welcome dinner, full buffets and open bar at the track are all included.
Roughly one month before The BIG One is the Monmouth Super Qualifier on August 25. Seven NHC spots and two BCBC entries will be up for grabs at this Jersey Shore contest. HorseTourneys qualifiers receive a $500 entry plus $500 for travel (or for Max’s Hot Dogs).
On September 15, the weekend before The BIG One, Woodbine hosts its Woodbine Mile Horseplayers Tournament. Held on Woodbine Mile Day, the Woodbine competition carries an entry fee of $3,500 (Canadian). Winners receive a package covering the entry fee plus $500 in U.S. currency for travel. The Woodbine Mile event offers a prize pool that includes two BCBC entries and four NHC berths. For Woodbine veterans, the event will now be held in the Northern Dancer Room on the fifth floor. Early reviews (from last weekend’s Mid-Summer tourney at Woodbine) were very positive regarding this new contest area.
Another event you can qualify for on Sunday is the October 14 Keeneland NHC/BCBC Challenge. One in 25 entries will earn a $3,500 package to the always-popular tournament run by Keeneland’s Jim Goodman. Jim is an excellent contest player in his own right (perhaps explaining why the Keeneland contests are considered so well run). Not to worry, though, Goodman does not play in the Keeneland tournaments.
We haven’t forgotten about our cash-game lovers. Sunday brings with it an up-to-$20,000 tourney with a purse guaranteed at a minimum of $12,000 no matter how many ultimately sign up. The entry fee is $195 with a maximum of 118 entries allowed in.
For those of you who prefer more exotic wagering, there’s our up-to-$5,000 (with $2,000 Guaranteed) Exacta tourney. It’s $125 to play, and contestants must pick a three-horse exacta box in each tourney race. The winner is based on total overall return on a $1 play. Remember that, in our Exacta tourneys, there are no price caps. In Sunday’s event, Elizabeth Canning will be going for her third consecutive win. Knock her off, and the top prize may be yours!
Sunday contest races have yet to be selected (or even drawn, for that matter). Many of them, no doubt will be at Del Mar, and so that makes this an opportune time to wish good luck to Adam Thoutt, Dennis Montoro, Dave Basler, Brett Wiener, Robert Flaska, Christopher Podratz, John Connelly, Mike Sapir, Donald Markwardt, Daniel Kaplan and Matthew Rentze. They are the 11 HorseTourneys qualifiers to this weekend’s Del Mar Handicapping Challenge. Actually, Markwardt earned two entries via HorseTourneys so we’ll wish him good luck twice.
Whether you’re playing in an $8,000 buy-in tourney like those guys or just taking a shot at the free NHC qualifier or the $20 BCBC qualifier, we wish you luck as well. One of the beauties of horse racing is that you can bet just a little and still win a lot. We like to think that’s one of the beauties of HorseTourneys too. Have a great weekend.