The calendar is winding down to Thanksgiving (a holiday many consider the most fun of all). That means that the focus for qualifying tournaments is narrowing a bit—mainly centering around the Horse Player World Series and, to an even greater degree, the NHC.
We have three guaranteed NHC direct qualifiers this weekend—each offering a minimum of two seats. That, along with our usual array of featured cash tourneys, gets under way on Friday.
The Friday chart topper at HorseTourneys is an up-to-$12,500 Pick & Pray with $5,000 Guaranteed. The entry fee is $190 and there is a limit of 75 entries.
The first of our three NHC qualifiers takes place at HorsePlayers on Friday.
It’s our ever-popular $75 NHC Pick & Pray qualifier. One per each 143 entries will punch his or her ticket to Las Vegas, and if we get up to the 429-entry mark, a third seat will be added.
Contest races for the Friday featured tourneys are the 6th and 7th from Gulfstream Park West; the 6th through 9th from Laurel (better weather predicted for Friday!); and the 4th through 7th from Del Mar—10 races in all.
On Saturday we again set out sights on nothing but Vegas…and cash.
Our richest competition of the weekend is Saturday’s up-to-$30,000 tourney with $17,500 guaranteed. The entry fee here is $260, and this week’s renewal will be run in live-format mode. (So will most of our other featured tourneys on Saturday and Sunday.)
Prefer an off-Strip Vegas experience? Take a look at our full-package qualifier to next March’s Horse Player World Series. Saturday’s live-format tilt offers one $1,500 HPWS entry, a four-night hotel stay at The Orleans, and another $500 for your travel expenses per each 25 entries. (Meals at Fuddruckers not included.) This one costs $117 to play.
Over at HorsePlayers, there’s an NHC qualifier for those who don’t mind risking a little more in exchange for having to beat fewer opponents.
It’s a $240 “Lower Ratio” qualifier in which two more NHC spots are guaranteed to be awarded.
Contest races for high-profile Saturday battles are the 8th and 9th (including the Red Smith) at Aqueduct; the 8th and 9th from Laurel; the 7th, 10th and 11th up north at Woodbine; and the 3rd through 7th at Del Mar where, perhaps unlike at the other three venues, the weather always seems to be perfect. That adds up to 12 races in which to assert your superiority.
On Sunday, we’ll be offering 10 featured tourneys. (If you live in the New York area, that’s a welcome distraction from the local NFL teams.)
Sunday serves as your last-chance to win a spot ($800 in entry fees) for both days of the November 23-24 Hawthorne Fall NHC Super Qualifier. The event is run as two separate, single-day tourneys, each one with a $400 buy-in. Our Sunday qualifier covers those entry fees plus another $500 for travel.
Sunday serves as your next-to-last-chance to win your way into two other events: the Gulfstream Park Conquer the Crown Challenge on their opening day, December 1; and the Lone Star NHC qualifier held on the same day.
Winners of the Gulfstream qualifier get their $3,000 buy-in covered on December 1. The buy-in is $176 and one in 20 will win. The Lone Star qualifier costs just $59 to enter and, here, one in just 10 will triumph, earning a $500 entry. (Want to win a couple of entries to Lone Star? You could consider playing the same entry twice!)
Another entry-only qualifier on Sunday is that for the Horse Player World Series. The best finishers in this live-format tourney earn a $1,500 to the Mardi Gras ballroom up on there the second floor of The Orleans.
Since the weather here in New York right now befits the dead of winter, I’m reminded that we also have a Sunday qualifier for the December 29 Monmouth Park NHC qualifier. Succeed in this live-format contest and you’ll win a $400 entry plus $500 for travel to Monmouth where Brian Skirka and co. are sure to put on another good show.
Let’s not forget about the cash! There’s our up-to-$20,000 Sunday tourney with an entry fee of $195. Regardless of how many or few sign up, the pot is guaranteed to be at least $10,000. Total entries are capped at 118.
Of course, there’s another up-to-$5,000 Exacta box tourney this tourney. Last Sunday was a little chalky and Ted Fabiniak picked a remarkable (in my opinion, at least) eight exactas out of 12 races. Usually it doesn’t take that many to win. In any event, the outcome is determined based on cumulative $1 exacta payoffs on one three-horse exacta box play in each of the 12 contest races (with no payoff caps). This tourney offers a guaranteed purse of at least $1,000.
There are three featured events on Sunday over at HorsePlayers—all directly or indirectly leading to the NHC.
One is a “regular” NHC direct qualifier with a buy in of $165. Are you a “Pick & Pray” or nuthin’ player? This one is for you! It’s the only featured-tourney Pick & Pray on Saturday or Sunday. Two NHC spots are guaranteed to be won.
There are also a pair of Sunday, $118 qualifiers to onsite NHC super qualifiers held at the end of the 2018 NHC Tour year. One is to the December 22 showdown at Fair Grounds, and the other is to the January 5 contest at Santa Anita. One entry per 20 in these Sunday HorsePlayers qualifiers will earn a $1,500 entry plus $500 for travel to Fair Grounds or Santa Anita, depending on which qualifier you participated in. At each of the super qualifiers, themselves, one entry per 15 will earn an NHC seat, and they are live-money events that use a mandatory win/place wagering format similar to that of the NHC (or HorseTourneys!).
This weekend, we send out special good wishes to Charles Baldini, Richard Smith and Tarik Kouchtaf. They will be playing at the Aqueduct Challenge on Saturday, having won their $500 entries at HorseTourneys.
Good luck to the rest of you as well. May your computers hold their charge and your horses hold their lead.