These are trying times with the Coronavirus pandemic forcing so many of us to work at home and just plain stay at home. Happily, due to its very nature, horse racing has (in most cases) been able to go on—which allows people like us to play at home. We’ll try and help make that part of it more fun for you with 20 featured weekend events that get started on Friday.
As usual, all of Friday’s marquee competitions will be Pick & Prays so that you can focus on more pressing things while the workweek is still going on. The big cash game of the day is our up-to-$15,000 Pick & Pray with $7,500 Guaranteed. You can get in for an entry fee of $190. Last Friday’s event, won by Michael Brown, closed with a pot of $14,297.
Friday represents your first of two weekend opportunities to qualify for the $150,000 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown on August 15-16. (The other is on Sunday.) Last week saw six contestants grab $2,000 entries to the online cash tourney, and you can join that group Friday in a 1-per-20, $113 Pick & Pray.
Qualifiers to the Monmouth Pick Your Prize tournament (June 1) shift to a Friday/Sunday schedule this weekend. The Friday play-in (entry fee: $148) offers winners a $2,000 entry plus $500 for travel to New Jersey where players will vie for cash, NHC spots and BCBC entries.
Two more Pick & Prays get the spotlight Friday at HorsePlayers.
Two berths to the 2021 NHC are guaranteed to be awarded in Friday’s $75 NHC Pick & Pray. The winning ratio is 1-per-143, and a good amount of NHC Tour Points will also be available to those who finish in the top 10 percent of the field.
The other Friday feature at HorsePlayers is a Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier with at least one $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry heading out the door. The winning ratio is 1 per 23, and the entry fee is $500.
Contest races for Friday cover three tracks, now that Aqueduct has had to cancel racing. The races are the 6th, 8th and 10th at Gulfstream; races 7 through 10 at Laurel; and the 4th, 5th and 7th from Santa Anita—10 races in all.
Five more big tourneys—all live-format affairs—come your way on Saturday.
The weekend’s biggest money game from a potential purse standpoint is Saturday’s up-to-$30,000 tourney with $10,000 Guaranteed. It’s $260 to play.
Another two guaranteed spots to the NHC will be on the line Saturday in a “regular”, $165 qualifier. The winning ratio is 1-per-65.
One-per-15 is the winning ratio in play for the Saturday qualifier to the April 18 Spring Betting Challenge at Lone Star Park. This one costs $80, and winners receive a $1,000 entry to the Grand Prairie, Texas event.
A brand new addition to the HorseTourneys lineup comes in the form of a $59 qualifier to the April 5 Santa Anita April Challenge. Winners (one per every 10 entries) earn a $500 entry—which can be played at the track (should spectators be allowed in at that point) or at Xpressbet.
The Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge takes center stage Saturday at HorsePlayers.
The main event is a “regular” qualifier with one $10,000 entry guaranteed, regardless of participation. The winning ratio is 1-per-65, and the entry fee is $179.
Saturday contest races have yet to be finalized. We are holding them back a bit so that we have more time react to late-breaking developments during this tumultuous period. However, you can expect to see perhaps four races each from Laurel, Gulfstream and Santa Anita on Saturday.
It’s a typically busy Sunday this weekend with 10 events in the featured spotlight.
Two up-to-$20,000 cash tourneys are on tap. One is our Big Bucks Pick & Pray for a $1,150 entry fee. Payouts go to just the top three on a 70%/20%/10% basis, and there is a maximum of 20 entrants allowed. The purse is guaranteed at a minimum of $10,000. Last week’s edition was sold out with 20 participants. Howard Welsh was the winner, pocketing $14,248.
The rest of the Sunday features will be run in live format, including our up-to-$20,000 game with a buy-in of $195. It carries a guaranteed pot of $7,500. Last week, Stephen Thompson won $8,542 in this event—from a total, final purse of $18,983.
Also available is an all-inclusive package to the 2020 The BIG One at Laurel. Fifteen contest seats and at least $75,000 in cash will be in the prize pool there on September 19-20—shared amongst a field that will number no more than 57. The Sunday Pick & Pray has an entry fee of $395 and entires are limited to 26. One prize is guaranteed. Winners receive a prize package that includes hotel, travel stipend, welcome dinner, top shelf amenities at Laurel and more. At The BIG One, the top 10 finishers will receive cash bonuses plus their choice of a seat to the NHC, BCBC or Pegasus World Cup. Finishers 11-15 get either $1,500 or a Horse Players World Series entry.
Weekend qualifier #2 to the $150,000 Spa & Surf Showdown takes place on Sunday. One of every 20 entries, at $113 per entry, will earn a $2,000 ticket to the Showdown this summer and play for a cash-only prize pool in an event that will involve only races from Saratoga (Spa) and Del Mar (Surf).
Weekend qualifier #2 (after Friday’s) to the Monmouth Pick Your Prize tournament is also slated for Sunday. At stake is a $2,000 entry plus $500 for travel to New Jersey for the popular event where cash, NHC spots and BCBC entries will be on the line.
A newcomer to the Sunday lineup is a qualifier to the April 4 Santa Anita Derby Challenge. Again, this Santa Anita Challenge will be played at Xpressbet…even if it can’t be held onsite at Santa Anita. It’s $177 to enter, and winners (one per each 20 entries) get a $3,000 entry for April 4th.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Sunday without an up-to-$5,000 Exacta tourney with $1,000 Guaranteed. These are always run as 12-race, live-format contests. Players pick a three-horse-exacta box in each of the contest races, and receive scores based on the returns of a $1.00 base play. No payout caps are in effect for these. So you’re always just one big hit away from the lead. Last week’s Exacta tourney closed with a pot of $2,296.
You can risk a little and win a lot on Sunday in our $8 Pick 6 Jackpot tourney. These are also always run in live-format, and 70% of the net pool goes to top finishers via the normal, $2 win/place scoring method, while the other 30% is directed to the Jackpot pool. The Jackpot remains unhit, and this week it’s up to $6,579. If more than one get all six races right, the Jackpot is shared. (We try not to load this up with six mindbenders. Last Sunday, the biggest field in this event contained just seven horses.)
Two live-format play-ins serve as the co-features at HorsePlayers on Sunday.
One is a Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier. The entry fee is $500, and at least one entrant will garner a $10,000 BCBC spot.
The other is a regular ($165) NHC qualifier with two seats guaranteed and a winning ratio of 1-per-65.
Enjoy all of the racing and tourney action this weekend. Note that there will be extensive live coverage throughout the weekend on both NBC Sports Network and Fox Sports 1. And live video streaming of all our contest races is available right here at HorseTourneys for all those with a paid entry. Good luck!