About McKay

President and Founder of HorseTourneys

Live Chat Debuts at HorseTourneys – With Caveats

Does Live Chat among players belong on a site like HorseTourneys?

It’s a question that we’ve grappled with internally off and on for the better part of… well, only the last decade.

The case for allowing Live Chat is that it adds to the entertainment value of the product, creating a higher level of engagement and fostering an even greater sense of community among our player base.  Anyone who has played tournaments at on-site, brick-and-mortar locations has witnessed the kind of camaraderie that typically comes along with a major tournament event.  While online chat could never replicate that experience, it would at least bring some of it to online play.

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Live Chat Rules

Participating in Live Chat at HorseTourneys is a privilege.  This privilege is reserved for those that are able to comport themselves appropriately. 

Please note that Live Chat cannot be used for support requests.  Players must submit a Customer Support form if needing assistance. 

The following are most (but not all) of the kinds of conduct that will not be tolerated:

  • Use of profane/vulgar language

Don’t curse, and don’t say vulgar or disgusting things.  “Damn” is OK.  If you think it’s going to be a problem otherwise, don’t say it.

  • Ad Hominem/Personal Attacks

Don’t attack other players personally.

  • Attacks on HorseTourneys/HorsePlayers Management or that of our partners

Don’t attack HorseTourneys/HorsePlayers management, whether as a whole or individual members.  Don’t attack our business partners like the NTRA, Xpressbet, Breeders’ Cup or our partner racetrack management.

  • Inflammatory language regarding jockeys, trainers, owners, or others involved in racing itself

Constructive criticism is fine.  Stating that you wish a jockey would attract a lethal case of Covid and die is not. 

  • Conspiracy Theories

Don’t espouse ridiculous conspiracy theories, especially as it relates to the operation of HorseTourneys/HorsePlayers.

  • Incessant Posting

Don’t post incessantly, unless you truly have something constructive to say.  Don’t yap simply to see your own voice. 

  • Touting/Advertising

Don’t tout services (such as selling picks, podcasts, etc.) and don’t shill or advertise for other services, particularly if in competition with HorseTourneys/HorsePlayers.

Chat activity may be monitored, both in real time and retroactively.  Moreover, players will have the ability to report unacceptable conduct via the Customer Support Form.

Any players discovered to have violated the Chat rules, depending on the severity, will either receive a warning, or lose the privilege to participate in Live Chat.  In some cases, HorseTourneys/HorsePlayers accounts may be revoked outright.

Please be respectful, and enjoy this feature.

HorsePlayers/HorseTourneys Login Information

If you already have an account at either HorseTourneys or HorsePlayers, that means that you already have an account for both sites.

HorsePlayers.com is a “white label” of HorseTourneys.com, which means that both websites share the same administrative backend. This means that your single account will work at both HorseTourneys.com and HorsePlayers.com. Furthermore, your account balance is shared among both sites. You can deposit into either site, and the funds can then be used on either one.

Please note that players are permitted only one account across both sites. If you think you signed up a new account in error, please reach out to us at support@horsetourneys.com and we’ll gladly take care of the situation for you.

So just remember, you use your same login email address and password at both HorseTourneys.com and HorsePlayers.com. Email us with any questions.

“Winter Rules” Now In Effect

This blog is sent out annually as a reminder of some tweaks we here at HorseTourneys employ to try and mitigate the effects of winter weather on scheduling.  For beginners and veteran tourney players alike, it’s always a good idea for a quick refresher:

As we roll into the winter months, it’s a good idea that we explain our approach to scheduling, which we tweak this time of year.  We’ve employed this approach every year, and it just bears a quick reminder every November or so as chilly temperatures descend across the land.

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HorseTourneys To Hold “Tourney Triple” Series In 2021 – Includes Major Bonuses

HorseTourneys Announces New “Tourney Triple” Series for 2021, Including $2 Million Bonus for a Series Sweep and a $1 Million Bonus for Capturing Two Legs – plus Prizes for the Top Three Performers

HorseTourneys will unveil a special three-tourney series in 2021, the Tourney Triple, that combines two of the year’s most popular online events with a brand new competition in April—and that offers bonus prizes** for top finishers, including a $2 million bonus should a player sweep the three events and a $1 million bonus should someone win two of the three series legs.

The Tourney Triple will begin with the January 9-10 Flo-Cal Faceoff, a Saturday-Sunday, $1,500 buy-in tourney in which players make mythical selections on each race from the days’ full cards at Gulfstream and Santa Anita. Earlier this year, Thomas Blosser of Cornville, Arizona, won $88,000 in the inaugural edition of the Flo-Cal Faceoff, which had a total purse of $225,000. Feeders and qualifiers for the Flo-Cal Faceoff are now available.

The series will continue in April with the new HorseTourneys Players Championship. Scheduled for April 2-3, the Players Championship will require contestants to make 15 mythical win-and-place selections each day from approximately 30 available races spread across a variety of the weekend’s racetracks. The entry fee for the Players Championship is expected to be $2,000.

The Tourney Triple will conclude on August 14-15 with the highly popular Spa & Surf Showdown, a two-day, full-card tourney featuring racing from two of America’s showpiece racing venues, Saratoga and Del Mar. The most recent edition of the Showdown last month featured a record online purse of $644,000 and was won by Scott Fiedler of Babylon, N.Y. Fiedler earned a winner’s share of $232,112 plus an additional $16,000 in day-bonus money. In 2019, NHC Hall of Fame Paul Shurman of Dix Hills, N.Y., won $109,000 in the first Spa & Surf Showdown. The entry fee for the 2021 Spa & Surf Showdown is expected to be $2,500.

(Dates for the Tourney Triple competitions are tentative and subject to change.)

In addition to the $1 Million bonus for winning two of three, and the $2 million bonus for a sweep, there will be bonus prizes awarded to the top three overall performers in the Tourney Triple series—based on a points formula that will award 100 points for a first-place finish, 99 points for second, down to 1 point for a 100th-place finish. The overall points leader at the end of the Tourney Triple will receive a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) entry and a National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) entry (or $5,000 in lieu of an NHC seat if the winner is already double-qualified to the NHC). The person with the second-most points will earn a $10,000 BCBC entry, and the third-place points finisher will receive an entry to the 2021 edition of The BIG One at Laurel Park plus $500 for travel.

“In a relatively short period of time, players have made the Flo-Cal Faceoff and Spa & Surf Showdown two of the most important events on the contest calendar,” said McKay Smith, President of HorseTourneys. “By adding the Players Championship and tying all three together with an attractive bonus program, we believe that we will be even better positioned to recognize and reward the people who are truly the lifeblood of the racing industry—the players. We also want to thank our racetrack partners including those at The Stronach Group, The New York Racing Association, Inc., Keeneland and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club for their ongoing support and cooperation in making exciting tourneys like these available to racing fans.”

Questions? Email HorseTourneys at support@horsetourneys.com.

**Bonus Info:

For the $ 2 Million Prize:
(a) a forty (40) year annuity that pays out $50,000 per year for forty (40) years, OR
(b) a lump sum cash settlement of $1,200,000

For the $1 Million Prize:
(a) a forty (40) year annuity that pays out $25,000 per year for forty (40) years, OR
(b) a lump sum cash settlement of $600,000.

Points-Based Scoring Parameters Changed Effective Thursday, 4/9


Beginning Thursday, April 9, new scoring parameters for the recently-introduced POINTS-BASED scoring will be in place.

Why are we making this change?

After two months of observation, it has become clear to us that the previous parameters overvalued short-priced horses to a degree that we felt was unacceptable. That we would make changes was expected, as we had assumed that some tweaking of the parameters would be necessary. We wanted a good look at the data and trends before making any changes.

While the intent of this format still remains in rewarding consistency, we felt bonus points needed to be increased, so that players picking horses other than the most likely winners were rewarded.

It’s important to point out that the ROI component of the points-based system is still far from that of the standard $2 Win/Place format, so players can still be assured that consistency in selecting winners will still be the primary factor. But, we believe that winners will now exhibit a greater mix of prices. The new parameters are as follows:

WIN: 100 points
PLACE: 50 points
SHOW: 30 points

WIN BONUS POINTS (based on final WIN payout):
any up to $4.00: 0 points
$4.01 to $6.00: 0 points
$6.01 to $8.00: 24 points
$8.01 to $10.00: 36 points
$10.01 to $14.00: 48 points
$14.01 to $20.00: 60 points
$20.01 to $32.00: 84 points
$32.01 and up: 96 points

PLACE BONUS POINTS (based on final PLACE payout):
any to $3.00: 0 points
$3.01 to $4.00: 9 points
$4.01 to $5.00: 12 points
$5.01 to $7.00: 18 points
$7.01 to $9.00: 24 points
$9.01 to $12.00: 30 points
$12.01 to $15.00: 42 points
$15.01 and up: 48 points

Exacta Box, All-Optional Participation Reveals Insights Into Player Behavior

Are people inherently lazy?

There’s a long-standing tradition in psychology characterizing humans as “cognitive misers.”  Misers, in the sense that all things being equal, humans will tend to avoid tasks that require elevated cognitive effort.  In other words, zillions of differentiating factors aside, we all tend to try and avoid tasks that require complex, arduous brain thinking for other tasks that might not be so intellectually demanding.

Humans also value their effort.  All day and everyday, our brains are masterfully calculating the “cost” of spending that brainpower vis-a-vis the reward that we might stand to obtain as a result.  The greater the reward, the harder our brains are willing to work.

All of this sounds obvious, right?  What in the world are you getting at, Smith?

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“Winter Rules” Now In Effect


This blog is sent out annually as a reminder of some tweaks we here at HorseTourneys employ to try and mitigate the effects of winter weather on scheduling.  For beginners and veteran tourney players alike, it’s always a good idea for a quick refresher:

As we roll into the winter months, it’s a good idea that we explain our approach to scheduling, which we tweak this time of year.  We’ve employed this approach every year, and it just bears a quick reminder every November or so as chilly temperatures descend across the land.

As is stated in our Support FAQ section, the race schedule for multi-track tournaments–by which we mean our Featured schedules on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays–are traditionally posted 48-hours in advance of the date of the tournament.  So for instance, the race schedule for the Featured Saturday tournaments is typically posted on Thursday afternoon.

Snow, ice and high winds will no doubt descend on some of the racetracks we like to use, be it Aqueduct in New York, Turfway in Kentucky or even some of our friends as far south as Louisiana.  We hate cancellations as much as you do and always do our best to avoid them.

Therefore, essentially through March, we’ll post race schedules a day later – or approximately 24 hours prior to the contest.  So a race schedule for a Featured Saturday will now be posted on Friday afternoon.

We realize that players like to have access to races as far in advance as possible, but for us, these extra 24-hours are often critical.  During these months, weather can change dramatically in a 24-hour span.  Having the extra time to survey what we think might happen makes it more likely that we’ll avoid making scheduling mistakes that could result in cancellations.  This approach has proven prudent, as it’s helped save more than an handful of schedules that would otherwise have been scrapped.

Generally speaking, we will also avoid using cold-weather tracks in Quick Early Bird schedules whenever an alternative with more predictable weather is available, especially on the weekends.  It is essential that Quick Early Bird schedules run on Saturdays and Sundays, since those schedules include so many feeders to the days’ Featured events.  So for instance, you’ll be far more likely to see Tampa included in a QEB schedule than Aqueduct–even though we know Aqueduct is a more popular circuit.

Lastly, since many people ask us about replacing races with “alternate” races in the event of cancellations, we feel it’s helpful to explain how we approach scenarios where races are indeed cancelled:

  • If races that are included in a multi-track schedule are cancelled the evening prior to the date, we will make changes to the Featured schedule and announce to all players
  • If races that are included in a multi-track schedule are cancelled the same day of the Featured schedule, it is our policy to never make changes to those schedules.  This is mostly because there are simply too many players that make selections the day prior and will not have the ability to make changes, or may not even be aware of the changes.  This is an untenable situation and one that is unfair to those players
  • If races that are included in a QUICK EARLY BIRD schedule are cancelled on the same day, we will refund entries in that QEB schedule and post a new schedule that includes other races, assuming there is sufficient time to do so.  We will never replace races in a QEB schedule the same day.  What this means is that players will need to re-buy into the new schedule to play the revised Quick Early Bird schedule.

Here at HorseTourneys, Eric Wing and I take scheduling very, very seriously.  You spend a ton of time preparing, and we feel the above approach is the best to ensuring your play experiences as few inconveniences as possible.

We hope this provides some insight – email us at support@horsetourneys.com with any questions.  Stay warm!