It if seems like there is a year-end push on NHC seats, you’re right. Seventeen more guaranteed seats are on the table during an extended weekend of featured-tourney action that continues through New Year’s Day on Tuesday. And 10 of those NHC berths will be awarded in one fell swoop on Saturday in the 15-race NHC Online Super Qualifier at HorsePlayers.
The Round 2 feeder for the Online Super Qualifier—plus four other featured tourneys—take place on Friday.
One of every five entries on Friday will earn a $430 seat to the Saturday Super Qualifier in our $97 Round 2 feeder at HorsePlayers. Like all of our Friday featured tourneys, this one is a Pick & Pray.
If you don’t feel like waiting until Saturday to take a direct shot at Vegas, then take aim at Friday’s $75 Pick & Pray qualifier. One of every 143 entries will win a spot at the NHC (including airfare and hotel). If we get above the 429-entry mark, we’ll add a third seat to the prize pool.
Here at HorseTourneys, we have a trio of Friday Pick & Prays.
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. The last three renewals of this Friday staple each closed with a purse about $10,000.
You can also play our Horse Player World Series entry-only Pick & Pray where one in 20 will earn a $1,500 entry to the three-day handicap-a-thon at The Orleans in March. The entry fee for this qualifier is $90.
And again we have a Friday qualifier to the Treasure Island NHC Last Chance tournament, which takes place one day prior to the NHC. One per each 10 entries in this Pick & Pray earns a $500 entry. The buy-in on Friday is $58.
Contest races for the Friday featured events at HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers are: the 8th through 10th at Tampa; the 9th through 11th at Gulfstream; and the 5ht through 8th at Santa Anita where it’s opening weekend. That adds up to 10 races in all.
It’s hard to find a tournament on the contest schedule where you can come in 10th and still win an NHC seat. The Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge is one such event. So is The BIG One—and so is Saturday’s NHC Online Super Qualifier at HorsePlayers.
Because of the special magnitude of this competition, we will use a special 15-race schedule for this one. (The other Saturday featured tourneys at HorseTourneys will be comprised of 12 races.) Note that the Super Qualifier will be run in live-format mode, and 10 NHC spots, including hotel and travel award, will be awarded regardless of participation. Should we get above 275 entries, the NTRA will add an 11th seat to the pot. With this many seats up for grabs, you’ll still need to have a good day to win, but you won’t necessarily have to have a great day.
There’s solid action at HorseTourneys as well on Saturday, including the competition with the richest grand prize of the weekend.
The big-money game is our up-to-$30,000 cash tourney with $17,500 guaranteed. This live-format contest costs $260 to enter and the field is limited to 133.
Last week Stephen McNatton picked eight winners en route to joining Steven Meier as HorseTourneys qualifiers to the April 14th Keeneland Grade One Gamble. Chances are you won’t need eight winners this week, nor will you need to be named Steven (or Stephen). But you will need $164 for your buy-in in order to become eligible for a $3,500 package to the prestigious Keeneland tournament.
Speaking of packages, Saturday is the day each week that we offer a full-package qualifier to the Horse Player World Series. Winners (one per each 25 entries) in this $117 buy-in tourney earn a $1,500 HPWS entry, a four-night stay at The Orleans plus $500 for travel to Vegas.
Eight more featured tourneys are on the docket on Sunday, including an NHC qualifier right here at HorseTourneys.
The NHC opportunity is a “Lower Ratio” Pick & Pray with an entry fee of $240 and a winning ratio of one in 45. One seat is guaranteed to be awarded.
Of special note this day is our Last Chance qualifier to the January 4th and 5th single-day tournaments at Hawthorne. Two NHC seats will be up for grabs each day in Cicero-Stickney, Illinois, and a million-dollar bonus is 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 of their one-day tourneys.
Sunday also brings another direct qualifier to the Treasure Island NHC Last Chance tournament. Last Sunday’s TI qualifier set an unofficial personal-best for HorseTourneys in that we had six winners. Maybe we’ll hit seven this week. It’s just $58 to play.
We had another three winners in last Sunday’s entry-only qualifier to the Horse Player World Series, and we’re hoping for a similar showing this Sunday. One in 20 in this $90 buy-in event will snatch a $1,500 entry to HPWS, one of the contest calendar’s true “major” events.
On the Sunday cash front, there’s our up-to-$20,000 live-format tourney with $10,000 Guaranteed. As many as 118 may enter—at $195 each—but only one can take down the top prize, which last week was $6,903.
And, of course, there’s our up-to-$5,000 Exacta box tourney. This contest (always run in live-format) offers a guaranteed purse of $1,000. Players must pick a three-horse exacta box in each contest race, and whoever gets the highest total returns, based on a $1.00 return over the 12-race competition wins. An added feature, unique to these Exacta games, is that there is never a price cap in play. If you pick two bombs and they run 1-2, your score reflects every ounce of your exotic strength and wisdom.
Two more NHC qualifying opportunities—one direct and one sort of indirect—await you at HorsePlayers on Sunday.
The direct option is Sunday’s “regular” NHC qualifier (live format) with two seats guaranteed. Admission is $165 and one in 65 will earn a grand prize, though at least two will be bestowed no matter what.
There’s also a last-chance, live-format qualifier 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 tournament plus $500 for travel. Out at Santa Anita, one NHC seat will be awarded for every 15 entries attracted, and there will be worthwhile cash prizes as well.
This weekend, the featured-tourney action doesn’t end until Tuesday…New Year’s Day.
There’s no better way to ring in a new year than by punching one’s ticket to the NHC, and HorsePlayers offers two chances to do this roughly 15 hours after the ball drops in Times Square.
The more “inclusive” opportunity is via a “Low Ratio” qualifier, in which you pay $500 to play, but your winning ratio is just 1 in 21. One seat is guaranteed in this live-format tourney.
If you have yet to qualify at all for the 2019 NHC, you may want to take a long look at Tuesday’s NHC “Maiden Special” tourney, which is restricted to those still looking for their first 2019 NHC seat. The entry fee is $165 for this Pick & Pray, and one berth is guaranteed in this event as well. We will point out again that—because of the restricted nature of this qualifier—no NHC Tour Points will be awarded in this contest regardless of participation numbers.
I always love New Year’s Day. It means I’m back to even for the year! The next best thing to having a profitable year is to finish a year off on a winning note. We hope you have just that experience this weekend at HorseTourneys. Good luck…and Happy New Year.