This is as important a weekend as there is during the 2018 NHC Tour season—because it’s the last weekend of the season. Technically, it’s not even a full weekend because Saturday, January 12, is your very last day in which to earn NHC Tour points for the 2018 campaign. The final opportunity comes Saturday in a $100, five-seats-guaranteed qualifier at HorsePlayers. So many players will be coming out looking to improve their year-end totals for possible bonus money or to get onto the “Top 50 Not Qualified” Leaderboard, which guarantees those 50 an NHC seat.
It should make for a particularly exciting tourney—but that’s just one of 17 featured events during the Friday-Saturday-Sunday period. Let’s dive in to what’s in store, starting with Friday.
A trio of featured Pick & Prays at HorseTourneys help bring the workweek to a fun conclusion. The headliner is our up-to-$12,500 event with $5,000 Guaranteed. It has a buy-in of $190 and no more than 75 entries will be accepted.
You can also take a shot at a $1,500 entry to the Horse Player World Series in another Friday Pick & Pray where one in 20 will move on the March 28-30 extravaganza at The Orleans. Here, the entry fee is $90.
The last of the Friday Pick & Prays is to the Treasure Island NHC Last Chance tournament, which takes place on February 7—NHC eve. One per each 10 entries here earns a $500 entry. The buy-in is $58.
Contest races for the Friday featured tourneys are: the 6th through 8th at Aqueduct; the 1st and 4th at Santa Anita; the 8th through 10th at Gulfstream; and the 8th and 10th at Tampa Bay Downs—10 races all together.
The marquee event of the weekend—the one we mentioned at the top—takes place on Saturday at HorsePlayers.
Trying to win the NHC Tour? Need to get into the Top 20 for some bonus money? Perhaps you want to make the Top 40 so you can play in that separate “Top 40” side tournament at the NHC? Or maybe you haven’t qualified for the NHC yet but are close to doing so on points? Saturday is your absolute last chance to improve your standing via our $100 qualifier which also, not incidentally, offers five guaranteed NHC seats in addition to Tour points. This one is a Pick & Pray, and if we get above the 600-entry mark, a sixth NHC seat will be added.
While the NHC seats and tour points are flying around at HorsePlayers, four big contests will be taking place at HorseTourneys on Saturday.
The day’s richest game is our up-to-$30,000 tourney with $17,500 guaranteed. It’s a live-format game this week with a buy-in of $260. The field is limited to 133.
Another live-format game on Saturday is our qualifier to the April 14th Keeneland Grade One Gamble. Winner(s) get a $3,000 entry plus $500 for travel to Lexington, Ky. One grand prize will be awarded per each 25 entries in this contest, which costs $164 to play.
One of our more popular tourneys of the weekend is sure to be our Horse Player World Series full package qualifier. Win this and you will receive a four-night hotel stay at The Orleans plus another $500 for travel to go along with your $1,500 HPWS entry. This live-format qualifier carries an entry fee of $117.
And don’t overlook Saturday’s special Round 2 feeder to our $40,000 Guaranteed tourney on January 26 (Pegasus Day). This Pick & Pray costs $79 and one in just five will earn a $340 entry to the big game on the 26th.
Sunday will be a busy day around here with nine featured tourneys—seven here and two at HorsePlayers.
You’ll note that at the top of the list there is a 2019 NHC qualifier. Just because you can’t earn 2018 NHC Tour points anymore doesn’t mean that you can’t keep playing for a spot to the February 8-10 NHC. This is a “regular” qualifier—a Pick & Pray—with one NHC seat guaranteed.
Last week we had not one, not two but three winners of $12,500 packages to the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship. So we’re doing away with the every-other-week routing and coming back strong with another direct qualifier to the ultra-high-end tournament this Sunday. This, too, is a Pick & Pray. Entries cost $480, and one in 30 will win.
Another Sunday tourney of special note is a one-time-only qualifier to the January 19 Tampa Bay Downs High Rollers Tournament. Entries to this live-format tourney are just $59 and one per 20 will receive a $1,000 entry to play in the land of Grunder and Shades Guy. Two NHC seats will be on the line there in Oldsmar, Fla., and winners may choose whether those NHC seats will be used for the 2019 event or in 2020.
Behind the NHC, Pegasus and Tampa tourneys are Sunday staples that regulars know and love. One is our up-to-$20,000 cash game with $10,000 Guaranteed. Up to 118 may play in this one, and the entry fee is $195. Last week’s $10,000 Guaranteed game on Sunday paid out a top prize of $6,557.
Another is our up-to-$5,000 Exacta box tourney. This contest (always run in live-format) offers a guaranteed pot of $1,000. Here, players make three-horse exacta box plays in each contest race, and whoever does best, based on a $1.00 play, over the 12-race competition wins. Keep in mind that there are never any price caps in effect with our Exacta tourneys.
Sunday also brings another opportunity to win a $500 entry to the Treasure Island NHC Last Chance tournament. It’s just $58 to play and the winning ratio is 1 in 10.
Once again, there’s also a qualifier to the Horse Player World Series. Sunday’s game is a live-format, entry-only qualifier with one in 20 earning a $1,500 entry to the HPWS this March 28-30. The buy-in is $90.
HorsePlayers, meanwhile, has a pair of one-seat-guaranteed NHC qualifiers on tap this Sunday, and both are “Low Ratio” games, but one has a twist.
One of the Low Ratio qualifiers—with a winning ratio of 1 in 21—is open to all. The other is open only to those who have yet to win a 2019 NHC seat. Both cost $500; both are live-format tourneys; and both have one prize guaranteed.
That about sums things up. Whether your target is points, seats, cash or all three, we wish you a fun and successful weekend.