Pegasus World Cup Direct Qualifier, Big Bucks Tourney, Eight Guaranteed NHC Spots Headline First Weekend of 2019

The new year has just begun, but the 2018 NHC Tour year still has a couple of weeks to go (until January 12 to be exact). You can still land a spot in the big dance on February 8-10 at Treasure Island…or win some big cash prizes and valuable seats to other prestigious tournaments all weekend long here at HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers. The featured action kicks off on Friday.

The first two of those eight guaranteed NHC seats are up for grabs at HorsePlayers in Friday’s $75 Pick & Pray qualifier. One of every 143 entries will win and NHC seat (plus airfare and hotel). Should we exceed the 429-entry mark, we’ll add a third seat to the prize pool.

Here at HorseTourneys, there are three featured Friday Pick & Prays.

The Friday feature is our up-to-$12,500 Pick & Pray with $5,000 Guaranteed. It has a buy-in of $190 and no more than 75 entries will be accepted. This particular game has resulted in a total, pool-style purse above $10,000 over the last month. It’s definitely a fun way to bring the workweek to a close.

You can also play for a $1,500 entry to the Horse Player World Series in another Friday Pick & Pray where one in 20 will win. Here, the entry fee is $90.

The last of the Friday Pick & Prays is to the Treasure Island NHC Last Chance tournament, which takes place on February 7—one day prior to the NHC. One per each 10 entries here earns a $500 entry. The buy-in is $58.

Contest races for the Friday featured events at HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers are: the 6th through 8th at Aqueduct; the 1st and 4th at Santa Anita; the 7th, 8th and 10th at Gulfstream; and the 8th and 9th at Tampa Bay Downs—10 races in all.

The richest tournament of the weekend, plus two more guaranteed NHC seats will keep contest players busy at HorseTourneys on Saturday.

The weekend’s most lucrative game is our up-to-$30,000 Pick & Pray with $17,500 guaranteed. This one costs $260 to enter and the field is limited to 133.

Your chances to snatch an NHC seat improve a bit in Saturday’s Lower Ratio qualifier where an entry costs $240, but the winning ratio is 1 in 45—as opposed to 1 in 65 for our “regular” qualifiers…or 1 in 143 for our $75 qualifier. This one is a live-format tourney, and two NHC seats are guaranteed to be awarded regardless of how many or few sign up.

Another big brick-and-mortar tournament to which you can win an entry on Saturday is the April 14th Keeneland Grade One Gamble. Winners receive a $3,000 entry plus $500 for travel to the Bluegrass State. One grand prize will be awarded per each 25 entries in this Pick & Pray. The buy-in is $164.

The Horse Player World Series (like the recently completed Rose Bowl) is sort of the granddaddy of them all. HPWS devotees know that Saturday is the day when we off full packages to the signature handicapping event at The Orleans. Winners (one per each 25 entries) in this $117 buy-in tourney earn not just a $1,500 HPWS entry, but a four-night stay at The Orleans plus $500 for travel to Vegas as well.

HorsePlayers offers a pair of one-seat-guaranteed qualifiers to the NHC on Saturday.

One is a “Low Ratio” qualifier, in which the winning ratio is a success-friendly 1 in 21. This event will be run in live-format mode, and the entry fee is $500.

The other qualifier is restricted to those who have yet to qualify for the 2019 NHC, which means that some of the “heavy heads” won’t be in the field. The entry fee is $165 for this contest (also a live-format tourney). Because of the restricted nature of this qualifier, no NHC Tour Points will be awarded in this contest regardless of participation levels.

Come Sunday, seven more featured tourneys are on the way, including a qualifier offering one of the most coveted seats of the year.

Time is running out to qualify for the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship at Gulfstream on January 25-26. Pegasus contestants will begin with a $12,000 bankroll (which also represents the buy-in…the prize pool, guaranteed at a minimum of $435,000, is funded by players’ churn, plus contributions from The Stronach Group, Gulfstream Park and Xpressbet). Our Sunday live-format qualifier costs $480 to enter and one in 30 will earn a Pegasus entry ($12,000 value as noted earlier) plus $500 for travel. Pegasus contestants will have seats in The Sport of Kings Theatre for Pegasus Day, and five NHC seats will be part of the Pegasus weekend prize pool as well as a lot of money.

Another every-other-weekend contest taking place on Sunday is our Big Bucks tourney. This one has $10,000 Guaranteed, and a pot that could rise to $20,000, depending on participation. It costs $1,150 to play this Pick & Pray and a maximum of 20 entries will be accepted. As per usual, only the top three will share in the pot…on a 70%/20%/10% basis. Low-cost feeders for this event continue all week long at HorseTourneys.

Another Sunday cash game is our up-to-$20,000 Pick & Pray with $10,000 Guaranteed. Unlike our Big Bucks tourney, as many as 118 may play in this one, and the entry fee is $195 (instead of $1,150). Last week’s $10,000 Guaranteed game on Sunday paid out a top prize of $6,040.

There’s also our up-to-$5,000 Exacta box tourney. This contest (always run in live-format) offers a guaranteed pot of $1,000. Here, players pick a three-horse exacta box in each contest race, and whoever gets the greatest returns, based on a $1.00 play, over the 12-race competition wins. There are never any price caps in play in our Exacta tourneys, so if you’re in the mood, feel free to bomb away!

Sunday also offers another direct qualifier to the Treasure Island NHC Last Chance tournament. It’s just $58 to play in this Pick & Pray.

For the third consecutive day, you can take a shot at the Horse Player World Series. Sunday’s contest is an entry-only qualifier with one in 20 in this $90 buy-in event earning a $1,500 entry to the HPWS next March.

At HorsePlayers on Sunday, the final two of the weekend’s eight guaranteed NHC spots will be the focus.

It’s a “regular” NHC qualifier with two seats guaranteed. The price to play in this Pick & Pray is $165 and one in 65 will punch his or her ticket to Vegas next month. Again, though, two seats will be awarded even if fewer than 130 enter.

We’ll close by sending good wishes to all those smart handicappers representing HorseTourneys at this weekend’s Hawthorne tournaments and at Saturday’s NTRA/Santa Anita NHC Super Qualifier. Whether you’re in chilly Cicero, Illinois or balmy Arcadia, California, we hope your journey leads to an indoor, second-floor ballroom in Las Vegas in five weeks.

And if you won’t be in one of those two places, you can still get to that Treasure Island ballroom from right here at HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers. Good luck!