Alan Levitt has a whole lot to play for this Friday and Saturday.
After capturing January’s Flo-Cal Faceoff, the Baltimore doctor not only won $205,000, he earned a shot at at a $1 million bonus should he win either this Friday and Saturday’s Players Championship or August’s Spa & Surf Showdown with his designated entry. A clean sweep of these three Tourney Triple races would mean total bonuses of $2 million. No wonder this man is smiling.
Of course, everyone remains eligible for a $1 million bonus in the event of a Players Championship/Spa & Surf double. And seats to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, the Pegasus World Cup Betting Challenge and The BIG One are also on the line based on a points formula rewarding overall performance during the 2021 Tourney Triple series.
As to the matter at hand, the Players Championship field—set to do battle on Friday and Saturday, April 2-3—now numbers 204, making for a current purse total of $361,080.
Those numbers will continue to rise pending the results of Thursday qualifiers (including single-track play-ins late in the day on the Sam Houston and Charles Town cards) and $2,000 buy-ins, which will be accepted right up until the start of the first Players Championship race on Friday at 2:12 pm ET.
Once the gates open on the Players Championship, entrants will make 15 mythical $2 win and place selections from among 30 eligible contest races. Whoever has the highest cumulative total at the end of the two days wins…a lot. Day money prizes will also be paid to the top three single-day scorers on Day 1 and Day 2.
Friday is not just the start of the big-money Players Championship—it’s also the start of the 2021 Keeneland Spring Meet. As such, there will be loads of Keeneland-only tourneys on Friday (and Saturday and most other days too) for your handicapping enjoyment.
While the Players Championship is the primary focus this weekend, we also have a robust featured schedule on Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday. Here’s how Friday’s shapes up.
As noted earlier, the Players Championship has a start time of 2:12 pm ET and offers races 3 through 10 at Keeneland, races 3 through 8 at Aqueduct and the full 8-race cards from Santa Anita and Golden Gate on its 30-race menu. Again, players can only make selections on 15 of the 30 races.
Friday’s 10-race featured Pick & Prays (all races mandatory) are topped by a $10,000 Guaranteed No Limit cash tourney. This could be a good opportunity to pounce while others are preoccupied with the Players Championship. The entry fee is $190.
You can also win a spot on Friday for the April 10 Keeneland Grade One Gamble. Friday’s qualifier carries an entry fee of $207, with one of every 20 players grabbing a $3,500 package ($3,000 entry fee plus $500 for travel). Those not wishing to participate in person at Keeneland can play the Gamble online at Xpressbet.
There’s also a Friday Monmouth Pick Your Prize play-in. One of every 15 entries, at $156 per entry, earns 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.
Also on the docket is a Last Chance qualifier to Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby Challenge at Xpressbet. One of every 15 entries, at $118 per entry, earns a $1,500 entry for the following day’s competition at Xpressbet.
It will definitely be a good Friday if you win either of the two features at HorsePlayers that day.
One of them is a $75 NHC Pick & Pray with two seats guaranteed. The winning ratio is 1-per-143, and if we reach 429 entrants, we’ll add in a a third grand prize. Big turnouts in these $75 NHC games mean a heaping helping of NHC Tour points get doled out to the top 10 percent of the field.
The other Friday HorsePlayers feature is a $500 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Pick & Pray. At least one $10,000 BCBC entry is definitely headed out the door in this one
Contest races for the (non Players Championship) Friday features are the 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th from Santa Anita; the 6th and 8th at Aqueduct; and the 7th through 10th on the opening day card at Keeneland—10 races in all.
On Saturday, we’ll crown a six-figure winner in the Players Championship. It also happens to be a very big day of racing with the Santa Anita Derby, the Blue Grass Stakes and the Wood Memorial just three of the many important stakes races taking place.
Saturday’s marquee cash tourney carries a guarantee of $20,000, but there’s no limit as to how high the purse can grow. The entry fee for this Pick & Pray is $260.
Also in Pick & Pray mode is Saturday’s “up-to-$20,000” Big Bucks game. 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 pocketing the remaining 10 percent. The entry fee for this high-end, short-field game is $1,150.
Saturday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier requires an up-front investment of $156 and offers a back-end grand prize of a $2,000 entry to the June 12th tournament where you can battle for NHC seats, BCBC entries and cash. The format here on Saturday is Pick & Pray.
Just about one week remains in which to qualify for the April 10th Keeneland Grade One Gamble. An entry fee of $207 gets you a 1-in-20 chance at winning a $3,500 package to Central Kentucky…or Xpressbet, if you prefer.
The $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney starts out on Saturday with a carryover of $459. In our Pick 4 Jackpot games, if you go four-for-four, you win or share the Jackpot. (You don’t have to have the only perfect ticket.) 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 tourneys—always run as Pick & Prays—are limited to three per person.
Saturday’s Pick 4 Jackpot races will be the 10th at Aqueduct (Wood Memorial), the 10th and 11th from Keeneland (Grade I Madison Stakes followed by the Blue Grass) and the 8th (Santa Anita Derby) at The Great Race Place.
There are again twin features at HorsePlayers on Saturday.
Two seats to Vegas are at stake in Saturday’s live-format NHC play-in. The barrier to entry is $165.
One seat to the 2021 event is guaranteed in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier. This one costs $179 to play, and it’s a Pick & Pray.
The 12 Saturday contest races are the 8th through 10th (all graded stakes) from Aqueduct; the 8th through 11th (all graded stakes) at Keeneland; and the 8th through 12th from Santa Anita. (Somehow one non-stakes slipped into the mix there. HorseTourneys apologizes for any inconvenience.)
On Easter Sunday we offer a colorful assortment of seven featured tourneys—six here and one at HorsePlayers.
Your basket will be full if you win Sunday’s $20,000 Guaranteed No Limit cash game. The entry fee is $195, and it’s a Pick & Pray this week.
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 just to the top three.
Sunday is the day for your once-a-week chance to qualify for The BIG One. Sunday’s play-in is a $395 Pick & Pray, and one package is certain to be awarded regardless of participation. Don’t delay in signing up, though. This qualifier will be capped at 27 entries. The first-place finisher on Sunday also gets a $500 winner’s bonus. The runner up receives a $395 consolation prize. Keep in mind that when The BIG One is contested in September, the field will be no more than 57, with each entrant playing just one entry in his or quest for major-tournament seats and lots of cash.
You can also win a spot on Sunday for the Lone Star Million Betting Challenge. The Lone Star Challenge is the climax 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 pick up a $2,000 entry for May 31st (Memorial Day) contest, plus $500 for travel to Texas.
Sunday is your third of three weekend chances to earn a Pick & Pray place in the Keeneland Grade One Gamble. One of every 20 entrants, at $207 per entry, will pick up a $3,500 package ($3,000 entry plus $500 for travel) for April 10th. The Grade One Gamble can be played at either Keeneland or Xpressbet. So if you don’t wish to go to Lexington for the Gamble, you can play from home and keep the travel stipend.
We’ll have another $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney (always a Pick & Pray) on Sunday. We don’t know what the jackpot will be as yet. (It will depend on how many played in Saturday’s Pick 4 Jackpot tourney—and whether anyone hit it.) Check our home page or our Twitter feed on Saturday night for updates.
The Sunday featured tourney at HorsePlayers is a live-format, low-ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier.
This is an especially appropriate game for an Easter Sunday given the Breeders’ Cup’s purple colors and all. It’s $500 to play, and at least one $10,000 entry is guaranteed to be awarded.
We wish a happy holiday weekend to you and your family members, and the best of luck in all of your contest endeavors, big or small. As will soon be heard in many spots around the country, “Play Ball!”