There’s a lot going on this weekend. For me, it’s usually all about the “featured tourneys” offering the biggest prizes—and there are certainly plenty of those this weekend (20 to be exact). We’ll cover all of those…but there are two interesting side attractions of note as well.
One of these is the first offering of feeders leading up to the big $50,000 cash game on Florida Derby Day, Saturday, March 30.
We have both direct feeders and feeders to Round 2 contests (on March 24 and March 29) that could allow you to win a $495 entry for as little as $27. You can expect to see these feeders on the schedule pretty much every day between now and March 30.
The other “special attraction” is something you won’t even find anywhere on our site right now—but you will on Saturday if you look hard enough. It’s the special “tiebreaker tourney” for the seven players who finished tied for first in the free NHC qualifier on March 2.
It’s not listed on our home page schedule because the public is not eligible to sign up and play in it. But if you wish to follow along with what’s going on, it will appear on the regular Saturday leaderboard drop-down menu at HorsePlayers once the tourney gets started. The top five in this live-format playoff will get NHC seats, and the bottom two will get $500 in HorsePlayers site credit. Will players take the chalk in every race? Will anyone “dance with the girl that brung ‘em” and play nothing but the 4 horse? We can find out together at HorsePlayers on Saturday. The 12 contest races that the Magnificent Seven (Gang of Fours?) will be playing will be the same 12 races (still to be determined as of press time) as those that make up the Saturday featured schedule.
For the Magnificent Rest of Us, the featured weekend schedule gets under way on Friday…the ides of March.
The big cash game on Friday is our up-to-$12,500 Pick & Pray with $5,000 Guaranteed. It has an entry fee of $190 and entries are limited to 75.
We’re now just two weeks away from the Horse Player World Series, and you’ll have three chances to qualify for this venerable event during the weekend. The first comes Friday with our entry-only qualifier. It, too, is a Pick & Pray, and the buy-in is $90. Winners receive a $1,500 entry to the signature handicapping event at The Orleans (home of this week’s upset by St. Mary’s over Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference tournament).
As the soothsayer said to Julius Caesar, the ides of March have come…but not gone. There’s still another Friday event at HorsePlayers to report.
You won’t have to “beware” a high entry fee because this NHC Pick & Pray costs just $75 to enter. Two seats are guaranteed, and the winning ratio is 1 in 143.
Contest races for the three featured contests at HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers on Friday are the 7th through 9th from Tampa Bay Downs; the 6th and 9th at Aqueduct; the 7th, 9th and 10th at Gulfstream; and the 5th and 6th from Golden Gate—10 races in all.
Saturday offers five featured tourneys that will all be run in live-format mode. So scrutinize those post parades, check those odds, buckle up and have fun.
Leading off the Saturday proceedings is a “regular” NHC qualifier with two spots guaranteed, an entry fee of $165 and one winner per every 65 entries. So if 195 entries are attracted, a third seat will be tossed into the prize pool.
The event with the largest prize pool of the weekend is Saturday’s up-to-$30,000 Pick & Pray with $17,500 guaranteed. It carries an entry fee of $260, and no more than 133 will be allowed behind the velvet rope.
Saturday also brings with it a Keeneland Grade One Gamble qualifier. Winners receive a $3,000 entry into the well-regarded April 14th contest plus $500 for travel to Lexington, where people will still be wearing black if Kentucky didn’t wind up cutting down the nets in the NCAA Tournament. The winning ratio for this game (the Grade One Gamble, not the NCAA Tournament) is one in 25, and the entry fee is $164.
Your second chance of the weekend to grab a Horse Player World Series seat takes place on Saturday in our full-package qualifier. For a $117 buy-in, you have the chance at a $1,500 entry to the three-day World Series on March 28-30, plus a four-night hotel stay at The Orleans (home of the $14.99 Steak and Lobster Tail special at Friday’s between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. every day), plus another $500 for travel.
Over at HorsePlayers, there is a live-format Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier.
This one is a “regular” qualifier, meaning that the winning ratio is 1-in-65, the entry fee is $179 and there is one $10,000 entry guaranteed to be awarded regardless of participation.
Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day. So put on your green, and maybe it will bring you luck during one or more of the day’s dozen featured tourneys.
Even better than the “wearin’ o’ the green” is the “winnin’ o’ the green” and on St. Patrick’s Day, you have four chances to find a pot o’ gold at the end of your contest rainbow
One is our up-to-$20,000 Pick & Pray that has an entry fee of $195, and a minimum purse guarantee of $10,000.
Another $10,000 Guaranteed tourney is Sunday’s Big Bucks game ($1,150 entry fee). A maximum of 20 may enter this up-to-$20,000 event, and prizes are paid out only to the top three on a 70/20/10% basis. Also note that this is the day’s lone Pick & Pray among the 12 featured contests.
The other two Sunday cash games have smaller stakes. One is the up-to-$5,000 Exacta box tourney. This contest (always run in live-format) offers a guaranteed pot of $1,000. Here, you make a three-horse exacta box play in each contest race, and the winner is based on total return from a $1.00 unit. This tourney carries an entry fee of $125 and entries are capped at 45.
The other is our new Pick 6 Jackpot tourney. It’s a six-race, $55 buy-in tourney that’s a little bit like the Rainbow 6 except you don’t have to be the only one to have all six winners to get a piece of the jackpot. Seventy percent of the net pool will go to those who score best and 30% goes to those who get all six races right. If no one does so, that 30% carries over to the next Pick 6 Jackpot tourney. The Jackpot currently stands at $1,190.
Of course, life isn’t all about money—we should enjoy the journey as well. Accordingly, there are several opportunities on Sunday to qualify for journeys to exciting on-site contests where you can win…money.
The most noteworthy such opportunity this weekend comes in the form of our special Horse Player World Series Blowout. The rules are straightforward. It’s $175 to enter, and there will be one $1,500 entry awarded per every 10 entries. It’s the lowest winning ratio of any of our HPWS qualifiers held during the past year.
There’s also a new offering this week—a qualifier to the April 28 Steve Sexton Challenge at Lone Star Park. This, too, is an entry-only contest and one per every 15 entries—at $79 each—will earn a $1,000 entry to compete deep in the heart of Texas.
As per usual on Sundays, you can win an all-inclusive (entry/hotel/travel/amenities) package to The BIG One at Laurel. An entry fee of $350 will get you a shot at qualifying for the high-expectation contest in September that will offer 10 NHC seats, five BCBC spots, five Pegasus entries, five HPWS entries, plus a guaranteed cash prize pool of at least $75,000. And be aware that there will be no more than 57 entries allowed at The BIG One. (That’s why one’s expectations are always high at The BIG One…57 players, 25 really nice prizes). Also note that this is a guaranteed qualifier. At least one berth will be awarded regardless of participation.
Twenty-five entries have already been scooped up for the August 3-4 Spa & Surf Showdown, and you can add your name to that list of qualifiers to the $100,000 Guaranteed, two-day, online tournament that will only focus on races from Saratoga and Del Mar. Sunday’s qualifier costs $113 to play and one of every 20 will win.
Also on offer this Sunday are $700 in entry fees for the Hawthorne March contests on March 29-30. They run this as two single-day contests, and the rules at Hawthorne are pretty much…no rules! Want to put your entire contest bankroll into a Pick 4 or a cold superfecta at Mahoning Valley? At Hawthorne, you can. Sunday’s Pick & Pray qualifier costs $55, and one in 15 will win.
Rules are a bit tighter (three contest tracks; WPS wagering only) at the June 1 Monmouth Pick Your Prize tournament. You can win your way into this popular tournament for $117. One in 25 will earn a $2,000 entry plus an additional $500 for travel to the Jersey Shore.
Two more live-format featured tourneys are on the schedule at HorsePlayers on Sunday.
One is a regular NHC qualifier with two seats guaranteed, and the other is a low-ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge play-in with one in 23 earning a $10,000 entry. This game is also guaranteed…meaning that one $10,000 entry is guaranteed to be awarded even if fewer than 23 take part.
This weekend, we send good-luck wishes out to Roger Cettina, Coleen Curley, Stacey Rynn, George Carr and Frank Schultz who will be competing as HorseTourneys qualifiers at the Laurel Champions Tournament on Saturday. I’ll be there too, so say hi if you’re around!
To everyone else, may you survive the ides of March (unlike Julius Caesar), and may the Luck o’ the Irish be your companion on Sunday, and even a day or two earlier than that.