Three Monmouth “Pick Your Prize” Qualifiers and Several “All Optional Live” Tourneys Take Center Stage During Opening Weekend at Saratoga

For much of 2020, it seems that the “won’ts” have outnumbered the “wills”—as in we won’t have fans at Saratoga this year…and we won’t have racing at Del Mar this weekend. However, racing fans have been blessed with more “wills” than have fans of almost any other sport, and there’s plenty to look forward to this weekend at HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers as we present 26 featured events, including six on Saturday and Sunday that will be run in All Optional Live format. And did we mention that Saturday is Haskell Day at Monmouth?


Friday, of course, is always a Pick & Pray day around here—and we have six good ones.



On of the most popular events of the contest calendar is always Monmouth’s Pick Your Prize tournament where top finishers get to select their prize—be it an NHC seat, a BCBC entry, cash or some combination thereof. This year the lucrative contest will be held online at Xpressbet (and TVG for New Jersey residents) on July 25 (just nine days from now). Entries cost $2,000 but you can win one here for $118 in Friday’s 1-per-20 Pick & Pray—the first of three Pick Your Prize qualifiers offered on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (one each day).

There’s also a qualifier a day this weekend for the August 15-16 Spa & Surf Showdown, whose guaranteed purse is up to $191,600, and that figure will grow with each successive qualifier. Winners garner a $2,000 entry to the all-cash competition here at HorseTourneys. The buy-in each day for these qualifiers is $113. Winners (1-per-20) will play two full days of racing from Saratoga and Del Mar (we hope!). Friday’s format is Pick & Pray.

Of more immediate concern is Friday’s last-chance qualifier to Saturday’s Another Xpressbet NHC Super Qualifier (not pictured above). Winners (1-per-15) receive a paid-up $1,500 entry to the online contest in which one NHC seat will be awarded for every 15 entries attracted. Friday’s qualifier costs $116 to enter, and (similar to the Super Qualifier, itself) the winning ratio is 1-per-15.

Cash-game specialists will enjoy Friday’s $10,000 Guaranteed No Limit Pick & Pray. Entries to this one are $190 each. There is no limit as to how high the purse could go. It all depends on how many enter…but the pot won’t be less than $10,000 no matter what.

Over at HorsePlayers, there’s one qualifier on Friday for the NHC and one for the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge.



Friday’s $75 NHC Pick & Pray will have at least two coveted seats in the prize pool and NHC Tour points will also be awarded to those who end up in the top 10% of the field. It’s a Pick & Pray with a winning ratio of 1 in 143.

The Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier is a Low Ratio Pick & Pray. At least one $10,000 entry is certain in this $500 event. And that $500 entry fee gets you a lower-than-par winning ratio of 1-per-23.

Contest races are the 6th through 10th from Saratoga where it’s opening weekend; the 8th through 10th at Laurel; and the 2nd and 4th from Monmouth—10 races in all.

It’s a busy Saturday with the Haskell taking place at Monmouth, the Coaching Club American Oaks headlining the Saratoga card and eight featured events being offered here at HorseTourneys. Two of them will be run in the special All Optional Live format.



The way All Optional Live tourneys work is that players make 10 plays (mythical $2.00 win and place selections) from among 25 eligible contest races. So if you don’t care for a race, you can simply skip and move on to the next one.

Saturday’s $113 Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier is one of the events in which choosy players will find themselves right at home.

The other All Optional Live game on Saturday will be our $25,000 Guaranteed No Limit cash tourney. This one has a price tag of $260.

The 25 races from which “AOL” contestants will be scoping out their 10 plays are races 5-14 at Monmouth; the 3rd through 11th from Saratoga; and the 5th through 10th north of the border at Woodbine. Note the earlier-than-usual start time for the Saturday All Optional Live games—1:58 pm ET.

Here’s another special twist for Saturday—we will be offering an $8 Pick 6 Jackpot tourney this day (and one on Sunday as well). In this game, 70% of the net pool gets paid to top finishers via the normal, $2 win/place scoring method, while the other 30% gets directed to the Jackpot pool. You win (or share) the Jackpot if you pick the winners of all six races. This week, the Jackpot starts at $15,706.

The $8 Pick 6 Jackpot tourney races on Saturday are the 10th through 12th from Monmouth (including the Haskell) and the 8th through 10th (including the Coaching Club) at Saratoga. For what it’s worth, we will point out that there are only 48 entries across the six Jackpot races on Saturday. And four of them are stakes. So it’s not like your going to be hit with a bunch of 12-race mindbenders.

The rest of the Saturday features will be traditional, 12-race tourneys.

One of them is our $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks competition. It has an $1,150 buy-in and signups are limited to 20, though occasionally the field can exceed that figure slightly due to last-minute feeders. The purse for this Pick & Pray could greach $20,000 or more. Payouts go to just the top three finishers—on a 70%/20%/10% basis.

Another Pick & Pray is our Saturday qualifier to The BIG One. The grand prize includes an upfront cash payment of $500 plus a fully paid-up entry to the finals on September 19-20. The buy-in here is $395, and no more than 27 entries will be accepted. In The BIG One, the top 10 finishers get their choice of a seat to the NHC, BCBC or Pegasus World Cup plus they share in a cash pool that is already up to $108,672 (and counting). Finishers 11-15 get a choice of either $1,500 or a Horse Player World Series entry. The BIG One will be held here at HorseTourneys this year and the final field in September will be comprised of no more than 57 entries. So if you get to The BIG One, you have a much-higher-than-normal chance of winning a nice prize. That’s why it’s known as “the high-expectation tourney.”

Saturday also brings with it the second of three weekend opportunities for you to win a $2,000 entry to the Monmouth Pick Your Prize event. Winning a Pick Your Prize entry on Haskell Day may perhaps give you a little extra dose of confidence on July 25th since the Pick Your Prize competition will be contested solely on Monmouth races this year.

And let’s not forget Saturday’s qualifier to the Ruidoso Handicapping Challenge—an onsite tournament on August 29. One of every 10 entries, at $48 each, will win a $400 spot in the “Land of Enchantment” contest where two NHC seats will be guaranteed.

There are three featured tourneys at HorsePlayers on Saturday—two tied to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and one pegged to the NHC.



The “regular” Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier with one grand prize guaranteed carries an entry fee of $179. The format is Live, and the winning ratio is 1-per-65.

You can knock your BCBC winning ratio down to 1-per-11 by playing in Saturday’s Super Low Ratio Pick & Pray, which also guarantees at least one winner. Here, the entry fee is $1,000.

The NHC qualifier on Haskell/Coaching Club Day is a “regular,” $165 tourney with two spots guaranteed and a winning ratio of 1-per-65. It will be played in Live format.

The 12 contest races on Saturday for the non-All Optional Live games are: Races 9 through 14 at Monmouth (all stakes…five of them graded); the 8th and 9th (both graded stakes) at Woodbine; and 8th through 11th from the Spa.

Ten more featured tourneys are slated for Sunday. This time, four of them get the All Optional Live treatment.



One of the “AOLs” is our Sunday, $15,000 Guaranteed No Limit cash tourney. You can get in the door to this one for $195.

The third weekend qualifier to the Spa & Surf Showdown goes as an All Optional Live game once again on Sunday.

So does Sunday’s $395 guaranteed qualifier to The BIG One.

Also joining the All Optional Live parade on Sunday is the $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney (entry fee: $1,150…payoffs to the top three).

As usual—and as the name strongly suggests—Sunday’s $8 Pick 6 Jackpot tourney will be made up of six races. Sweep them all and you win the Jackpot. Check out our Twitter feed on Saturday night for an update on the Jackpot amount. It will depend on how many people take a shot at the Saturday Jackpot ($15,706)…and, of course, whether anyone hits it.

The other three features here (plus the two at HorsePlayers) will be run with a traditional 12-race schedule (races and tracks still to be determined).

One of the Sunday mandatory-selection games is weekend qualifier #3 to the Monmouth Pick Your Prize tournament. Winners earn a $2,000 entry for July 25th.

A brand-new qualifier is that for the August 8 Travers Challenge, which will be held over at Xpressbet. A $175 entry gets you a 1-per-20 at a $3,000 Travers Challenge entry in this 12-race Pick & Pray.

The other 12-race contest is our live-format, up-to-$5,000 Exacta tourney with $1,000 Guaranteed. This game requires entrants to pick a three-horse exacta box in each contest race. The entry fee is $125, and no payoff caps are in effect. If you hit a big exacta, your score gets credited with the full amount.

Hoping to qualify directly to the NHC or the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge? Then HorsePlayers is where you want to be on Sunday.



At least two NHC seats will definitely be won in Sunday’s $165 live-format qualifier. The winning ratio is 1-per-65.

One grand prize, a $10,000 entry, is assured in Sunday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio qualifier, which carries an entry fee of $500 and a winning ratio of 1-per-23. This is also a live-format tourney.

Enjoy all the racing at Saratoga, Monmouth and any other track you focus on this weekend. We’ll try to do our small part on this end to make the festivities even more enjoyable. Good luck.

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