Saturday and Sunday, HorseTourneys will host the second annual Players Championship, a two-day, All Optional Live competition in which contestants make 15 mythical $2.00 win-and-place selections each day from among 30 eligible contest races. The purse is guaranteed to be at least $350,000. Last year, in the inaugural edition of the Players Championship, Dan Wilde of Cedar Park, Tex., won $213,000 from an overall prize pool of over $555,000.
Buy-ins, at $2,000 each, will continue to be accepted until 12:30 pm ET (post time for the first race at Keeneland) on Saturday. In the meantime, qualifiers continue to be offered at HorseTourneys. There is a limit of two entries per person.
The Players Championship could mean a million-dollar payday for David Snyder of Mission Viejo, Calif. As the winner of this year’s $499,140 Flo-Cal Faceoff in January, Snyder made himself eligible for the seven-figure bonanza—payable should he win either the Players Championship or August’s Spa & Surf Showdown, the final leg of the 2022 Tourney Triple, with his designated entry.
As part of the festivities surrounding this weekend’s event, Emerald Downs track announcer Bill Downes and NHC Hall of Famer Chris Larmey will host a live webcast on the HorseTourneys’ YouTube page each day. Saturday’s webcast is slated to run from 6:00 pm ET until approximately 7:45 pm ET, the anticipated end of the first day of the tourney. Another webcast will follow on Sunday (time: TBD).
While the Players Championship is the clear headliner this weekend, it is but one of 25 featured events on a weekend schedule that gets underway on Friday.
Friday is your last opportunity in which to land a Players Championship seat in a $156 qualifier. We’ll have three such play-ins on Friday—one a 10-race, all-mandatory Pick & Pray, and the other two being 25-race All Optional Live game (same general format as the Players Championship) in which players must make 10 plays from those 25 available races. One of those All Optional Live qualifiers will be a Low Ratio, 1-per-5 play-in.
The 25 contest races for the “AOL” qualifier are the full, eight-race card from Aqueduct, races 2 through 10 on the opening day program at Keeneland; and the 2nd through 9th at Gulfstream.
Getting back to Friday’s 10-race, all-mandatory slate, there’s another “Last Chance” qualifier on tap—one for Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby Challenge, which can be played at Santa Anita, Gulfstream or Xpressbet. You can grab a $1,500 entry to it in this $118, 1-per-15 Pick & Pray.
Friday’s HT Tour event is our $15,000 Guaranteed No Limit Pick & Pray. You can take part for a fee of $190.
There are also daily qualifiers this weekend to both the April 23 Keeneland Grade One Gamble and the June 4 Monmouth Pick Your Prize Challenge. Friday’s Grade One Gamble play-in is a $207, 1-per-20 Pick & Pray with winners receiving a $3,500 entry to the Keeneland game.
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 $2,000 per entry if you buy into in on June 4. However, you can win an entry to it for $156 if you prosper in Friday’s 1-per-15 Pick & Pray.
Over at HorsePlayers, there is an NHC qualifier AND a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge play-in on Friday.
The NHC tourney is 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.
Meanwhile, the BCBC joins the Friday fray for the first time in a long time with a $500 Low Ratio Pick & Pray. The winning ratio is 1-per-23 and at least one $10,000 entry is guaranteed to be awarded regardless of participation levels.
Contest races for the 10-race mandatory tourneys on Friday are the 8th and 9th from Tampa; the 6th through 9th at Aqueduct; the 7th, 9th and 10th from Keeneland; and the 8th and 9th at Gulfstream.
Saturday, of course, is Day 1 of the Players Championship.
The 30 available races from which to make 10 Saturday plays in the $350,000 Guaranteed game are the full 11 race cards from Keeneland (where it’s Blue Grass Day) and Aqueduct (where it’s Wood Memorial Day)…plus races 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 from Santa Anita (where it’s Santa Anita Derby Day). Big day! Direct buy-ins, at $2,000 apiece, will be available right up until off-time for the opener at Keeneland.
And don’t forget about the Tourney Triple points series. Points will be assigned from 100 points for first down to 1 point for 100th place. At the end of the Spa & Surf Showdown (the final leg of the Tourney Triple series), the top points earner will get both a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seat and an NHC berth. The runner up gets a BCBC seat, and the 3rd-place points accumulator receives a spot in The BIG One in September. Obviously, David Snyder is the current leader with 100 points thanks to his Flo-Cal Faceoff heroics.
Note also that the Flo-Cal Faceoff serves as Saturday’s HT Tour event.
Another relevant cash game on Saturday is the Big Bucks tourney. It’s an “up-to-$20,000” Pick & Pray 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’ll again have Saturday Pick & Pray qualifiers to the Keeneland Grade One Gamble and the Monmouth Pick Your Prize Challenge. The entry fees are $207, and $156, respectively.
Also in Pick & Pray format is Saturday’s $15 Jackpot Pick 4 tourney, which has a current carryover of $2,401. 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 all graded stakes: the 8th and 9th from Keeneland; and the 10th and 11th at Aqueduct.
Once again, the NHC and the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge share the featured-tourney spotlight on Saturday at HorsePlayers.
The NHC co-feature is a 2-seats-guaranteed Pick & Pray. The entry fee is $165, and the winning ratio is 1-per-65.
Its BCBC counterpart is a 1-per-65 Pick & Pray with one $10,000 entry guaranteed to be headed out the door. The entry fee is $179.
Saturday’s contest races for the 12-race, all-mandatory games are the 7th through 11th from Keeneland; the 3rd, 9th and 10th at Santa Anita; and the 8th through 11th from Aqueduct. Closing time is approximately 3:55 pm ET.
On Sunday, we will determine a Players Championship winner—and also set sail on nine other featured events.
Sunday’s HT Tour event is our $20,000 Guaranteed, No Limit Pick & Pray. You can test your mettle for $250.
There will be a pair of Lone Star Park qualifier on Sunday—one for their April 30 Spring Betting Challenge with one in 15 entries, at $79 per entry, gaining a $1,000 seat. The other for the Lone Star Million Betting Challenge on May 30. The entry fee here is $177, and one of every 20 will earn a $2,500 seat, plus another $500 for travel. Both qualifiers are Pick & Prays.
Our Big Bucks game (always a Live-format affair 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 Pick & Pray opportunities to qualify for the the Keeneland Grade One Gamble (April 23) and the Monmouth Pick Your Prize Challenge (June 4).
Meanwhile, 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 again the order of the day at HorsePlayers on Sunday.
The Sunday NHC qualifier carries a $125 buy-in. Two spots are certain to be awarded, and the winning ratio works out to 1-in-85. Note that this is a Live-format tourney.
The Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge get-together is a $500 Low Ratio Pick & Pray. One $10,000 seat is guaranteed, and the winning ratio will be 1-per-23.
There you have it—one of our biggest weekends of the year. We hope that your performance leaves you feeling like a…Master. We have no green jackets to offer, but there will be plenty of “green” nonetheless. Good luck!