Laurel Park will be the epicenter of the Horse Racing Tournament world this Saturday and Sunday when the suburban Baltimore track, in conjunction with HorseTourneys, plays host to The BIG One.
We like to call The BIG One “The high expectation tourney” and here’s why: The final field will number between 52 and 57 (depending on whether there are any takers for the five available late “buy in” spots at $9,000 each) and prize pools are expected to be at least $90,000 (more if there are any people buying in before Saturday). There are also 28 seats to major tournaments up for grabs: 10 NHC packages, 8 BCBC entries and 10 Horse Player World Series (HPWS) entries. (Players may opt to receive $1,500 cash in lieu of an HPWS seat if he/she prefers.). If you simply finish in the top half of the field, you should win a seat to a “major”.
For the first time this year, The BIG One will be contested with a live-bankroll format with each player starting with $1,000 and required to play at least $50 (win, place, exacta or a combination thereof) on 10 different races per day. Five of those races each day will be on designated mandatory races and five being on any other race from races at eligible contest tracks. On Saturday, contest tracks will be Belmont, Gulfstream, Laurel and Parx (Saturday is Pennsylvania Derby Day). On Sunday, the contest tracks are Belmont, Gulfstream, Laurel and Churchill Downs.
Players, of course, keep anything they earn from their live-bankroll wagers plus any share of the $90,000+ prize pool they earn. And, of course, there are those 28 tourney seats.
It is our sincere hope that even those who don’t have a lucky weekend still enjoy themselves. All of The BIG One participants receive a complimentary three-night hotel stay, transportation between the hotel and track, plus a Friday night welcome dinner with open bar — plus buffet lunches and open bar at Laurel on both days of the competition. Players are also welcome to bring a guest or two to accompany them during all of the fun.
Check out this space for post-event recaps and our @HorseTourneys Twitter feed for live updates throughout the weekend. And to the 52 of you lucky (and skilled) enough to have qualified…we look forward to seeing you there.