T’was the weekend before Christmas, and if you still have holiday shopping to do…you better get moving. Likewise with qualifying for the NHC. Unlike some stores at your local shopping mall, however, HorseTourneys still has plenty of great merchandise on its shelves—in fact, there’s more than ever. We have 21 featured tourneys this weekend, offering more than $40,000 in guaranteed cash and at least nine guaranteed NHC seats. And that’s just the tip of the North Pole iceberg.
Our weekend doors swing open on Friday.
The Friday feature is our up-to-$12,500 Pick & Pray with $5,000 Guaranteed. It carries an entry fee of $190 and no more than 75 entries will be accepted.
This week, due to popular demand, we’ve added a Friday qualifier to the Treasure Island NHC Last Chance tournament on the day before the NHC starts. (There will be another one on Sunday.) One per each 10 entries in this Pick & Pray earns a $500 entry. You can get in for $58.
You can also play our Horse Player World Series entry-only Pick & Pray. One in 20 will earn a $1,500 entry for one of the biggest event’s on any year’s contest calendar. The entry fee here is $90.
The NHC is the star of the show at HorsePlayers on Friday, and all weekend long, for that matter.
The first two of nine guaranteed NHC seats during the weekend will be fought over in our $75 Pick & Pray qualifier. One of every 143 entries will win a spot at the NHC (including airfare and hotel). If we cross the 429-entry barrier, we’ll add a third seat to the prize pool.
Contest races for all of the Friday featured events are: the 7th, 9th and 10th at Tampa; the 8th and 9th at The Big A; the 8th through 10th at Gulfstream; and the 6th and 7th from Hawthorne—10 races all together.
Two more guaranteed opportunities to make the NHC come Saturday at HorsePlayers.
This week, the two Saturday tourneys at HorsePlayers will be run in live format. One is a “Low Ratio” qualifier, in which you pay $500 to play, but your winning ratio is just 1 in 21. One seat is guaranteed, and if you want to simply optimize your chances for getting qualified regardless of entry fee, this is the “spot” for you. (And note that there will be another one of these on Sunday at HorseTourneys.)
There’s another option for you—provided that you have yet to win a seat to the 2019 NHC. It’s an NHC “Maiden Special” tourney. The entry fee is $165, and one seat is guaranteed in this event as well. We will point out once again that—because of the restricted nature of this qualifier—no NHC Tour Points will be awarded in this contest.
You can qualify for the NHC at HorseTourneys as well on Saturday (and Keeneland and the Horse Player World Series too).
The NHC opportunity is a “regular” NHC Pick & Pray with two seats guaranteed. One per 65 will win at the traditional price point of $165 per entry.
Our first qualifier to the Keeneland Grade One Gamble last week was an exciting event with three players within $1.30 of each other at the end. (Congratulations to winner Steven Meier.) We expect competition to be similarly fierce this Saturday, when the qualifier for Keeneland will be a Pick & Pray. The entry fee here is $164 and one entry per each 25 will receive a $3,500 package to the April 14 Lexington, Ky. contest.
Also on the Saturday slate is a full-package qualifier for the Horse Player World Series. Winners (again one per each 25 entries) in this Pick & Pray tourney earn a $1,500 HPWS entry, a four-night hotel stay at The Orleans plus $500 for additional travel expenses like airfare, taxis, slot machine losses at McCarran Airport, et al.
Let’s not forget about the very important cash component of the Saturday schedule: our richest event of the weekend…the up-to-$30,000 Pick & Pray with $17,500 guaranteed. This one costs $260 to enter and the field is limited to 133.
Eleven (!) more featured tourneys are on tap for Sunday.
Of special note is your chance to qualify on Sunday for the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship at Gulfstream on January 25-26. Players at Gulfstream will begin 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 Pick & pray 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.
We have another key, bi-weekly tourney taking place on Sunday: our Big Bucks tourney. This one has $10,000 Guaranteed, and a pot that could swell to $20,000, depending on participation. It costs $1,150 to enter this Pick & Pray and no more than 20 entries will be allowed in. As per usual, only the top three will win money…on a 70%/20%/10% basis. Low-cost feeders for this event continue all week long at HorseTourneys.
If an $1,150 is a little rich for your blood, you can play for essentially the same money for just $195 in our up-to-$20,000 Pick & Pray. Here again, the purse is guaranteed to be at least $10,000. The field size in this one will be up to (but not more than) 118.
What’s a weekend day at this time of year without an NHC qualifier? On Sunday, there’s again NHC qualifying action both at HorsePlayers and at HorseTourneys. The one here at HorseTourneys is another Low Ratio qualifier (the second of the weekend). Same entry fee as before: $500; same winning ratio (1 in 21), but note that this one will be run in live-format mode. One seat is guaranteed to be awarded.
We indicated earlier that the qualifiers for the Treasure Island NHC Last Chance tournament have been very popular thus far. Two such qualifiers have resulted in 10 winners of $500 entries. So this weekend, we’re running two, with the second of those coming on Sunday. It’s a Pick & Pray with a $58 entry fee and, once again, one in 10 will win.
Another very popular Sunday event (last week we had enough entries for there to be three winners) is our Sunday entry-only qualifier to the Horse Player World Series. One in 20 in this $90 Pick & Pray will snatch a $1,500 entry.
There’s a “Last Chance” tourney on Sunday…to the December 29 Monmouth Park NHC qualifier, where five NHC seats will be at stake. Our Sunday Monmouth Pick & Pray has an entry fee of $71 and winners get a $900 package ($400 entry plus $500 travel).
On the weekend after Monmouth comes Hawthorne, where two single-day contests will be held on January 4-5, with two NHC seats at stake each day, and a generous, million-dollar bonus in play for each day’s winner should he or she go on to capture the NHC. Winner(s) of our Sunday qualifier receive $800 in entry fees for Hawthorne—enough for both days out there in Chicagoland. (By the way, “Chicagoland” is one of my favorite terms for a U.S. metropolitan area, though it is significantly behind my #1 favorite—Kentuckiana.)
Last but never least on the HorseTourneys docket is our up-to-$5,000 Exacta box tourney. This contest (always run in live-format) offers a guaranteed purse of $1,000. Players are required to select a three-horse exacta box in each contest race, and whoever gets the highest total returns (no price caps!) over the 12-race competition wins the money and glory.
Over at HorsePlayers, the final two of the weekend’s nine guaranteed NHC seats will be at stake.
It’s a “regular” NHC Pick & Pray with two seats guaranteed. Admission is $165 and one in 65 will capture a top prize.
A screen shot wasn’t available at press time, but there’s also a Pick & Pray qualifier on Sunday to the January 5 NHC Super Qualifier at Santa Anita. Winner(s), of which there will be one per every 20 entries, earn a $1,500 entry to the Santa Anita competition plus $500 for travel.
Speaking of NHC Super Qualifiers, we wish good luck to Patrick Runyan, Jeff Joffrion, Jared Black and Coyne Collier who qualified at HorsePlayers for this Saturday’s NHC “SQ” at Fair Grounds.
Most of all, we wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas. We’ll be dark on Monday and Tuesday, but back with you on Wednesday, the 26th (opening day at Santa Anita!).