Increased $30,000 Guaranteed Saturday Cash Tourney and New Qualifiers to Kentucky Downs and Keeneland Help Usher in Opening Weekends at Saratoga and Del Mar.

It’s one of the most anticipated weekends of the year—the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday at both Saratoga and Del Mar. On top of that, it’s Haskell Weekend at Monmouth. To help make a big weekend that much bigger, we have 31 featured tourneys scheduled over the three days.

The first nine of those are on Friday.

Because Saturday is the Haskell—and also the Haskell Challenge—that means that Friday is your last day in which to win a $1,000 tournament that will be contested online at Xpressbet and, for New Jersey residents, at 4NJBets. We have a pair of 1-per-15, $79 Haskell Pick & Pray qualifiers slated for Saturday. One is a multi-track game (See race schedule below) and one a full-card game on just the opening-day Del Mar card.

We’ll also offer both a multi-track and a Del Mar-only Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier. (Note that the $300,000 Guaranteed Showdown is now less than a month away!) Both play-ins are $147 Pick & Prays with a winning ratio of 1-in-20. Winners grab a $2,500 entry into the third and final leg of the 2021 Tourney Triple series, which, as a bonus, offers sought-after tournament seats to the top performers across the three events (Flo-Cal Faceoff, Players Championship, Spa & Surf Showdown). If you finished in the top 100 in the first two legs, it means you earned points that could mean a seat to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, the Pegasus or The BIG One—depending on how you do in the Showdown on August 14-15.

You can also try to win a $500 seat on Friday to the NHC First Chance/Last Chance tournament at Bally’s on August 26—and, you guessed it, we have a pair of such qualifiers…one on just the opening-day Del Mar program and one of a multi-track nature. In both cases, one of every 10 entrants—at $59 per entry—will get a $500 place in the annual NHC Eve competition. Up for grabs on the 26th of next month will be cash plus a 2021 NHC seat for the following day…or, if you’re already double-qualified for 2021, a berth for 2022 instead.

We haven’t forgotten you cash gamers. There’s also our Friday $15,000 Guaranteed No-Limit Pick & Pray. You can be get in the starting gate for an entry fee of $190.

The NHC and the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge again share the spotlight this Friday at HorsePlayers. 

Friday’s $75 NHC Pick & Pray offers two guaranteed seats to the 2022 event plus NHC Tour Points if you finish in the top 10 percent of the field. The winning ratio is 1-per-143. Remember—you must be a 2021 NHC Tour member, prior to the start of the contest, in order to be eligible for an NHC package in this or any other NHC qualifier. If you’re not a member, you can become one quickly and easily at NTRA.com for a $50 membership fee. 

The other Friday feature at HorsePlayers is a $500 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio Pick & Pray. At least one $10,000 BCBC entry is guaranteed to be awarded.

Contest races for the Friday featured events are the 7th and 8th from Gulfstream; the 8th, 9th and 10th at Saratoga; and the 5th through 9th from Del Mar—10 races in all.

Another seven featured tourneys—six here and one at HorsePlayers—come your way on Saturday, and one of them is worth more than usual.

With Saratoga and Del Mar now in play, we’ve raised the stakes in our Saturday marquee cash event. The buy-in is now $350, and the guaranteed purse has been elevated to $30,000 (up from $25,000). There’s no limit as to how high the purse could grow, though it won’t be any less than $30,000 regardless of participation. Note that this Saturday’s $30,000 Guaranteed competition will be contested in Live format.

For even higher rollers, there’s our “up-to-$20,000” Big Bucks game. (The Saturday version of this is always run as a Pick & Pray.) The purse here is assured to be at least $10,000. Entries—at $1,150 each—are limited to 20 (unless we get a late arrival or two from last-minute Saturday feeders…in which case the pot will exceed $20,000). Payouts go just to the top three finishers with the winner collecting 70 percent of the net pool, the runner up getting 20 percent, and the third-place finisher picking up the remaining 10 percent.

Nicholas Nagy hit the $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney last Saturday for nearly $10,000. So the carryover for Saturday’s game was reset last Sunday and is currently at $547. In our Pick 4 Jackpot games (always run as Pick & Prays), going four-for-four means you win or share the Jackpot. (You don’t have to have the only perfect ticket.) Meanwhile, 70% of the daily 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 are limited to three per person.

Saturday’s Pick 4 Jackpot races are all graded stakes races: the 11th and 12th (the United Nations and Haskell) from Monmouth and the 9th and 10th (Sanford and Diana) from Saratoga.

On the play-in front, Saturday is your second consecutive day in which you can try to punch your ticket to the Spa & Surf Showdown and the Bally’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance tournament. Both are Live-format affairs. The qualifier to the $300,000 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown costs $147 and carries a 1-per-20 winning ratio, while the 1-per-10 Bally’s game will set you back $59. 

We’ll try again this Saturday to award a $500 entry to the brand new Exacta Extravaganza ($50,000 Guaranteed) here on September 11-12. This qualifier will be run in Live, Exacta Box format—just like the Exacta Extravaganza, itself. Winners of this three-horse-box, 1-per-10 play-in, will move on to make exacta box picks on the full cards from Kentucky Downs and Woodbine come the second weekend of September. 

A Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier is the featured tourney on Saturday at HorsePlayers.

It’s a $179 Live-format play-in. At least one $10,000 BCBC entry is guaranteed to be headed out the door, and the winning ratio is 1-per-65.

The 12 contest races for Saturday (and they figure to be extra good ones) are the 10th through 12th (all graded stakes) from Monmouth Park; the 8th through 11th (including a pair of graded stakes) at Saratoga; and races 6 through 10 (capped off by two more stakes) from Del Mar.

The Sunday menu is not only crowded as per usual (15 featured tourneys), it contains two new qualifiers this week.

Kentucky Downs will be offering three separate 2-day contests that encompass all six days of its 2021 meet in September. It’s called the Kentucky Downs King of the Turf Handicapping Challenge and projections call for it to award $100,000 in cash prizes plus 13 2022 NHC seats and three BCBC entries over the three contests/six racing days. All three events will be contested at Xpressbet and TVG. If you bought in to all three tournaments, it would cost you $2,600. In our Sunday qualifier, however, you can win your $2,600 in entry fees for a buy-in of $204 if you succeed in our 1-per-15, Live-format play-in.

The other new kid on the Sunday block needs little introduction. It’s the Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge on October 16th. Sunday’s $206 qualifier is a 1-per-20, Live-format get together, and winners receive a $3,500 entry to the Keeneland shindig, which can be played on track or at Xpressbet.

In the cash-game category on Sunday, there’s our $20,000 Guaranteed, No Limit tourney. An entry fee of $195 gets you in the door and the format is Live.

Also in Live format on Sunday is our Big Bucks game. It’s an up-to-$20,000 tourney with $7,500 Guaranteed and an entry fee of $1,150. Entries are limited to 20, and payouts go just to the top three finishers.

Our other Sunday featured cash tourney is the $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney (always a Pick & Pray). The jackpot amount will depend on how many took part in the Saturday Pick 4 Jackpot tourney—and whether anyone hit it. Check our website or our Twitter feed on Saturday night for updates.

Getting back to Sunday’s qualifiers, an entry fee of $236 will get you a seat at the table for our Del Mar Summer Challenge play-in (Live format). Winners earn a $4,000 entry for the live-bankroll, on-track tournament, which is right around the corner on July 31-August 1.

Also up for grabs on Sunday is a spot in the Canterbury Big 10 BCBC Handicapping Contest on Thursday, September 16.  A $177 entry fee purchases you a 1-per-20, Live-format chance at earning a $3,000 seat for the onsite/Xpressbet contest that offers cash, 10 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entries and two NHC spots.

We again offer two Spa & Surf Showdown qualifiers this Sunday. One is a “regular” $147 Live-format test with a winning ratio of 1-in-20. The other is a 1-per-8, $368 Low Ratio game. Both will be contested this week in Live format. The grand prize in each case is a $2,500 berth to the $300,000 Guaranteed Showdown here on August 14-15.

Sunday’s weekly guaranteed qualifier to The BIG One (to be contested here on September 18-19) is also a Live-format skirmish. The field for The BIG One will be no more than 57 (each playing just one entry), and there will be plenty of cash at stake plus 10 seats to the winners’ choice of the BCBC, NHC or Pegasus World Cup. Sunday’s qualifier guarantees one winner (who also gets a $500 bonus), and it carries an entry fee of $395. No more than 27 entries will be accepted in this play-in.

Sunday offers yet another $59 qualifier to the NHC First Chance/Last Chance tournament at Bally’s. It’s Live-format tourney. 

The same price will get you a 1-in-10 chance at a $500 entry to the Colonial Downs Handicapping Challenge, which takes place on Monday, July 26th. The Colonial Challenge can be played online at Xpressbet on the 26th.

Another Exacta Extravaganza qualifier is on tap for Sunday. It, too, has a barrier to entry of $59. Winners get a $500 entry to the $50,000 Guaranteed Exacta Box game here on September 11-12…and, as with the final, this qualifier will be played in Live, Exacta box mode.

Qualifiers for the NHC and the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge serve as the co-features at HorsePlayers on Sunday.

The NHC play-in is a $100 Live-format exam with two spots to the 2022 event in Vegas guaranteed. The winning ratio works out to 1-per-100, unless fewer than 200 sign up, in which case the ratio will be more favorable.

The Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier is a 1-per-23, guaranteed, Low Ratio Pick & Pray with an entry fee of $500. At least one player will earn a $10,000 BCBC entry in this one no matter how many or few sign up.

Good luck to the many HorseTourneys qualifiers competing in the Haskell Challenge and the Club Hawthorne OTB contests this weekend. And good luck to you too! Enjoy Saratoga and Del Mar. It will certainly be a welcome sight to see fans in the stands at those two showpiece racing venues. We’ll be back to recap all of this weekend’s featured-tourney action right here on Monday.

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