What Do HorseTourneys Players Think is the Right Payout Cap?

Back in June, we sent our players some survey questions to get their opinions on various aspects of play on our site. One of them asked at what level payoff caps should be set.  It had been approximately three and a half years since we’d queried players on this topic, so we felt it was time to see if sentiment might have changed.

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HT Classic: Why Can’t Players Get Free PPs or Make Tourney Selections Sooner?

Recently, our support@horsetourneys.com customer service email account has gotten a few queries from players eager to get a quick start on their handicapping and on their contest selections. They knew that entries for a given day had already been drawn and were wondering why the tourneys they had signed up for weren’t yet open to accept selections or to offer PPs. We went into that topic in a fair amount of depth on March 7 of last year, so here is that blog again for those who are curious about these sorts of timelines:

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Why Can’t Players Get Free PPs or Make Tourney Selections Sooner?

In most cases, entries for a given day’s races are taken three days prior to race day (e.g. Wednesday for Saturday, Thursday for Sunday, etc.). So how come HorseTourneys rules state that players typically are not able to make their contest selections—or gain access to the free Brisnet past performances available—until roughly 24 hours before the start of a tourney?

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Multiple $500 Travel Allowances Require 1099-MISC

Please be aware that players winning multiple $500 travel allowances in a given calendar year must be issued a 1099-MISC in accordance with Federal tax law.  For instance, if a player collects for two travel allowances totaling $1,000 in a given calendar year, the player will be issued a 1099-MISC in January of the following year.  Players have the option of exchanging additional $500 travel reimbursements for site credit if desired.  A W-9 must be filled out and returned to HorseTourneys before funds for multiple travel allowances will be issued.

Don’t Forget! You Can Use Site Credit to Purchase Entries Directly to Many Contests

Players may use site credit at HorseTourneys to purchase entries directly to certain contests.

In an effort to allow players at HorseTourneys to have more options with using their HorseTourneys site credit, we are now allowing HorseTourneys players to purchase entries directly to contests held at outside venues using their HorseTourneys site credit.

This means that players may use Bankroll Builders and Head-to-Head events for the purposes of stockpiling credits toward purchasing entries directly to contests such as the Horse Player World Series (HPWS), Gold Coast, Wynn, Orleans Fall Championship, etc.

Note the following stipulations:

  1. The contest that a player wishes to purchase entries to with HorseTourneys credit must be a contest that HorseTourneys already offers qualifying spots to. For example, this would include contests such as the Wynn, Gold Coast, Treasure Island, Orleans Fall Championship, Horse Player World Series (HPWS) and other contests offered at HorseTourneys.
  2. A $10 handling fee will be added onto the cost of the entry purchased. Example: player wishes to purchase a Gold Coast entry for $400 from site credit. A total of $410 in site credit would be required to purchase the entry and would be deducted from the player balance.
  3. Only entries may be purchased through this option. Full packages, hotel portions or otherwise are not eligible for purchase.
  4. If a player wishes to deposit additional funds to increase an existing site credit balance to the amount necessary to purchase an entry to an event, the player must add an additional 5 percent on top of the deposited amount to cover bank fees associated with the deposit.
  5. Purchases must be requested at least 14 days prior to the date of the contest. This provides time for HorseTourneys to compile all entries and make the proper payment to the contest venue per our normal accounting procedures.


  1. Send us a Customer Support request through the Customer Support Form, or email us at support@horsetourneys.com. You simply need to detail:
    • Your name and email address associated with the account
    • Contest to which you are requesting purchase
    • The number of entries you are requesting purchase of
    • The player name you wish to assign the entry(s) to, if someone other than yourself (most entries are transferable)
  2. HorseTourneys will deduct the amount of the entry(s) and handling fee from your account balance.
  3. HorseTourneys will make the payment to the contest venue on your behalf and ensure that you are registered for the contest. You would need to do nothing more regarding payment or registration unless required by the contest venue.

Contact us at support@horsetourneys.com if you have questions on the above.

Common Question: Why can’t PPs and Selections be available earlier?

A question that we often get through Support involves the timing of posting Past Performances and the opening of selections for contests.  As is stated in all contest descriptions, Past Performances are posted and selections opened for contests concurrently, usually about 24 hours prior to the start of a contest.  In terms of time, this means generally sometime between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. ET the day before a contest.

Many players ask us why both cannot be made available earlier.  The primary reason for this is that racing programs for the west coast tracks (Hollywood, Santa Anita, Del Mar, etc.) do not go “final” until 24 hours prior, or again, around 4:00 p.m. ET.  Even if entries and an early version (commonly called “overnights”) of Past Performances are available earlier through Equibase and handicapping information providers, those entries and early PPs do not include official program numbers or morning line information.  Both of these items are included only in the final program.  As a matter of course, we will not post PP information unless the program is final, as early programs should not be used for betting purposes.

The majority of contests involving multiple tracks at HorseTourneys include a west coast track.  If a contest covers only east coast or midwest tracks (nearly all of which post final programs 48 hours prior), it’s likely that PPs and selections will be available sooner.  However, players should still work off a 24-hour prior schedule in terms of when to expect both PPs and selections to be available.

Common Questions – Categories in Upcoming Contests Section

As the total number of contests available at HorseTourneys continues to expand, it’s important to note that contests may be filtered in the “Upcoming Contests” section by category.  You may display only the contests under a certain category by clicking on that category in the “Upcoming Contests” header.

Various categories are included, including Feeders, Pick & Pray format, certain major events (such as the NHC and HPWS), Head-to-Head and others.

Note that the default “All” category displays all upcoming contests with the exception of Head-to-Head events.  Head-to-Head events are only displayed under the Head-to-Head category.

Click the screenshot below to see where the categories are highlighted.

Common Questions: Regular, Pick & Pray and All-Optional Formats – What Are They?

If you’re new to HorseTourneys, you may notice that we run a variety of different contest formats daily.  The varying formats are designed to give players options for contest play that are most suited to their preferences.

There are three primary formats utilized at HorseTourneys.  All three utilize the same $2 Win/Place scoring system.

(1) REGULAR (Live) Format:

This is the traditional format most experienced handicapping are used to encountering at both on-track and online contests.  In this format, selections may be made up to the post time for each contest race.

At HorseTourneys, selections are closed as the second half of the field is loading into the starting gate.  In most cases, we endeavor to close selections once the last two horses are loading into the gate.  However, to ensure that picks do not get shut out, a player should operate under the practice of always having a pick made before the FIRST horse enters the starting gate.

The regular format is the primary format used in HorseTourneys qualifying events, particularly those that carry entry fees of more than $100.

(2) PICK & PRAY Format:

In the Pick & Pray format, selections for ALL contest races close once the FIRST contest race goes off.  Note that sometimes the second race in the schedule may be run before the first contest race in the schedule (due to normal schedule delays).  Selections for all contest races will close once the first race in the schedule (in any chronological position) goes off.  Players may not edit selections throughout the contest as they can in the Regular (Live) format.

Pick & Pray contests are popular among players due to the reduced time investment required to participate in them.  Moreover, the Pick & Pray format mitigates the “late bomb” factor inherent in live events, since players are locked into their selections regardless of their results in previous contest races.  At HorseTourneys, selections for all races are displayed for all players on the leaderboard page for that specific contest, so players may follow along with 100 percent transparency.

The Pick & Pray format is the most popular choice for lower-priced Feeder events and lower-priced qualifiers, but it may also be used in major events like NHC Qualifiers from time to time.


The ALL-OPTIONAL format most closely mirrors what players typically encounter at on-track, bricks and mortar contests around the country.  In the ALL-OPTIONAL format, players are presented with a large list of eligible races (typically 20), and may only make a maximum number of designated wagers of those eligible races (typically 10).

The ALL-OPTIONAL format is desirable for players that like to have a larger selection of races from which to choose their plays.  Moreover, the ALL-OPTIONAL format by its nature mitigates bomb-throwing and puts a premium on picking winners, particularly in races that may not be popular plays by the majority of contest players.

Generally, because of the time investment required to participate in them, ALL-OPTIONAL contests are limited to major qualifying events, such as those for the NHC or “The BIG One” at Ellis Park.  ALL-OPTIONAL format contests are always run under the regular (live) format.

If you have any questions on the formats utilized, get in touch with us at support@horsetourneys.com.