We say goodbye to Saratoga and Del Mar after Monday—which is too bad. We say hello on Saturday to Kentucky Downs, though, and that’s good. The upshot of all of that is that we have a holiday weekend with great racing from several venues, so let’s enjoy it while we can. The featured-tourney fun—and there’s plenty of it—begins on Friday.
The first of a whopping 25 Labor Day Weekend featured events is our up-to-$15,000 Pick & Pray with $7,500 Guaranteed on Friday. It’s $190 to play and no more than 90 may sign up.
Contest races are the 8th through 11th from Saratoga, where it’s closing weekend; the 4th through 6th at Woodbine; and the first three races from Del. Mar, where it’s also closing weekend—10 races in all.
On Saturday, we welcome back Kentucky Downs to the HorseTourneys mix. With Kentucky Downs, you know three things: all the races will be run on grass; the purses are going to be huge; and the field sizes are going to be large. Is this heaven? No…it’s Franklin, Kentucky.
We’ll start with HorsePlayers because they have a very special competition on Saturday.
It’s a $430 NHC Super Qualifier with five seats to the big contest next February at Bally’s guaranteed. It’s a live-format game and the winning ratio will obviously be determined by how many ultimately take part. (As of Thursday evening, there are 64 entered.) This is a special 15-race contest (rather than 12). The contest races are the 7th through 10th at Kentucky Downs, the 9th through 12th from the Spa, the 11th and 13th at Gulfstream, and the 3rd through 7th at Del Mar.
There’s also a live-format, “regular” BCBC qualifier with an entry fee of $179, and a winning ratio of 1 in 65. At least one $10,000 entry/prize guaranteed here. Just 12 races in this one and the other Saturday features.
For those who prefer Pick & Prays, there’s a high-end, Super Low Ratio BCBC qualifier with one prize guaranteed. With an entry fee of $1,000, the winning ratio here is just 1 in 11. Last week’s version of this game only drew 10, though, which meant it was, effectively, a no-takeout tourney. Given the prize guarantee, that could conceivably happen again here. Stay vigilant!
Pick & Prays are the order of the day on Saturday (and most of the weekend, for that matter) at HorseTourneys with three such featured competitions.
Cash-game lovers will want to get in on Saturday’s up-to-$30,000 Pick & Pray with $15,000 Guaranteed. You can get involved for $260, and entries will be capped at 140.
We also have a qualifier (the first of three this weekend) for the October 13 Keeneland NHC/BCBC Challenge. Winners receive a $3,000 Keeneland entry plus $500 for travel to Lexington—where the racetrack is right across the street from the airport. (Only Aqueduct and perhaps Turfway can boast similar convenience!) The winning ratio for this Keeneland qualifier is 1 per 25, and entries go for $162.
You can also win your way into the Orleans Fall Classic on Saturday. The Pick & Pray Fall Classic qualifier offers a $1,000 package ($500 entry plus $500 travel) to the October 17-19 mythical-money contest at The Orleans in Las Vegas, where Sbarro, Fuddruckers, Baskin-Robins and Subway represent the post-contest food court options.
We have 12 contest races lined up for Saturday at both HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers (with the exception of the NHC Super Qualifier), and nine of them are stakes. They are: the 7th through 10th from the opening day card at Kentucky Downs; the 9th through 11th from Saratoga; the 11th and 13th (both stakes) at Gulfstream; and the 5th through 7th from Del Mar. The 10-horse, Grade II John C. Mabee Stakes will serve as the day’s finale.
Eleven of the holiday weekend’s two-dozen-plus-one featured events are scheduled for Sunday—10 of them right here at HorseTourneys.
We lead things off with an always-popular, NHC Pick & Pray with two seats guaranteed. It’s a “regular” qualifier…meaning that the entry fee is $165 and the winning ratio is one in 65.
Just three weekends remain to qualify for the 2019 renewal of The BIG One. There are nine available spots left in what will be a field of no more than 57. This weekend’s first of two opportunities is a 2-packages-guaranteed Sunday Pick & Pray with an entry fee of $495. Those who make it to Laurel will compete for 10 NHC spots, five BCBC entries and five Pegasus World Cup entries…plus $75,000 in cash. The BIG One qualifiers also receive a three-night hotel stay, another $500 for travel, welcome dinner, hotel/track transfers and buffet and open bar each of the two days at Laurel. So even if you don’t leave Maryland with a big prize, you should have a pretty great time. (The Laurel staff is also great at having all the Sunday NFL games up for us in the sports bar as well. Perhaps this is not good news this year for McKay Smith, who is a die-hard Dolphins fan.)
Just two weekends remain to qualify for the 2019 Woodbine Mile Horseplayers Tournament on September 14…and we haven’t even begun running qualifiers for it yet! We correct that situation on Sunday, though, with a $184 Pick & Pray in which one per 20 entrants will earn a $3,500 (Canadian) entry plus $500 (U.S.) for travel. (That’s a nice little bonus for our many players who live in greater Toronto.)
As usual, we also offer a Sunday, $10,000 Guaranteed game. This one carries an entry fee of $195, and is a Pick & Pray this week. It’s an “up-to-$20,000” pool-style contest, but it won’t be worth less than $10,000. Up to 118 entries will be graciously accepted. Operators are standing by.
There’s also a high-roller’s version of a $10,000 Guaranteed tourney in our separate and distinct Big Bucks game. No more than 20 entries will be taken for this one, and only the top three finish in the money. If we sell out, the pot could exceed $20,000 in this Pick & Pray. The entry fee is $1,150.
The weekend’s second of three chances to get into the October 13 Keeneland NHC/BCBC Challenge comes your way as well on Sunday. This Pick & Pray is a low-ratio, entry-only tourney with one of every 10—at $352 per entry—getting a $3,000 seat to the Lexington, Ky., event.
Speaking of entry-only qualifiers, there’s one on Sunday to the Orleans Fall Classic. Here, too, the winning ratio is one per 10, and the entry fee here is just $59.
There’s nothing better than a Sunday in which you have the next day off. But all of that goes out the window if there isn’t an up-to-$5,000 Exacta tourney to play. Our live-format game carries a guaranteed pot of $1,000, and players put up $125 to enter, then select a mythical three-horse-exacta box play in each of the 12 contest races. The biggest overall return(s), based on $1 payoffs, takes the cash.
Our $8 Pick 6 Jackpot is now up to $2,666. In this tournament, you pay just $8 to enter and 70% of the net pool gets paid out to players via the normal, $2 win/place scoring method, while the other 30% is directed to the Jackpot pool. Pick the winners of all six races and you win the Jackpot. (Multiple winners would share the jackpot.) This event is always run in live format…so if you like, you could certainly just play the chalk in every race and hope that form holds up. We also make a conscious effort—where possible—to not just stick you with the six hardest races we can find. We believe these types of games are more fun when the sequence looks reasonable.
Lastly on Sunday, you can win your way in to the September 7 Colonial Downs Handicapping Classic. Similar in structure to the Orleans Fall Classic entry-only qualifiers, this one costs $59 to play and one in 10 win a $500 entry to Colonial Downs where a couple of NHC spots will be on offer.
Meanwhile, HorsePlayers offers what has become its Sunday staple.
It’s the Sunday Low-Ratio, Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier. An entry fee of $500 buys you a 1 in 23 shot at a $10,000 BCBC seat. One prize is guaranteed in this live-format tourney.
Monday is Labor Day…and that means, yes, more featured-tourney action. Since you may be busy barbecuing or otherwise spending time with friends and family, all of the big, multi-track games are Pick & Prays.
We start with a $15,000 Guaranteed, No-Limit Pick & Pray. It’s $260 to enter, and there’s no limit as to how high the purse can grow…though it won’t be less than $15,000.
There’s also a one-all-inclusive-package-guaranteed qualifier to The BIG One. It’s $495 to play. Win and you’ll be headed to Laurel on Sept. 21-22 when 20 seats to major tournaments (NHC, BCBC, Pegasus World Cup) will be on the table…plus $75,000 in cash.
For the second straight day, there’s a low-ratio Pick & Pray to the Keeneland NHC/BCBC Challenge. ($352 entry fee; 1 in 10 win a $3,000 entry)
And for the second straight day, there are $59, 1 per 10, entry-only Pick & Prays to the Orleans Fall Classic and the Colonial Downs Handicapping Classic (CDHC). Note that this is your last chance to win an entry to the Colonial Downs contest, which takes place a week from Saturday, September 7.
Two more Labor Day features are slated for Monday at HorseTourneys.
One is a special NHC qualifier with two seats guaranteed and a special entry fee of $125. (That works out to a winning ratio of one per 85.)
The other is another Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio qualifier though, unlike Sunday’s, this one is a Pick & Pray.
There you have it. Four days. Twenty-five featured tourneys. It’s a weekend we consider a labor of love. We hope you can spend a part of it with us.