If you’ve never been to The BIG One, it’s like those commercials for the old Claridge Casino in Atlantic City—“Smaller is Friendlier.” Sunday is your last chance to grab online seats for the Sept. 22-23 event at Laurel where 10 NHC seats, 10 BCBC entries, 10 Horse Player World Series entries and roughly $10,000-$15,000 in bonus cash will await a field of no more than 57. If you don’t qualify in Sunday’s two-all-inclusive-packages-guaranteed tourney, you can still purchase one of five available buy-in entries for $5,750. But qualifying for a tenth of that amount is way more fun. That “Last Chance” qualifier for The BIG One is just one of 15 featured tourneys on tap for this weekend.
The weekend festivities get started, as usual, on Friday.
At HorseTourneys, TGIF stands for “Thank God it’s Friday Pick & Pray Day.” Our Friday staple offers a pot of up-to-$12,500 with $5,000 Guaranteed no matter how many participate. It’s $190 to enter and the field is limited to 75 entries.
Contest races for the Friday featured tourneys are the 6th through 8th from Woodbine; the 5th through 9th from Gulfstream; and the 7th and 9th from Belmont—10 races in all.
Using the same 10 races, HorsePlayers shifts into high gear with a Friday staple of its own—a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio Pick & Pray.
This entry fee here is $500, which buys you a winning ratio of just 1 in 23 to earn a $10,000 BCBC seat.
Saturday is Woodbine Mile Day, which means terrific racing from our neighbors to the North. That will serve as the racing centerpiece for the day’s five featured events—all Pick & Prays—at HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers.
The biggest competition of the day is our up-to-$30,000 tourney with $17,500 guaranteed. The entry fee is $260 and a maximum 133 entries will be accepted. Based on recent weeks, you can expect a pot in excess of $20,000.
There’s again a Saturday entry-only qualifier to the 2019 Horse Player World Series. One per each 20 entries—at $90 each—earns a $1,500 HPWS seat.
Also on offer on Saturday are $1,000 packages to another popular handicapping tournament at The Orleans: the October 11-13 Orleans Fall Classic. Here, one in 15 entries—at $79 each—will win a $500 entry plus an additional $500 for travel.
The full list of Saturday contest races goes thusly: the 6th through 11th at Woodbine; the 7th through 10th at Belmont; and the 9th and 11th at Gulfstream—12 races in all.
HorsePlayers will use the same dozen races for its two featured Pick & Pray tourneys on Saturday.
On the BCBC side, the second of three consecutive daily qualifiers comes in the form of a “regular” qualifier with a $179 entry fee and one $10,000 entry/prize guaranteed.
The first two of four guaranteed NHC seats this weekend will also be awarded on Saturday in a “regular” qualifier for $165. Win either the BCBC or the NHC qualifier, though, and there will be nothing “regular” about your weekend.
As is the norm, Sunday is our busiest day of the weekend for featured tourneys. We have eight of them, including the “Last Chance” qualifier to The BIG One that we mentioned at the top.
This “Last Chancer” offers two guaranteed all-inclusive packages. Win or finish second, and you’ll be competing for cash plus those 10 NHC seats, 10 BCBC entries and 10 Horse Player World Series entries from a field of no more than 57 at Laurel in a couple of weeks. And since packages to The BIG One are all-inclusive, your travel (via $500 stipend), hotel, welcome dinner, transfers to the track and food and drink at the track will all be covered. Once you’re there, we and the terrific staffs at Laurel and the host hotel, the Inn at Arundel Mills, will see to it that you are treated well.
Also at stake Sunday are two guaranteed NHC seats in our Lower Ratio qualifier. The entry fee is $240 and one per each 45 entries will punch his or her ticket to Vegas. But, again, at least two packages will be awarded no matter how many play.
Cash games are always prominent at HorseTourneys, and Sunday is no exception. For the heavier hitters, there is another “Big Bucks” tourney on the schedule. No more than 20 players will compete for a total purse of between $15,000 (guaranteed) and $20,000. The entry fee is $1,150 and prizes go just to the top three (on a 70/20/10 basis). Not a heavy hitter? Not a problem. Low-cost feeders to the Big Bucks tourney will be running all weekend long.
There’s more cash to be had in Sunday’s up-to-$20,000 Pick & pray. This one has an entry fee of $195, and a pot of at least $10,000 is Guaranteed. Last Sunday, Ret Grady of Round Hill, Virginia, swept both the up-to-$20,000 game and the Big Bucks tourney, resulting in a $15,500 day for her.
We’re not done talking about money. There’s also an up-to-$5,000 Exacta box tourney on the Sunday docket. The format is simple: You pick three horses to form an exacta box play in each of the 12 contest races, and the winner is determined by who compiles the most money based on $1 exacta box payoffs. (No payoff caps, either.) A purse of at least $2,000 is guaranteed. Note that this is one of the weekend’s few live-format tourneys.
Back on the qualifying front, you can put up $162 and try to win a $3,500 package ($3,000 entry fee and $500 for travel) to the October 14 Keeneland NHC/BCBC Challenge. One in 25 entries in this Pick & Pray tourney will garner a top prize.
There are two “co-features” at HorsePlayers, including the second offering of an event that proved popular during its debut last Sunday.
The “sophomore” here is a $1,000 BCBC Pick & Pray. This “Super Low Ratio” tourney awards one $10,000 BCBC entry per each 11 entries. And one $10,000 entry will be guaranteed no matter what. That means that if fewer than 11 enter, the tourney (live-format) will run either with no rake (should there be 10 entries) or as an overlay to players (should fewer than 10 sign up).
The other live-format game on the weekend schedule is Sunday’s qualifier for the NTRA/Belmont Park Super Qualifier (September 29 at Belmont). Winners of our Sunday qualifier (one per each 20 entries) receive a $1,500 entry to the Belmont NHC Super Qualifier plus $500 for travel. Once at Belmont you’ll compete for cash, a Belmont Stakes Betting Challenge seat, and seats to the NHC. One NHC will be awarded there per each 15 entries they receive.
Featured tourney contest races on Sunday are the 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th from Belmont; the 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th and 11th from Woodbine; and the 8th, 9th and 12th from Gulfstream — 12 races in total.
Before we close, we want to send out good wishes to Peter Behr, David Nelson, Michael Kavana, Tony Calabrese and Dan Weisenburger who are the HorseTourneys qualifiers that will be competing on Saturday at the Woodbine Mile Horseplayers Tournament.
Most important of all, we also send out heartfelt good wishes and positive thoughts to our many friends in Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. May this be a safe weekend for you and yours. We will be thinking of you.