The All-Optional Live Format Returns with 16 Featured Tourneys on Saturday and Sunday, Including First Chances at Keeneland and Hawthorne, Plus The BIG One, NHC, BCBC and More

The choice is yours at HorseTourneys on Saturday and Sunday as it’s time for another “All Optional Live” weekend. This format allows you to choose your 10 obligatory plays from among 25 eligible races. Hate a race? Skip it! Hate a track? Skip it! Hate all the races? Well…now we have a problem.

We do have one event at HorseTourneys this weekend that will be run in the more traditional Pick & Pray format.

It’s our Friday up-to-$12,500 cash game with a guaranteed pot of $7,500. The work week-ending tilt carries an entry fee of $190 and there is a limit of 75 entries. Contest races are the 6th and 7th from Monmouth; the 7th through 9th at Laurel; the 7th and 9th from Belmont ;and the 6th, 8th and 9th at Gulfstream—10 races in all.

The All-Optional action gets under way on Saturday including the first of two qualifiers on back-to-back-days and a pair of “first chance” qualifying tourneys.

The Spa & Surf Showdown on August 3-4 now has 64 qualifiers and a guaranteed purse of $113,280. That purse will continue to grow following the events of this weekend when we will hold qualifiers on both Saturday and Sunday. Winners of these qualifiers (one per each 20 entries) receive a $2,000 berth into the online event offering races strictly from Saratoga and Del Mar.

Another event you have two shots to qualify for this Saturday/Sunday is the October 17-19 Orleans Fall Classic in Las Vegas. Our Saturday play-in offers a $500 entry plus an additional $500 for travel. One in 15 entries will win.

There are two first-chance opportunities as well on Saturday. One is for the popular Keeneland NHC/BCBC Challenge on October 13. Winners will go on to Keeneland to play for NHC and BCBC spots (as you might have presumed) as well as a nice pool of cash. Saturday’s qualifier costs $162 and the grand prize is a $3,000 entry plus $500 for travel.

The other first-chancer is of a more pressing nature from a chronological standpoint. It’s a qualifier to the July 20-21 Hawthorne OTBs Summer NHC qualifying tournaments. Winners of this $63 buy-in affair receive $800 in entry fees…good for each of the two single-day tournaments—which will be held only at select OTBs in the Chicagoland area.

Our richest tourney of the weekend is Saturday’s up-to-$30,000 game, also to be run in All-Optional Live format. The entry fee is $260, and there is a guaranteed purse of at least $17,500 in this competition. No more than 133 entries will be allowed.

Another game likely to be popular this Saturday is our Saratoga Challenge qualifier. Like the Hawthorne OTB get-together, the Saratoga Challenge is run as two single-day tourneys (August 9-10), and our Saturday winner or winners will receive $3,000 in entry fees (good for both days) plus $500 for travel. Entries to this tourney are $166 each, and one per 25 will emerge victorious.

Eligible contest races from which you can make your 10 mythical win-and-place HorseTourneys plays on Saturday are the 4th through 9th at Belmont; the 6th through 12th from Monmouth; the 8th through 14th at Gulfstream and the 7th through 11th at Woodbine, where it’s Queen’s Plate Day. That’s a total of 25 races.

HorsePlayers is sticking with more traditional formats this weekend, so their Saturday feature will be a 12-race Pick & Pray.

That feature is a nice one—a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier with one $10,000 entry guaranteed to be awarded regardless of participation. It carries an entry fee of $179, and the 12 mandatory contest races will be the 7th through 11th at Woodbine; the 9th through 11th from Monmouth; the 12th and 13th (both graded sprint stakes on the dirt) at Gulfstream; and the 8th and 9th from Belmont Park.

We’re back to the All-Optional Live format at HorseTourneys on Sunday with seven featured events.

The game at the top of the day’s marquee is our 2-packages-guaranteed qualifier to The BIG One at Laurel on September 21-22. These packages include entry, hotel, travel stipend, transfers between the hotel and track, welcome dinner and full open bar/buffets at Laurel. (It’s hard to have a bad time at this one!) Up for grabs at Laurel will be 10 NHC spots, five BCBC entries, five Pegasus World Cup entries and $75,000 in cash. You can gain admittance to Sunday’s qualifier for $350 per entry.

Another guaranteed tourney on Sunday is our up-to-$20,000 cash game, which carries a minimum purse guarantee of $10,000. You can play for $195. Last week’s winner, Brady Wolfgram $6,040 (and he got his $195 entry by winning a $22 feeder earlier in the day!).

A guaranteed cash game offered on a somewhat smaller scale is our up-to-$5,000 Exacta tourney with $1,000 certain to be awarded. This All-Optional Live format event carries an entry fee of $125 and requires players to select a mythical $1.00 three-horse exacta box in 10 of the 25 available contest races. Entries are capped at 45, and payoff caps are never in effect. If you hit a giant exacta, your score gets fully credited.

Sunday is also the second of two consecutive days in which we offer qualifiers to the (now) $113,280 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown and the Orleans Fall Classic. The Spa & Surf Showdown qualifier is just like Saturday’s—an entry fee of $113, one winner per 20, winner gets a $2,000 entry for August 3-4.

The Fall Classic qualifier is slightly different on Sunday in that this is an entry-only qualifier. As a result, the entry fee for our “play-in” is only $59. One of every 10 entries will win a $500 entry to compete on October 17-19 at The Orleans.

Our other two Sunday qualifiers are for brick-and-mortar events where the stars are certain to be out. If not, it would be tantamount to false advertising.

The Stars & Stripes Challenge takes place on Saturday, July 6 and Belmont Park. The parameters for this qualifier are essentially the same as for the Orleans Fall Classic qualifier—entry-only tourney, $59 entry fee, one per 10 earn a $500 entry for the holiday weekend contest.

Our entries to the Stars of Texas Betting Challenge qualifier are a little more expensive at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $79. The grand prize, though, is an entry worth $1,000 to the Lone Star Park tournament on July 14.

For those on a shoestring budget, there’s our Pick 6 Jackpot tourney—and, here, a small entry fee ($8) can get you a perfectly nice reward of $1,961. That’s what’s on the table should one or more get all six races correct.

On Sunday, the featured events at HorsePlayers will again not be utilizing the All-Optional Live format. Instead there is one Pick & Pray and one traditional live-format game on the menu—both 12-race affairs.

The live-format game is a special NHC qualifier with a new price point: $210. This makes for a winning ratio of 1 per 50. Two “Bally’s Berths” are guaranteed.

The Pick & Pray is one that has pretty much become a Sunday HorsePlayers staple—a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio tourney. One $10,000 BCBC entry is guaranteed in this one, the entry fee is $500 and the winning ratio is 1 per 23.

Last but not least, don’t forget to take your free shot or shots this weekend at qualifying for our $5,000 Charity tourney on the Fourth of July. You can buy in on the Fourth for $50…but why not try to get in for free.

We’re offering this as a thank you to our customers and to support three very good horse industry charities—the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. The top 10 finishers will win money on July 4th with the winner receiving $2,000 plus another $1,000 to donate to his or her choice of the above three organizations. And all entry-fee proceeds on the Fourth will be split amongst the three charities.

First things first, though. Enjoy this weekend. We hope it is a fun and successful one for you. Next stop, July!