First Chance to Qualify for January at Hawthorne Plus at Least Eight Guaranteed NHC Seats Highlight Weekend Sure to be Full of Picks and Prayers

If you enjoy like the set-it-and-forget-it ease and fun of Pick & Pray tourneys, this weekend should be right up your alley. We have 18 featured tourneys on Friday, Saturday and Sunday—and all but five are Pick & Prays. The “church doors” swing open on Friday.

The week, the Friday topper is back to being our up-to-$12,500 Pick & Pray with $5,000 Guaranteed. The entry fee is $190 and there is a limit of 75 entries here. If you’re lucky here, your prayers won’t just be answered…they’ll be well rewarded.

Another reason to hit your knees on Friday is our Horse Player World Series entry-only qualifier. One in 20 will receive a $1,500 HPWS entry good at The Orleans next March.

If you find yourself still praying to the (racing) gods for a 2019 NHC seat, take a shot Friday in our $75 NHC Pick & Pray qualifier.

One of every 143 entries will “get qualified” to the NHC. Two seats are guaranteed to be awarded, and if we reach the 429-entry plateau, a third seat will be added to the prize pool.

Ten heats make up the contest races for all of the Friday featured events: the 6th through 9th at Gulfstream; the 7th and 9th from Tampa Bay Downs; the 8th and 9th at the Big A; and the 8th and 9th from Laurel.

The weekend’s richest tourney takes place on Saturday.

It’s our up-to-$30,000 Pick & Pray with $17,500 guaranteed. The entry fee is $260 and a maximum of 133 entries will be accepted.

We also offer a pair of Saturday Pick & Prays to two Las Vegas tournaments—both among the richest and most prestigious in the land.

One is a “regular,” two-seats-guaranteed play-in affair to the NHC. The entry fee here is $165 and one in 65 will go on to Treasure Island, home of the NHC.

The other is a full-package qualifier to the Horse Player World Series. Winners (one per each 25 entries) earn not just a $1,500 entry, but a four-night hotel stay at The Orleans and yet another $500 to put towards your travel expenses. If $500 is more than you need to get there, then you can just pocket the difference…or use it to play in other tourneys…like the two on Saturday at HorsePlayers!

The fifth and sixth guaranteed NHC seats of the weekend come via two separate tourneys at HorsePlayers.

One is a Low Ratio qualifier. Here, one in just 21 will win the grand prize. And one NHC berth is guaranteed here even if fewer than 21 sign up. If 42 take part, we’ll add in a second prize.

The other is an NHC “Maiden Special” tourney. It’s a 1-seat-guaranteed Pick & Pray restricted to those who have yet to win a 2019 NHC seat. If you’d like to compete for a seat at The Big Dance without facing some of the top players out there, this one’s for you! The entry fee is $165, and note that—because of the special, restricted nature of this qualifier—no NHC Tour Points will be awarded in this tourney.

Ten more featured competitions are slated for Sunday.

The new entry on this week’s schedule is our first qualifier to the January 4-5 tournaments at Hawthorne. The Hawthorne events are run as two separate single-day contests with two NHC seats at stake each day. The top finisher each day also becomes eligible for a million-dollar bonus should he or she go on to win the 2019 NHC. These two Hawthorne contests are also among the very last to fall under the 2018 NHC Tour year. So if you are looking for an NHC seat…or more 2018 NHC Tour points, this can be an even more important competition for you. Winner(s) of our Sunday qualifier receive $800 in entry fees for Hawthorne—enough to cover you on both days of their events.

You can also qualify on Sunday for the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship at Gulfstream on January 25-26. Players there start with a $12,000 bankroll (which also represents the buy-in…the prize pool, guaranteed at a minimum of $435,000, is funded by players’ churn, plus contributions from The Stronach Group, Gulfstream Park and Xpressbet).
Our Sunday qualifier costs $480 to enter and one in 30 will earn a Pegasus entry ($12,000 value as noted earlier) plus $500 for travel. Pegasus contestants will have seats in The Sport of Kings Theatre for Pegasus Day, and five NHC seats will be part of that prize pool as well as all that cash. Note that this qualifier will be run in live-format mode.

For just $90, you can compete in our Sunday, entry-only Pick & Pray to the Horse Player World Series. One in 20 will earn a $1,500 entry to the HPWS at The Orleans in Las Vegas.

There’s also a Pick & Pray for the December 29 Monmouth Park NHC qualifier. Our Sunday qualifier carries an entry fee of just $71 and offers winners a $900 package ($400 entry plus $500 travel). Six NHC seats will be up for grabs at Monmouth on the 29th.

A lot of money is also at stake in our Sunday tourneys via our cash games. Two of them offer pots of up to $20,000.

One is our up-to-$20,000 Pick & Pray, which carries an entry fee of $195. Regardless of the number of sign ups, the purse is guaranteed to be at least $10,000. No more than 118 entries, however, will be accepted in this one.

The other game offering a pot of up to $20,000 is our Big Bucks tourney. This one also $10,000 Guaranteed, but it has a higher buy-in and fewer participants. It costs $1,150 to enter this Pick & Pray and no more than 20 entries will be allowed in. As always, only the top three will win money…on a 70%/20%/10% basis. Again, the pot will be at least $10,000 no matter how many—or few—sign up. Low-cost feeders for this event continue all week long at HorseTourneys.

Exacta specialists will be out in force for Sunday’s up-to-$5,000 Exacta box tourney. They will be selecting a three-horse exacta box in every race. No payoff caps. Whoever wins the most money, based on $1.00 payoffs, wins. This contest (always run in live-format mode) offers a guaranteed purse of $1,000. It’s also extra fun for many because no matter how badly you might be doing, you’re never out of contention until the very last race has been run. That’s exactly what happened last week when Adam Lewis struck out on the first 11 races, but nailed the exacta in the 12th…which paid enough for him to beat everyone else.

There are three featured tourneys on Sunday over at HorsePlayers—all tied, directly or indirectly, to the NHC.

Our final two of the eight guaranteed NHC spots this weekend will be bestowed in a “regular” NHC qualifier with a buy in of $165. This tourney is a Pick & Pray.

There are also a pair of Sunday, live-format, $118 qualifiers to onsite NHC super qualifiers held at the end of the 2018 NHC Tour year. One is to the December 22 event at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, and the other is to the January 5 tournament at “The Great Race Place,” 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 one you win). The two super qualifiers will each offer one NHC seat per every 15 entries, utilizing an interesting hybrid format whereby players make live-bankroll plays, but all are pre-determined win/place wagers of a set size. No “all-in” plays…and not really much need to manage bankrolls, for that matter. So the Super Qualifiers will sort of play like the NHC. (Having played in one of these at Belmont in October, I liked the idea that I couldn’t lose what I already had won. That’s rare for me!)

Winning is not rare for Garett Skiba or Kim Dixon. They won last weekend’s Gulfstream Conquer the Crown Challenge and Lone Star Park NHC qualifier, respectively. Congratulations to them!

And here’s hoping your name joins theirs on the roster of December winners. Good luck!

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