Why You Should Aim for The BIG One in 2017

The first direct qualifier for the 2017 The BIG One, set for Sept. 23-24 at Laurel Park, is this Sunday.

If The BIG One isn’t near the very top of your 2017 priority list in terms of on-site tournaments to shoot for, it really should be.

That’s Dan Flanigan above. The Minnesota native finished first in the 2016 The BIG One and left suburban Baltimore with his $5,858.30 final bankroll, plus first-place prize money of $35,200, plus an NHC package, plus a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry.
Dan was hardly the only winner, however. Seven others in addition to Dan won both NHC and Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seats. And two other players won “just” NHC seats. Another 10 won their choice of Horse Player World Series entries or $1,500 cash. Total value of the live bankrolls, prize pool, tournament seats and player benefits exceeded $375,600.

The best part? All these prizes were awarded in a competition where the field was just 51. This is not a typo.

In fact, NHC seats ultimately went to the 11th, 12th and 13th-place finishers since three people in the top 10 were already double qualified for the NHC. Thanks to a special provision in The BIG One’s rules – one that has been retained for 2017 — the three double qualified players finishing in the top 10 each received $5,000 cash in lieu of an NHC seat. These $5,000 bonus payments come straight from HorseTourneys coffers and are paid above and beyond the advertised tournament prize structure.

This is why we call The BIG One “The High-Expectation Tournament”. When players enter the contest area – the beautifully remodeled second-floor clubhouse at Laurel — they know they have an excellent chance to walk away with something significant.
Here’s an at-a-glance look at what’s on offer:


And the HorseTourneys Web site will provide weekly updates on the 2017 The BIG One prize pool based on the latest data from qualifying-event participation levels. You’ll always know exactly where things stand.

If you do happen to play in The Big One but don’t manage to win anything, we can almost guarantee that you still will have enjoyed yourself. The all-inclusive packages to The Big One package, available only at HorseTourneys or at select Laurel Park qualifiers, is much more than a $1,000 bankroll, a pat on the back and a perfunctory wish of good luck. It includes a three-night hotel stay in addition to $500 in travel expenses. A welcome dinner and cocktail reception on the night of September 22 are also included, as is open bar and buffet during both days of the tournament.


“There will never be a better tournament venue than this,” said Gene Cahalan shortly after finishing tied for last at the 2016 competition. “Everything was roomy, beautiful and great.”

A lot of why Gene felt the way he did is due to the Laurel staff. Yes, they work hard. But, even better, they care about the event and about tournament players. No detail is too small for them – even down to tuning some TVs to various NFL, college football and MLB pennant race games that contestants may have an interest in. That attitude starts at the top, of course.


Above is The Stronach Group Chief Operating Officer Tim Ritvo (left) pictured with The Big One contestant John Scheinman. Ritvo was a very visible presence at last year’s event, and all of us at HorseTourneys were delighted that he wanted our event back at Laurel in 2017.

We also think you will appreciate the contest format of The BIG One. It is not a “stab” or a “spread” tournament. Rather, it is a live-bankroll competition with a total starting bankroll of $1,000. Ten plays of at least $50 each must be made each day, with win, place and exacta wagering available. Each day, five plays must be made on designated mandatory races, with five others being optional, “player’s choice” plays. Players can and do play hard at The BIG One. But no one has to worry about losing to someone who hits a cold trifecta on the final race with his last $10.

For great atmosphere, comfortable surroundings, big prizes and only a small number of opponents, we think you will love The BIG One.

Again, our first qualifier is this Sunday, January 8, and we’ll be running plenty of low-cost feeders prior to that. Good luck!