$100,000 Tourney, Special Gulfstream Opening Day Games, New Hawthorne Qualifiers Top Big First Weekend in December

It would have been an exciting weekend anyway, what with Gulfstream opening its meet on Saturday, and Aqueduct running the Cigar Mile, Remsen and Demoiselle that day too. But we’re turning up the flame in a big way Saturday with our third $100,000 game of the year.

It’s a 15-race, live-format event with races from Gulfstream (five big-field Claiming Crown races), Aqueduct (Cigar Mile, Remsen, Demoiselle), Tampa Bay Downs and Los Alamitos. The entry fee is $695, and if we reach our maximum of 161 entries, then the purse will be $100,000, with $40,000 to the winner. But we’re guaranteeing the pot at $70,000 no matter how many (few?) sign up. You’ll see from the above that there are still opportunities to qualify for the hundred-grander for as little as $35 via our low-cost feeders.

Our first two $100,000 games were won by Victor Mendes Sr. and Howard Welsh, respectively.

Victor Mendes Sr.
Howard Welsh

Win our big game on Saturday and we’ll be posting your photo down the road right along with theirs.

The weekend isn’t completely about Saturday, though. We’ve built some great contest action before and after.

Friday gets things rolling with our $6,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray tourney with pool-style payouts that could mean a prize pool of as much as $10,000 depending on how many players take part. But it will be worth at least $6,000 no matter what. The entry fee is $190, and entries are capped at 60. Contest races are the 7th through 9th at Laurel; the 6th, 8th and 9th at Woodbine; and the 6th through 9th at Hawthorne.

The same races will make up the schedule for Friday’s $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers.

Two seats are guaranteed to be awarded in this budget-friendly NHC qualifier that has become one of our most popular games of 2017.

On to Saturday…

Did we mention that there’s a $100,000 game that day? Well, in addition, there’s a full-package qualifier for the Horse Player World Series for $117. I always have fun at the HPWS. But it seems more enjoyable when I go there with my room and travel covered. Then there’s no guilt even if I lay an egg.

The HPWS full-package qualifier will use the same 15 races covered in our $100,000 game: the 7th through 11th at Gulfstream; the 8th, 9th and 10th from the big card at the Big A; the 7th, 8th and 9th from Tampa; and the 5th and 6th, 7th and 8th from Los Al (where it’s also opening weekend).

The Los Alamitos opening is certainly enjoyable. But the Gulfstream opening in December always seems like an extra big deal. And we’re marking the occasion with some special, Gulfstream-only tourneys on Saturday.

One is an up-to-$10,000 pool-style live-format game with $3,000 Guaranteed and the other is a $5,000 pool-style Pick & Pray with $2,000 Gtd. If you like short fields and odds-on favorites, look elsewhere, because the horsemen really jammed the entry box for this Saturday Claiming Crown card at Gulfstream.

At HorsePlayers, the Saturday feature is a 12-race, “regular” NHC qualifier for $165.


And if you don’t have any luck in this one…

…you can give it another whirl back at HorseTourneys on Sunday. The only real difference is that the Saturday NHC qualifier is live-format and the Sunday one is a Pick & Pray.

Our major Sunday cash game is again guaranteed at $12,000 but with a pool-style, “The more that play, the more we pay” mechanism that could grow the pot to as much as $20,000. It’s a Pick & Pray with an entry fee of $195, and entries are capped at $118.

Speaking of cash games, there’s a $2,500 guaranteed Exacta tourney (you pick a three-horse box in every race) for $72, and the purse could reach $5,000 if the maximum number of entries (79) sign up.

On the qualifying front, you should know that Sunday represents your last chance to qualify for the December 9 Gulfstream Caribbean Classic Betting Championship. One in 20 entries, at $116 each, will win a berth for a week from Saturday.

On the other side of the coin, Sunday represents your first chance to qualify for the Hawthorne Holiday Extravaganza on December 29-30. HorseTourneys winners will again receive $800 in entry fees to cover each of the two single-day tournaments. But this December competition at Hawthorne is different in one key way: win one of the two days, and you immediately become eligible for a million-dollar-bonus should you go on to win the NHC. No wonder they’re calling it an extravaganza!

If warmer weather is more your thing in late December, then the Surfside tournaments may tickle your fancy. You can qualify for them, and also for a Horse Player World Series entry, this Sunday as well.

Over at HorsePlayers, Sunday is your best opportunity to maximize your chances of an NHC berth.

That’s because it’s another NHC Super Qualifier. The cost is $500 to play and one in 21 will move on to Treasure Island in February. With a Super Qualifier, you don’t have to feel like you need the day of your life to win. But if you do win, it will still feel pretty darned great.

It’s our biggest December weekend ever at HorseTourneys. We hope it proves to be a memorable one for you as well. Good luck.