It’s another busy weekend at HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers as Gulfstream, Aqueduct and Santa Anita serve as the backdrop for a wide array of marquee games offering significant cash prizes and lots of seats to important tournaments held around the country (and in cyberspace).
As always, weekends around here are considered to begin on Friday.
A great way to begin any weekend is with extra money in your pocket, and our $15,000 Guaranteed No Limit Pick & Pray can make that happen. The cost to play is $190, and there’s no limit as to how many may enter or how high the purse can rise.
Two new tourneys join the lineup of qualifiers on Friday. One is to the Florida Derby Challenge at Xpressbet. On March 27th (Florida Derby Day), an entry will set you back $1,500. You can acquire one for $118, however, in Friday’s Pick & Pray, which has a winning ratio of 1 per 15.
Also scheduled on Florida Derby weekend are the Club Hawthorne OTB contests in Chicagoland. They are run as two separate tournaments—one on Friday the 27th, one on Sunday, the 28th—that call on players to put up starting bankrolls of $400 each day. Our first Club Hawthorne qualifier carries an entry fee of $94, and one of every 10 entrants earns $800 in entry fees—enough to cover you for both days out in the Windy City.
The purse for the April 2-3 Players Championship here at HorseTourneys is now up to $228,330, and it will grow with each successive qualifier. We’ll have one of those each day of the upcoming weekend. Friday’s entry fee (like Saturday’s and Sunday’s) is $156, and one of every 15 contestants will receive $2,000 seats. 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.
The weekend after the Players Championship is the April 10 Keeneland Grade One Gamble. Friday’s Keeneland qualifier will require an investment of $207, with one of every 20 players winning a $3,500 package ($3,000 entry fee plus $500 for travel). Those not wishing to participate in person at Keeneland may play the Gamble online at Xpressbet.
Lone Star Million Betting Championship qualifiers have been popular around here, and we have another one set for Friday. The Lone Star event takes place onsite on May 31 (Memorial Day). Winners of Friday’s $177 Pick & Pray (1 of every 20) get a $2,000 entry plus $500 for travel to the Dallas Metroplex.
There’s also a Friday Monmouth Pick Your Prize play-in . One of every 15 entries, at $156 each, takes home a $2,000 seat for the June 12th competition on the Saturday after the Belmont Stakes. It can be played on the 12th at Monmouth, at Xpressbet or—if you live in New Jersey—4NJBets.
At HorsePlayers, the Friday feature will send at least two skillful players to the 2022 NHC.
It’s a $75 NHC Pick & Pray with two spots guaranteed. The winning ratio is 1-per-143, and lately there have been enough contestants for a third grand prize to be awarded. This high number of players also tends to mean a generous amount of NHC Tour points will be headed out the door to those who finish in the top 10 percent of the field.
Contest races for the Friday features are the 5th through 10th at Gulfstream; the first two races from Santa Anita; and the 6th and 8th at Aqueduct—10 races in all.
We have five features at HorseTourneys on Saturday, including the weekend’s most lucrative contest.
Saturday’s $25,000 Guaranteed No Limit cash tourney will be run in live format this week. The entry fee is $260. Last week’s winner of this game, Eric Kurzhal, pocketed $15,531.
Saturday’s “up-to-$20,000” Big Bucks game is always a Pick & Pray. The purse is guaranteed to be at least $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 finishers with the winner taking 70 percent of the net pool, the runner up getting 20 percent, and the third-place finisher picking up the remaining 10 percent. The entry fee for this high-end, small-field test is $1,150.
Your second opportunity of the weekend to become part of the Players Championship field will take place in Live format on Saturday. One of every 15 entrants, at $156 each, will receive a $2,000 berth in the all-cash, two-day, All Optional Live tourney that will be held here on April 2-3. (If you win both the Players Championship and August’s Spa & Surf Showdwon, you get a $1 million bonus—unless your name is Alan Levitt. He won January’s Flo-Cal Faceoff, and he gets a $2 million bonus if he goes on to win both the “PC” and the “Spa & Surf.” If he captures one of the two, he gets a million.)
Saturday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier also costs $156 to play and also offers a $2,000 seat as a top prize. On June 12th, Pick Your Prize contestants compete for NHC seats, BCBC entries and cash for successfully playing the day’s Monmouth card.
The carryover into Saturday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot is up to $4,758. 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.
Saturday’s Pick 4 Jackpot races will be the 9th and 12th from Gulfstream and races 6 and 9 out at Santa Anita.
At HorsePlayers, the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge is the lone performer on the Saturday featured stage.
That headliner is a live-format, “regular” Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier with an entry fee of $179 and at least one $10,000 BCBC entry guaranteed to be awarded.
The 12 Saturday contest races are the 7th through 10th from Aqueduct; the 9th through 12th at Gulfstream; and the 6th through 9th from Santa Anita.
There are 11 featured tourneys on Sunday—nine here and two at HorsePlayers—and most of them are live-format games.
One of them is actually an All Optional Live game—Sunday’s Players Championship qualifier. We do this so that some of you can get more accustomed to the format in which the Players Championship, itself, will take place. 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 Friday and Saturday Players Championship qualifiers.
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.
Also “Live” is our $20,000 Guaranteed No Limit tourney. The entry fee is $195.
There’s also a live-format 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 entry per 20 will garner a $2,000 entry for May 31st contest, plus $500 for travel to Texas.
Rick Broth, Michael Somich, Ronald Tang and Howard Welsh have qualified to the 2021 The BIG One thus far. That means we still have 53 spots to fill. You can be number 5 on Sunday in our $395 live-format play-in. One package is guaranteed to be awarded regardless of participation, and Sunday’s entries are capped at 27. The first-place finisher also gets a $500 winner’s bonus. The runner up receives a $395 consolation prize.
Sunday is your second chance of the weekend (see Friday) to earn a spot in the Florida Derby Challenge ($118 entry fee, 1-per-15 winning ratio) and the Club Hawthorne OTB contests ($94, 1-per-10). Both are live-format qualifiers.
We switch to Pick & Pray format for Sunday’s Keeneland Grade One Gamble qualifier. One of every 20 entrants, at $207 per entry, will win a $3,500 package ($3,000 entry plus $500 for travel) for April 10th. The “Gamble” can be contested at either Keeneland or Xpressbet. So if you decide not to ship to Kentucky, keep the travel stipend with our compliments!
Also in Pick & Pray mode is Sunday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney, though we don’t know how much the jackpot will be just yet. Check our home page or our Twitter feed on Saturday night for the Jackpot carryover amount. It will depend on how many played in Saturday’s Pick 4 Jackpot tourney—and whether anyone hit it.
Both of the Sunday featured tourneys at HorsePlayers are Pick & Prays.
One is a “regular,” two-seats-guaranteed qualifier to the 2022 NHC. An entry fee of $165 gets you in the door.
The other is a low-ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier with at least one $10,000 BCBC entry guaranteed. It costs $500 to play, and the winning ratio is 1-per-23.
We hope you find one or two of the above offerings to your liking this weekend—and that you find the results to your liking too. Good luck!