More Choice Coming to The BIG One; First 2020 Qualifier Set for This Sunday

The eighth annual edition of The BIG One will take place on Saturday and Sunday, September 19-20 at Laurel Park. There are a few changes that have been made to the 2020 event…but first, here’s what’s NOT changing.

The BIG One is still the industry’s “High Expectation” competition. The field will again be limited to no more than 57, with a maximum of one entry per player and, again, the top 10 finishers will receive a seat to a major tournament as well as bonus money from the prize pool — guaranteed at $75,000.

Once again, the format will be mythical $2 win/place plays (affording a level playing field to all) and the 11th through 15th finishers will receive their choice of $1,500 in cash (credited to their HorseTourneys account) or a 2021 Horse Player World Series entry. All participants who qualify via HorseTourneys will win packages that include a three-night stay at a selected area hotel, $500 travel stipend, a welcome dinner and top-shelf amenities at Laurel, including buffets and open bar during each day of the two-day tournament.

Here’s what IS changing:

First off, the entry fee/winning ratio for qualifiers has been reduced. The entry fee for qualifiers will be $395, and the winning ratio will be 1-per-25. The first qualifier, which guarantees at least one all-inclusive package, will take place this Sunday, January 26.

Also…at least the first eight finishers (and quite possibly all 10 of the “Top 10”) will receiver his or her choice of:

a) an NHC package, including 4-night hotel stay and $500 travel stipend;
b) a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry; or
c) an entry to the 2021 Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship plus a cash supplement (amount TBD) designed to bring the prize roughly up to a value of $10,000.

In order to ensure the awarding of 2020 NHC Tour Points for a top finish at The BIG One, it is mandatory that at least two NHC seats be awarded. So, therefore, if no NHC seats have been selected after the first eight picks, then the final two prizes (to the 9th and 10th place finishers) would have to be NHC packages. But if at least two NHC spots are chosen by the first eight, then the 9th and 10th place finishers will also have their choice of any prize from the three listed above.

“Veterans” of The BIG One may have already noticed one other change. The Top 10 will this year receive one prize (chosen by the players from among the three listed above), rather than two. Why is that?

In short, we want to give a boost to the cash portion of our prize pool. Two years ago, it did not wind up where we hoped. Last year, we guaranteed it at $75,000 and, of course, we lived up that guarantee…though we had to go into our pockets to do so! This year, by distributing 10 tournament seats to the Top 10 rather than 20, it is our sincere hope that that the cash portion of the prize pool will exceed $150,000 as was the case in earlier years.

The final amount of the cash prize pool will again be dependent on participation in our weekly qualifiers. As per usual, we’ll be maintaining a purse/qualifier status page — updated weekly — for your perusal throughout the year whenever you want an update on how the 2020 The BIG One prize pool is progressing.

We hope that more cash and more choice will add up to an even bigger The BIG One in 2020. Good luck in your qualifying pursuits, and we hope you wind up joining us in Maryland this fall for what always is a delightful weekend of fun and fellowship.