Special $45,000-Guaranteed Florida Derby Day Cash Tourney and Double Qualifiers to Players Championship on Saturday and Sunday Highlight 29 Featured Events During First Weekend in April

In honor of Florida Derby Day, our featured Saturday cash tourney (which serves as that day’s HT Tour competition) will have its purse guarantee bumped up $15,000 to $45,000. The entry fee will remain at its customary $350, so the cost to play is the same…we just feel comfortable upping the guarantee on what figures to be a big day.

Meanwhile this weekend represents the final weekend in which to qualify for the middle leg of the 2023 Tourney Triple, the $350,000 Guaranteed Players Championship here on April 9-10. As usual, we’ll host an all-mandatory qualifier to the Players Championship on each day of the weekend. However, on Saturday and Sunday, we’ll also offer a second Players Championship qualifier in All Optional Live format—the same format in effect the Players Championship, itself.

In our Saturday and Sunday “AOL” qualifiers to the Players Championship, you get to make 10 plays from among 25 eligible races…so a higher degree of strategy will come into play—just like it will on April 9-10. Win or lose, some might find these two All Optional Live play-ins to be a good “tune-up” for what lies ahead in the $350,000 showdown.

Enough talk about tune-ups. Enough looking ahead! Our featured-tourney weekend begins on Friday with seven marquee games, and unless you’re an April fool, the only objective on Friday is to win and win now!

We mentioned that Saturday is Florida Derby Day—which means that it’s also the day of the Florida Derby Challenge (playable at Gulfstream, Santa Anita or Xpressbet). It also means that Friday is the last day to qualify for it. You can grab a $1,500 entry to the Florida Derby Challenge in Friday’s Last Chance, $118, 1-per-15 Pick & Pray.

Friday’s HT Tour event is our $15,000 Guaranteed No Limit Pick & Pray. You can give it a shot for an upfront investment of $190.

There’s “just” one Players Championship qualifier on Friday. It’s a Pick & Pray carrying a $156 entry fee…which gets you a 1-in-15 chance at a $2,000 seat for April 9-10.

Not only is this the final weekend to qualify for the Players Championship, it’s the last in which to land a cut-rate spot in the April 9 Santa Anita Derby Challenge. Entries in Friday’s Pick & Pray costs $156 each, and winners of the 1-per-15 Pick & Pray receive a $1,500 entry.

There are also daily qualifiers this weekend to the April 23 Keeneland Grade One Gamble and the June 4 Monmouth Pick Your Prize Challenge. Friday’s Grade One Gamble game is a $207, 1-per-20 Pick & Pray with winners garnering a $3,500 entry to the Keeneland battle.

The Monmouth Pick Your Prize Handicapping Challenge (offering, based on 200 entries, 18 spots to the 2023 NHC, four Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge berths and cash prizes of $65,000) costs you $2,000 to play if you simply buy into in on June 4. However, you can land an entry to it for $156 if you succeed in Friday’s 1-per-15 Pick & Pray.

As per usual, the Friday headliner at HorsePlayers is a $75 NHC qualifier.

It’s a Pick & Pray with two seats guaranteed and a winning ratio of 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.

Contest races for Friday are the 7th through 9th from Tampa; the 6th, 7th and 9th at Gulfstream; the 8th and 9th from Laurel; and the 7th and 8th at Aqueduct—10 races in all.

Even if your April Fool’s Day handicapping left you feeling as though the joke was on YOU, there’s plenty more to win on Saturday, and the prizes are no laughing matter.

As noted at the top, Saturday’s Florida Derby Day HT Tour event is having its purse guarantee elevated to $45,000. It’s still just the usual $350 to participate, though. The format this week is Live (and that’s the case for the majority of Saturday and Sunday features this week).

There are exceptions to every rule, though, as evidenced by Saturday’s 2-seats-guaranteed NHC qualifier, which will be a Pick & Pray. The entry fee is $165, and the  winning ratio is 1-per-65.

Always a Pick & Pray is the Saturday Big Bucks tourney (so as to alternate in format with the Sunday version). It’s an “up-to-$20,000” skirmish with a guaranteed pot of $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 slightly 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.

We switch to Live-format for Saturday’s $156 Players Championship qualifier. It is a 12-race, all-mandatory contest.

Remember, though, that there will also be a second $156 Players Championship qualifier on Saturday. It too has a $156 price tag and a 1-per-15 winning ratio, but here you make 10 plays from 25 available contest races.

The 25 eligible contest races will be the full, 14-race card at Gulfstream, which begins at 11:30 am ET.; races 4 through 9 at Aqueduct; and the first 5 races on the Santa Anita program. 

Due to the early start time, there will be no quick, Early-Bird feeder for this special Players Championship qualifier. And for you late risers on the West Coast, you may want to purchase your entries early (as in the night before) to avoid getting shut out. 

We’ll again have qualifiers (all in Live format on Saturday) to the Keeneland Grade One Gamble, the Monmouth Pick Your Prize Challenge and the Santa Anita Derby Challenge. The entry fees are $207, $156 and $118, respectively.

Another Live-format qualifier on Saturday is that for the Lone Star Million Betting Challenge on May 30. The winning ratio for NHC seats this day will be a generous 1-for-10, and there will be cash prizes up at stake as well. Saturday’s qualifier requires a commitment of $177, and 1 of every 20 will make off with a $2,500 seat, plus another $500 for travel to the suburban Dallas contest.

In Pick & Pray mode is Saturday’s $15 Jackpot Pick 4 tourney, which has a current carryover of $1,969. In our Pick 4 Jackpot games, going four-for-four means you win or share the Jackpot. (You don’t have to be the only winner.) 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.

The Jackpot Pick 4 races for Saturday are the 11th, 13th and 14th (all stakes) from Gulfstream; and race 5 at Santa Anita.

The lone feature on Saturday at HorsePlayers is a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier.

It’s a 1-per-65 qualifier with one $10,000 entry guaranteed to be awarded.. The format is Live and the entry fee is $179.

Saturday’s 12 contest races for all of our all-mandatory tourneys (other than the Pick 4 game, obviously) are the 5th, 7th and 9th from Aqueduct; the 9th through 14th (all stakes) on the Florida Derby Day card at Gulfstream; and the 1st, 4th and 5th from Santa Anita. Closing time is approximately 3:28 pm ET.

Eleven more features come your way on Sunday.

Sunday’s HT Tour event is our $20,000 Guaranteed, No Limit get-together. You can do battle in this Live-format game for $250.

As was the case on Saturday, there’s a Lone Star Park qualifier on Sunday…but this one is for their April 30 Spring Betting Challenge. One of every 15 in our Live-format play-in scoops up a $1,000 entry.

Our Big Bucks game (always a Live-format tussle on Sundays) is an up-to-$20,000 tilt with an entry fee of $1,150 and a purse guaranteed to be at least $7,500. Total entries are limited to 20, and payouts go only to the top three finishers.

For a third straight day, we’ll again offer Live-format opportunities to qualify for the $350,000 Guaranteed Players Championship (April 9-10), the April 9 Santa Anita Derby Challenge, the Keeneland Grade One Gamble (April 23) and the Monmouth Pick Your Prize Challenge (June 4).

There will also be that second Players Championship qualifier—the one offered in All Optional Live format—on Sunday. Again, contestants will be required to make 10 plays from 25 eligible races. The entry fee is the usual $156

Another $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney takes place on Sunday. The Jackpot amount will depend on how many played in the Saturday Pick 4 Jackpot tourney—and whether anyone hit it. Check our website or our Twitter feed starting on Saturday night for updates.

Direct qualifiers to both the NHC and the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge are the two big drawing cards to HorsePlayers on Sunday.

The Sunday NHC qualifier carries a $210 buy-in. Two spots are certain to be awarded, and the winning ratio works out to 1-in-50.

The Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge square-off is a $500 Low Ratio play-in, and it will also be contested in Live format mode. One $10,000 seat is guaranteed, and the winning ratio will be 1-per-23.

Good luck to everyone representing us on Saturday as HorseTourneys qualifiers in the Florida Derby Challenge. To them and everyone else, enjoy the Florida Derby, enjoy the Final Four and, most importantly, enjoy however many tourneys you elect to play in this weekend. Knock ‘em dead.

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