Religious handicappers should have an edge this weekend with the majority of our featured events taking place in Pick & Pray format. (New converts to the prayerful life are always welcome at our house of worship.) By far, the most popular service will take place on Saturday, when there will be five chosen ones in the NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers. Even better, no collection basket will be circulated. That’s one reason the pews will be crowded that day. Of course, our weekend featured-tourney offerings are plentiful enough to accommodate any schedule. They begin on Friday. So without any further ado, let us pray.
Friday is your last chance to earn a $3,000 entry to the 1/ST Ultimate Betting Challenge at Xpressbet. This is for good reason—the Ultimate Betting Challenge takes place the following day. The entry fee is $236 for this Pick & Pray, and one of every 15 will have a very fun Saturday.
We no longer have to refer to the April 2-3 Players Championship as the $200,000 Guaranteed Players Championship…because the purse has already broken through its guarantee. It’s currently at $201,780, and it will grow with each successive qualifier. We’ll have one each day of the weekend, starting on Friday. The cost to play is $156, and one of every 15 contestants will receive $2,000 entries. Along with January’s Flo-Cal Face-off and this August’s Spa & Surf Showdown, the Players Championship is part of the 2021 Tourney Triple…which offers the top three overall performers seats to such events as the NHC (2022), the BCBC and The BIG One.
There’s also a Keeneland Grade One Gamble qualifier on Friday. The barrier to entry is $207, and one of every 20 participants receives a $3,500 package ($3,000 entry fee plus $500 for travel) to compete in the April 10th event. Those not wishing to participate at Keeneland may play online at Xpressbet.
A Lone Star Million Betting Championship Pick & Pray is again part of the Friday schedule. The Texas tournament takes place onsite on May 31 (Memorial Day). Winners of our $177 Pick & Pray (1 of every 20) get a $2,000 entry plus $500 for travel to suburban Dallas.
There’s also a Friday Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier. One of every 15 entries, at $156 per entry, earns a $2,000 seat for the June 12th test on the Saturday after the Belmont Stakes.
For cash-game specialists, there’s our $15,000 Guaranteed No Limit Pick & Pray. The entry fee is $190, and there’s no limit as to how many may enter or how high the purse can grow.
At HorsePlayers, the Friday feature is sure to attract a nice flock.
It’s a $75 NHC Pick & Pray with two spots guaranteed. The winning ratio is 1-per-143, and the high volume of players typically means a healthy helping of NHC Tour points to those who finish in the top 10 percent of the field.
Contest races for the Friday features are the 7th through 9th at Tampa Bay Downs; the the 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th from Gulfstream; and the 6th through 8th at Aqueduct—10 races in all.
We lead our Saturday preview with HorsePlayers, because one of their two features is a game that nearly all of you should be playing.
It’s the first of the year’s free NHC qualifiers—available to all those with a paid-up 2021 NHC Tour membership. If you’re not a member, you can become one quickly and easily at NTRA.com. NHC berths for January 2022 go to the top five finishers and potentially valuable NHC Tour points go to the top 100 scorers. Note that this will be a special 15-race Pick & Pray, and those 15 races will be:
Races 6 through 9 (all stakes) at Aqueduct, where it will be Gotham Day; races 8 and 11 from Tampa Bay Downs, where it’s Tampa Bay Derby Day; races 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 (four of them stakes) at Santa Anita, where Saturday is “Big ‘Cap” Day; and races 9 and 11 (both stakes) from Gulfstream.
The other Saturday feature at HorsePlayers is a $179, “regular” Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Pick & Pray with at least one $10,000 BCBC entry guaranteed to be awarded.
Back here at HorseTourneys, there are five more Pick & Pray featured events on Saturday.
The richest game of the week is Saturday’s $25,000 Guaranteed No Limit cash tourney. The entry fee is $260.
Saturday’s “up-to-$20,000” Big Bucks game is always a Pick & Pray. The purse is guaranteed to be a minimum of $10,000, and entries are limited to 20 (unless we get a late arrival or two from last-minute Saturday feeders). Payoffs go only to the top three scorers with the winner collecting 70 percent of the net pool, the runner up getting 20 percent, and the third-place finisher earning the remaining 10 percent. The entry fee for this high-end, small-field competition is $1,150.
We’ll also have a Players Championship Pick & Pray—with one of every 15 entrants, at $156 per entry, receiving a $2,000 berth in the all-cash, two-day, All Optional Live tourney that will be held here on April 2-3.
Saturday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier also costs $156 to play and offers a $2,000 seat as a reward. On June 12th, Pick Your Prize contestants compete for NHC seats, BCBC entries and cash, and they can play from either Monmouth, Xpressbet or (if you live in New Jersey) 4NJBets.
The carryover into Saturday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot is up to $3,949. In our Pick 4 Jackpot tourneys, if you go four-for-four, you win or share the Jackpot. Meanwhile, 70% of the net pool gets paid out to players via the traditional $2.00 win/place scoring system. (The other 30% goes to the Jackpot pool.) Entries in these Jackpot Pick 4 games—always run as Pick & Prays—are limited to three per person.
The 12 Saturday contest races for our non-NHC features are the 8th and 11th from Tampa; the 9th and 11th at Gulfstream; the 8th and 9th at Aqueduct; and the 5th through 10th from Santa Anita.
There are nine featured tourneys on Sunday—eight here and one at HorsePlayers—and this time there are a few live-format tourneys sprinkled into the mix.
One of them is actually an All Optional Live game—Sunday’s Players Championship qualifier. This is the same format in which the Players Championship, itself, will be contested. This Sunday, you make 10 plays from among 25 races. However, the entry fee ($156) and the winning ratio (1 per 15) remain the same as in our other Players Championship qualifiers.
Another live-format battle on Sunday is the day’s NHC qualifier. It’s a $165 game with two spots certain.
The Sunday Big Bucks tourney is always a live-format game. It has a guarantee of $7,500, and the final pot could reach $20,000 if we reach the maximum 20 entrants. The entry fee is $1,150, and prizes go strictly to the first three finishers.
We’re back to Pick & Pray for the rest of the Sunday HorseTourneys featured slate—including our $20,000 Guaranteed No Limit event. The entry fee is $195.
There’s also a Pick & Pray play-in to the Lone Star Million Betting Challenge. The Lone Star Challenge is the high point of three consecutive days of contest action in Grand Prairie, Tex. Sunday’s qualifier carries an entry fee of $177, and one lof every 20 entries will pick up a $2,000 entry for May 31st contest, plus $500 for travel to Lone Star.
Rick Broth, Michael Somich and Ronald Tang have qualified to the 2021 The BIG One thus far. Three down and 54 to go! You can be number 4 on Sunday in our $395 Pick & Pray. One package is guaranteed to be awarded regardless of participation, and entries are capped at 27. The first-place finisher also gets a $500 winner’s bonus. The runner up gets a consolation prize of $395.
Your second chance of the weekend to pick up a $3,500 package ($3,000 entry plus $500 for travel) to the Keeneland Grade One Gamble is offered on Sunday. One of every 20 entrants in this Pick & Pray, at $207 per entry, will gain his or her spot in the live-bankroll event on April 10th. The “Gamble” can be contested at either Keeneland or Xpressbet.
We’ll be hosting another $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney on Sunday, though we don’t know how much the jackpot will be as of yet. Check our home page or our Twitter feed on Saturday night for the Jackpot carryover amount. It will depend on how many took part in Saturday’s Pick 4 Jackpot tourney—and whether anyone hit it. This, like all our Pick 4 Jackpot games, will be a Pick & Pray.
The Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge has the spotlight to itself on Sunday at HorsePlayers.
It’s a live-format, low-ratio qualifier with at least one $10,000 BCBC entry guaranteed. It costs $500 to enter, and the winning ratio is 1-per-23.
Enjoy all of this weekend’s contest action, as well as the three Derby preps (Gotham, San Felipe and Tampa Bay Derby) on Saturday. And may all (or at least many) of your prayers be answered.