Free NHC Qualifier Plus Big Bucks Game and First Chances at Laurel Champions and Pick Six Jackpot Tourneys Highlight First Weekend in March

The first free qualifier to the 2020 NHC is already upon us. It takes place this Saturday. To compete and win, you must be a paid member of the 2019 NHC Tour. If you’re not a member yet, there’s still plenty of time to do so prior to Saturday’s free tourney in which the top five will all win NHC seats. Just go to Membership prices start at $50, and they all make you eligible for a variety of benefits—including four more free online qualifiers at HorsePlayers later in the year.

The free NHC event is just one of 24 featured tourneys this weekend, which get under way on Friday.

As always, the marquee event on Friday is our up-to-$12,500 Pick & Pray with $5,000 Guaranteed. It has an entry fee of $190 and entries are limited to 75.

Another Friday staple is the day’s entry-only Horse Player World Series qualifier. It, too, is a Pick & Pray like all our key Friday games, and the buy-in is $90. Winners receive a $1,500 entry to the March 28-30 “major” in Las Vegas.

A recent addition to the Friday slate is our Spa & Surf Showdown qualifiers. Nineteen have already earned $2,000 entries to this online tournament on August 3-4 that will focus solely on Saratoga and Del Mar races and will guarantee a purse of at least $100,000. As with our Sunday Spa & Surf qualifiers, the entry fee is $113, and one in 20 will move on to the finals on the first weekend in August.

HorsePlayers gets involved on Friday this week with an NHC qualifier. It’s not free…but the price tag is low.

It’s the first $75 qualifier of the 2019 NHC Tour season. Two NHC spots are guaranteed to be awarded in this Pick & Pray.
The $75 NHC qualifier and each of the three Friday featured games at HorseTourneys will be decided based on the results of the following 10 contest races: the 6th and 8th at Aqueduct; the 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th at Gulfstream; the 8th and 10th from Tampa Bay Downs; and the 4th and 5th at Santa Anita.

The majority of Saturday’s featured tournaments will be conducted in live format. There is one notable exception, however.

The aforementioned free NHC qualifier is a Pick & Pray. Sorry to be repetitive since most of you know this, but it can’t be restated enough: You must be a current, paid-up member of the 2019 NHC Tour to compete in and win this event. No grace periods. Membership opened in January, so if you signed up for a membership, it should be fresh on your mind…but if you’re not sure, check in with either Holly Short or Michele Ravencraft at the NTRA.

There are two other featured tourneys at HorsePlayers on Saturday. One is a live-format NHC qualifier that DOES cost money to enter–$165 to be exact. While only two seats are guaranteed here rather than five (as in the free event), you’ll find your roster of opponents to be far less voluminous.

There’s also a live-format Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier with a one in 65 winning ratio. One $10,000 entry/prize is guaranteed and the entry fee here is $179.

Back here at HorseTourneys, there are four top games to pick from, including one new offering.

The “new shooter” is our qualifier to the Laurel Champions Tournament, coming up soon on March 16. This qualifier costs just $35 to enter and one in 10 will earn a $300 entry. At Laurel, you will compete for cash, one BCBC seat, two NHC spots plus an entry to The BIG One (held in September…also at Laurel).

The richest tournament of the weekend is Saturday’s up-to-$30,000 cash game with $17,500 guaranteed. It’s a live-format game this week, and it carries an entry fee of $260.

A Saturday “regular” is our Keeneland Grade One Gamble qualifier. Winners receive a $3,000 entry into the April 14th contest plus $500 for travel to beautiful Keeneland. (If you haven’t been to Keeneland, you owe it to yourself to go, whether it’s for this tournament or for any other racing date.) The winning ratio for this live-format tourney is one in 25. The entry fee is $164.

Saturday is the day each week to win a full-package to the Horse Player World Series. For your $117 buy-in, you will compete for a $1,500 entry to the three-day World Series on March 28-30, plus a four-night hotel stay at The Orleans (home of The Copper Whisk), plus another $500 for travel.

Sunday will be a busy day at HorseTourneys even by our Sunday standards. We’re offering 13 featured events.

A brand new offering is Sunday’s Pick 6 Jackpot tourney. It’s a six-race, $55 buy-in tourney that’s a little bit like the Rainbow 6 bet except you don’t have to be the only one to have all six winners to get a piece of the jackpot. Each Sunday, 70% of the net pool will go to those who score best (similar to our pool-style games), and 30% goes to those who get all six races right. If no one does so, that 30% carries over to the next Pick 6 Jackpot tourney. We’re starting off the jackpot by seeding it with $1,000.

The other Sunday offerings will have a more familiar ring, including the two-seats-guaranteed NHC Pick & Pray. This “regular” NHC qualifier costs $165 to enter.

Also on tap is our every-other-week Big Bucks tourney (always run as a Pick & Pray). The buy-in is $1,150 and no more than 20 entries will be accepted. Payoffs are made only to the top three—on a 70/20/10 basis—and should the game sellout, the total pool would exceed $20,000…though it will be at least $10,000 no matter what.

There are also a pair of “Last Chance” qualifiers since the events they are tied to take place on March 9 (a week from Saturday).

One is to the March 9 TSG Ultimate Betting Challenge, which can be played at Gulfstream, Santa Anita or on This event has a $166 buy-in and winners receive a $3,500 ($3,000 entry plus $500 travel) package.

The other is to the March 9 Aqueduct Gotham Challenge. This final qualifier to it costs just $59 to play, and winners (one per 10) earn a $500 entry. A reminder…you don’t have to be at Aqueduct to play in the March 9 event. If you wish, you can use a NYRA Bets account to play your entry or entries. You can get all the details at

The Horse Player World Series takes place on March 28-30, and you can win a $1,500 entry to it in Sunday’s live-format qualifier. Entries are $90 each.

On the same weekend as the HPWS are the Hawthorne March contests. You can win $700 in entries to this Chicagoland competition (two single-day contests) by playing in our $55 Sunday qualifier.

Our second qualifier of the weekend to the Spa & Surf Showdown takes place on Sunday. One per each 20 entries, at $113 each, will earn a spot in the starting gate this August 3-4.

Another prime Sunday tourney is our qualifier to The BIG One, which, in 2019, carries a reduced entry fee of $350. Winners earn an all-inclusive package to Laurel for the high-expectation contest with 10 NHC seats, five BCBC spots, five Pegasus entries, five HPWS entries, plus a guaranteed cash prize pool of at least $75,000. Also note that this is a guaranteed qualifier. At least one berth will be awarded no matter how many or few sign up.

Also on tap is a qualifier for the June 1 Monmouth Pick Your Prize tournament. You can play in this live-format game for $117, and one in 25 will earn a $2,000 entry plus $500 for travel to the Jersey Shore.

Cash-game specialists, fear not. In addition to our Big Bucks game this Sunday is our up-to-$20,000 live-format cash tourney that has an entry fee of $195, and a minimum purse guarantee of $10,000.

The other Sunday cash contest scheduled is the up-to-$5,000 Exacta box tourney. This contest (always run in live-format) offers a guaranteed pot of $1,000. Here, you make a three-horse exacta box play in each contest race, and the winner is based on total return from a $1.00 play. This tourney carries an entry fee of $125 and no more than 45 are granted entry.

A high-end, low-ratio qualifier takes place at HorsePlayers on Sunday.

It’s a guaranteed, Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier (live format) with one in 23 earning a $10,000 entry. The entry fee here is $500, and the winning ratio is just one in 23.

Whether you prefer first chances, last chances, “big bucks” games or free rolls, there’s definitely something for all players—and all budgets—this weekend. See you there!