Purse Continues to Grow for the $369,000 Spa & Surf Showdown as Qualifiers Wind to a Close; Two-Day Mega Cash Event Highlights 24 Featured Tourneys This Weekend

It’s finally upon us—the 2020 Spa & Surf Showdown. At press time, the purse had reached $369,930—and with five qualifiers on Thursday, a bunch more on Friday and $2,000 buy-ins still open, a total pot of $400,000 certainly seems within reach.


When Paul Shurman won $109,000 in last year’s inaugural Showdown, the NHC Hall of Famer called it his richest victory ever. Relatively speaking, this year’s renewal will put last year’s to shame. Based on a purse projection of $400,000, this year’s winner would receive $144,000.

There will also be day-money bonuses paid at the Showdown. Ten percent of the net pool will be set aside for day money (effectively, 5% on Saturday and 5% on Sunday) that will go to each day’s top three performers.



The format of the Spa & Surf Showdown is simple. You make a mythical $2.00 win and place selection on one horse in each race at Saratoga (Spa) and Del Mar (Surf) on both Saturday and Sunday. The highest aggregate two-day total wins, with the customary payoff caps of 20-1 ($42.00) to win and 10-1 ($22.00) to place in effect. Takeout for the Spa & Surf Showdown is a player-friendly 11.5%.

Up-to-the-minute scoring updates will be available, as always, on the “Leaderboards” page of HorseTourneys.com. And frequent updates will also be available on the HorseTourneys Twitter feed (@HorseTourneys).

As big as the Spa & Surf Showdown is, it’s one of just 24 featured tourneys this weekend—the first seven of which take place on Friday.



Friday is your last day to qualify for the Spa & Surf Showdown. As of this writing there will be at least five qualifiers—a $113 multi-track play-in, a $113 full-card Saratoga qualifier, two $113 qualifiers on Saratoga races 3-10, two $290 Saratoga-centric Low Ratio (1 per 8) qualifiers, and at least one $113 Del Mar-only game. The smart-money says, though, that one or two more Showdown games might find their way onto the Friday schedule depending on demand!

It’s not a Spa & Surf qualifier per se…but if you win Friday’s $10,000 Guaranteed No Limit cash game, you’ll definitely be able to afford a $2,000 Showdown buy-in. Entries here are $190 each for this Pick & Pray.

We’ll be offering Friday and Sunday qualifiers for the August 22 Del Mar Pacific Classic Betting Challenge. One of every 20 entries, at $236 each, will earn a $4,000 entry for the 22nd. PLEASE NOTE: The Pacific Classic Betting Challenge will take place exclusively at TVG. If you do not have a TVG account—or cannot get one set up—by August 22, please don’t play in this qualifier. Refunds/credits are not possible.

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 award at least two seats, and NHC Tour points will also be awarded to those finishing in the top 10%. It’s a Pick & Pray with a winning ratio of 1 in 143.

The Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge play-in is a Low Ratio Pick & Pray. At least one $10,000 entry is assured in this $500 event. The winning ratio is 1-per-23.

Friday contest races for the multi-track events are the 5th through 10th from Saratoga; the 1st and 4th at Del Mar; and the 8th and 9th from Ellis—10 races in all.

Saturday is Spa & Surf Showdown day, of course…but there are many nice supporting features as well.



The opener at Saratoga on Saturday is at 1:10 pm ET. So consider that the deadline for purchasing a $2,000 entry to the Spa & Surf Showdown if you wish to do so. If not, there are plenty of exciting featured games at lower price points.

For example, we have a $10,000 Big Bucks Pick & Pray for $1,150. The field for this is capped at 20, meaning that the purse could swell to over $20,000. Payoffs go only to the top three on a 70%/20%/10% basis.

There’s also a $25,000 Guaranteed No Limit cash game with an entry fee of $260.

And for really low budgets, there’s our $8 Pick 6 Jackpot game. The carryover, awaiting the player or players who can go 6-for-6, is $18,698. Seventy percent of net entry fees (at $8 each) get paid out via traditional win/place scoring totals while 30% gets directed to the Jackpot. The Pick 6 Jackpot races this week are the 8th and 9th (both stakes) from Woodbine, the 8th and 9th (both stakes) from Saratoga and the 10th and 12th (sorry, only one stakes here) at Monmouth. Total betting interests, before scratches, across the six races: 44.

There are some great non-cash features on Saturday as well.

Our Saturday qualifier to The BIG One is a Pick & Pray. The grand prize includes $500 in cash plus an entry to the finals on September 19-20. (Just 13 online seats remain available.) The buy-in here is $395, and no more than 27 entries will be allowed in. 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 $123,914 (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 consist of no more than 57 entries (50 online qualifiers plus up to seven buy-ins). So if you get to The BIG One, you have a good chance of coming away with a nice prize.

Saturday’s qualifier to the Ruidoso Handicapping Challenge—an onsite tournament on August 29—is a live-format play-in. One of every 10 entries, at $48 each, will win a $400 spot in the New Mexico competition, where two NHC seats will be on the line.

Over at HorsePlayers, a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge twin bill is on the featured-tourney slate.



Saturday’s “regular” BCBC play-in has one grand prize guaranteed and carries an entry fee of $179. It’s a Pick & Pray with a winning ratio of 1-per-65.

The winning ratio is just 1-per-11 in Saturday’s live-format Super Low Ratio BCBC Pick & Pray. It also guarantees at least one winner. In this one, the entry fee is $1,000.

The 12 contest races on Saturday are: Races 7, 9, and 10 from Woodbine (all three of those are stakes); races 7 through 11 at the Spa; races 9 and 10 from Monmouth where the day’s feature is the Pegasus for 3-year-olds; and the 1st and 4th at Del Mar.

While Spa & Surfers are doing battle on Day 2 of the Showdown, you can start anew on Sunday in any of eight featured events.



A guaranteed berth is on the line in Sunday’s $395 qualifier to The BIG One. This year only, The BIG One will take place here (instead of at Laurel Park) on September 19-20. The field for The BIG One will number no more than 57—50 via online qualifiers plus up to seven buy-ins. Only 13 online berths remain available.

Weekend’ Chance #2 to qualify for the Del Mar Pacific Classic Betting Challenge takes place on Sunday. Again, you must have, or set up, a TVG account in order to play in the August 22 PCBC. This $236 qualifier is a 1-per-20, live-format game. Winners pick up a $4,000 PCBC entry.

Sunday’s cash games include our $15,000 Guaranteed No Limit cash tourney. This one will operate in live-format mode. The entry fee is $195.

Another live-format event is Sunday’s $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney. The pot could rise as high as $20,000 depending on participation, but it won’t be less than $7,500. The entry fee is $1,150, and payoffs are made strictly to the top three finishers.

The second of the weekend’s two $8 Pick 6 Jackpot tourneys takes place on Sunday. Check out our Twitter feed on Saturday night or home page on Sunday for an update on what the Jackpot will be. It will depend on how many people take a swing at the Travers Day Jackpot ($18,648)…and whether anyone hits it. The Pick 6 Jackpot competition is always a live-format game.

So is our up-to-$5,000 Exacta tourney with $1,000 Guaranteed. Players in this game select a three-horse exacta box in each race. The entry fee is $125, and no payoff caps are in effect.

There are Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and NHC qualifiers on Sunday at HorsePlayers.



One $10,000 entry is guaranteed 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. The format is Live.

Pick & Pray is the format in Sunday’s $165 “regular” NHC qualifier. The winning ratio is 1-in-65, and two spots are guaranteed regardless of participation.

Good luck to all of our Spa & Surf participants—and players in all of our other weekend games big and small. We’ll be back here to recap things on Monday.

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