Free, Two-Day NHC Qualifier Highlights Predominantly Pick & Pray Weekend that Offers Another $58,000 in Guaranteed Cash

The featured weekend action gets started with a bang on Friday with a free NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the parameters, though, because this is not your father’s free NHC qualifier.

The customary aspects of this free event are that it’s a 15-race Pick & Pray…and that you must be a member in good standing of the 2020 NHC Tour to participate and win. You should be used to all that by now! If you’re not a member and wish to become one, visit

As noted in the headline, this is a two-day qualifier (unusual but not unprecedented). Note, however, that the Day 1 leader will automatically receive an NHC seat—and the top 10 percent of the field will move on to Day 2 on Saturday when an additional five seats will be awarded. So a total of six seats will be bestowed—and keep in mind that the Friday leader cannot win a second seat on Saturday. If that leader finishes in the top 5 on Saturday, then the 5th Saturday seat will slide down to the overall 6th-place finisher.

NHC Tour points will be awarded to the top 10 percent of the field as of the conclusion of Saturday play, based on a field of 1,000. So essentially the top 100 will earn points. (Thus, it makes sense for the Friday winner to keep plugging away on Saturday!)

What you’ll also want to pay attention to is the clock on the wall. Because our available contest tracks right now are just Gulfstream and Tampa, and because we are required to offer 15 races for this event, Friday’s Day 1 is going to start quite a bit earlier than usual. It will get under way at 1:21 pm ET with the 3rd race at Tampa. Overall, the 15 races will be made up of races 3 through 8 at Tampa Bay Downs and races 2 through 10 from Gulfstream Park. So you will want to set aside an ample amount of time to handicap those 15 races and to submit all of your selections ahead of that 1:21 pm ET Tampa Race 3 deadline. Then, if you’re successful, you need to be ready to do it all over again on Saturday.

The other Friday feature at HorsePlayers is a more customary 10-race Pick & Pray—a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio qualifier with one $10,000 BCBC entry Guaranteed. The winning ratio is 1 per 23, and the entry fee is $500.

There are also two nice 10-race Pick & Prays here at HorseTourneys on Friday.

Our Friday $10,000 Guaranteed No Limit Pick & Pray carries an entry fee of $190. Based on the last few of these, look for the final pot to approach or exceed $20,000.

You can also play on Friday in the first of our three weekend qualifiers to the $150,000 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown. One of every 20 entries, at $113 each, will earn a $2,000 entry to the August 15-16 online tourney that will require players to make full-card picks on Saratoga and Del Mar.

Contest races for the two featured events at HorseTourneys and the BCBC qualifier at HorsePlayers are the 4th through 10th at Gulfstream; and the 6th through 8th from Tampa—10 races in total, with a start time of approximately 2:39 pm ET.

On Saturday, there are three marquee competitions at HorseTourneys—all of them Pick & Prays.

The most lucrative contest of the weekend is Saturday’s $25,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray. It’ll set you back $260 to take part. Last week’s renewal had a purse of more than $40,000 and a first-place prize that exceeded $16,000 (captured by Joe Ward).

Another Spa & Surf Showdown comes your way on Saturday. Again, it’s a Pick & Pray with one of every 20 entries, at $113 per entry, earning a $2,000 entry to the $150,000 Guaranteed event here at HorseTourneys in August.

You can also take a Pick & Pray shot on Saturday at the Lone Star Park Spring Betting Challenge—rescheduled to June 27. This qualifier is a 1-per-15 affair with an entry fee of $80. Winners earn a $1,000 entry to the Grand Prairie, Tex., contest.

At HorsePlayers on Saturday, the NHC and the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge share the featured stage

While the smart 10-percent from Friday are competing for a free NHC seat, you can put up $125 and go for one of two guaranteed berths in Saturday’s live-format game with a winning ratio of 1-per-85.

The BCBC qualifier is a “regular” play-in with an entry fee of $179 and one $10,000 guaranteed. It, too, is a live-format tourney with a winning ratio of 1-per-65.

The 12 Saturday contest races at HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers are the 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th at Gulfstream (we left out the 6-horse 5th); and the 5th through 8th from Tampa. The start time should be roughly 2:15 pm ET.

Ten features are on the Sunday menu—eight here and two at Casa HorsePlayers (online orders only). Again, there are not one but two five-figure cash games to digest.

Our $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks game carries an entry fee of $1,150, and entries are limited to 20 (unless feeders are so crowded that a couple of extra players jam their way through the door). The purse is set at a minimum of $10,000 regardless of participation and the top three finishers split the pot on a 70/20/10-percent basis. This weekly event is always run as a Pick & Pray.

For $195 you can play Sunday’s $12,500 Guaranteed No Limit tourney. This week it’s a Pick & Pray. Last week, the winner (Scott Fiedler) walked away with $11,415.

Another Sunday tourney with a guaranteed prize is our qualifier to The BIG One. The target here for players is a guaranteed, all-inclusive package to the 2020 The BIG One at Laurel. Fifteen contest seats and at least $75,000 in cash will be in the prize pool in Maryland on September 19-20. That prize pool will be divvied up amongst a field that will number no more than 57. The Sunday entry fee is $395 and entires for this Pick & Pray are limited to 26. Winners receive three nights’ hotel, travel stipend, welcome dinner, high-end amenities at Laurel and more. At The BIG One, the top 10 finishers receive their choice of a seat to the NHC, BCBC or Pegasus World Cup plus cash bonuses. Finishers 11-15 get a choice of either $1,500 or a Horse Players World Series entry. There’s always a lot to play for at The BIG One…and fewer people to beat than normal.

Sunday’s Low Ratio NHC Pick & Pray isn’t guaranteed—but it will become so once we clear the 10-entry barrier. (Last week’s version of this one attracted 25 entries, so we have a good feeling.) It’s a 1-per-21 tourney with an entry fee of $500.

Chance #3 this weekend at a $2,000 entry to the Spa & Surf Showdown takes place on Sunday. One of every 20 entries in this Pick & Pray, at $113 each, will move on to compete in August for a straight-cash prize pool ($150,000 Guaranteed) in an event that will involve two days of full-card picks from Saratoga and Del Mar.

We’ll try again this Sunday with a qualifier to the Monmouth Pick Your Prize tournament. Players in our Sunday game will be shooting for a $2,000 entry plus $500 for travel to New Jersey. Originally scheduled for May 30, the Monmouth event will be held on a yet-to-be-specified date this summer. The precise date will be determined once Monmouth officials are able to get a better handle on their ability to conduct racing and have fans in to their facility.

Two more featured cash games to report:

Sunday’s up-to-$5,000 Exacta tourney with $1,000 Guaranteed require contestants to choose a three-horse-exacta box in each of the contest races. They receive scores based on the returns of a $1.00 base play. No payout caps are in effect, and the format is always Live. So you’re never out of contention. The three who cashed last Sunday all did so thanks to having a $90 exacta in the last race on what had been a somewhat chalky day up to that point.

For just $8, you might want to take a chance on another fun Sunday game—our $8 Pick 6 Jackpot tourney. These are also always run in live-format, and 70% of the net pool gets paid to top finishers via the normal, $2 win/place scoring method, while the other 30% goes to the Jackpot pool. You win (or share) the Jackpot by picking the winners of all six races. This week, the Jackpot is up to $9,070.

HorsePlayers gets us back on the Pick & Pray theme for the weekend with two final “set-it-and-forget-it” tourneys:

One is a Low Ratio (1-per-23) Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier. The cost to play is $500, and at least one $10,000 BCBC entry is guaranteed.

The other is a “regular” ($165-buy-in) NHC tourney with two seats certain to be awarded. The winning ratio here is 1-per-65.

Good luck in landing one of those 10 guaranteed NHC spots…or 3 mandatory BCBC entries…or some of that $58,000 in multi-track tourney guaranteed money. We hope you will find that fun is in ample supply as well. Have a nice weekend.