New Friday Big Bucks Tourney, Three NHC Qualifiers and First-Chance Play-Ins to Santa Anita and Tampa Highlight Contest Action During First Weekend of Gulfstream Championship Meet

Gulfstream Park kicked off the most anticipated portion of its season on Wednesday, and to ratchet up the excitement of their opening weekend just a bit more, we’re unveiling a weekly Friday Big Bucks tourney this week—in addition to the ones that have already become staples of our Saturday and Sunday schedules.

The Friday Big Bucks game is similar to the Sunday version except that it will be a Pick & Pray. Other than that, the entry fee ($1,150), the guaranteed purse ($7,500), the maximum purse (a touch over $20,000), the entry cap (20) and the payout schedule (top 3 on a 70/20/10 basis) remain the same. You can win a lot of money in these without beating a lot of people.

You can also win a lot of money in Friday’s more traditional $10,000 Guaranteed No Limit Pick & Pray. This one costs just $190 to enter, and there is no limit as to how high the purse can grow.

Each day of the weekend, we’ll be offering $118 qualifiers to the $150,000 Guaranteed Flo-Cal Faceoff here on January 9-10. Winners (1-per-15) get a $1,500 entry to the two-day cash contest consisting of mandatory full-card plays on both Gulfstream and Santa Anita. The Faceoff is the first leg in the new 2021 “Tourney Triple” series that also includes April’s Players Championship and August’s Spa & Surf Showdown. Guaranteed bonus prizes (seats to the NHC, BCBC and The BIG One) plus possible bonuses of $1 million or $2 million await the top series performers.

Friday offers the first of two weekend qualifiers (Sunday being the other) to the January 23rd Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship, which can be played either onsite at Gulfstream or at Xpressbet. Friday’s play-in is a Pick & Pray, with the entry fee set at $384. One of every 20 entrants will earn a $6,500 package for the live-bankroll Pegasus event.

During the month of December, HorsePlayers will exclusively offer NHC qualifiers. (Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifiers will be back in January.) The first of those is on Friday.

It’s a $75 NHC qualifier. Two seats are guaranteed, and NHC Tour points will also be up for grabs to those who finish in the top 10% of the field. The winning ratio is 1-per-143.

Contest races for all of the featured events at HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers on Friday are the 6th, 7th and 10th at Gulfstream; the 7th through 9th from Aqueduct; the 7th and 9th at Tampa Bay Downs; and the 8th and 9th from Laurel. That’s 10 races all together.

While all of the Friday features are Pick & Prays, a couple of live-format affairs figure into the Saturday mix.

One of those “race-by-race” games on Saturday is the weekend’s richest event—
a $25,000 Guaranteed, No Limit cash tourney. It’s $260 to participate.

Also in Live-format is an NHC Low Ratio qualifier here at HorseTourneys (as opposed to HorsePlayers). The barrier to entry is $500 and the winning ratio is 1-per-21. Note that this contest must draw at least 10 entries in order to take place.

Saturday’s second of three “up-to-$20,000” Big Bucks games during the weekend guarantees $10,000. The entry fee is again $1,150, and entries are limited to 20 (unless we get a late arrival or two via last-minute feeders). This one is a Pick & Pray and the winner gets 70 percent of the net pool.

Another Pick & Pray is Saturday’s $118 Pick & Pray qualifier to the Flo-Cal Faceoff. Winners (1-per-15) again receive a $1,500 entry to the big cash event here in early January. The Flo-Cal guarantees a purse of $150,000, but with six weeks or so to go, we’re already starting to bear down on that guarantee. So it’s possible that when January 9th rolls around, the Faceoff could be worth significantly more than $150,000. Stay tuned.

Saturday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot game starts out with a carryover of $2,746. If you get all four races right in this Pick & Pray, you win or share the Jackpot. Meanwhile, 70% of the net pool gets paid out to players via the traditional $2.00 win/place scoring system. (The other 30% goes to the Jackpot pool.) There is a maximum of three entries per player in these Jackpot Pick 4 tourneys.

Contest races for Saturday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot game are the 9th and 10th (the Demoiselle and the Cigar Mile) from Aqueduct; and races 10 and 11 (the final two Claiming Crown events) on the Gulfstream card.

The other featured tourneys on Saturday are made up of 12 races. They are: the 7th through 11th (all Claiming Crown added-money events) at Gulfstream; the 8th through 10th from the Big A; the 7th and 9th (the latter a 13-horse dirt stakes) at Tampa Bay Downs) and the 7th and 8th (both stakes) from Laurel. Should be a fun and challenging dozen to sink one’s teeth into.

As is customary around here, Sunday is the busiest day of the weekend with eight featured tourneys here and one at HorsePlayers. Two of the “HorseTourneys Eight” are brand-new offerings.

One of the new menu items is a $118 Pick & Pray qualifier to the December 28th Santa Anita Opening Day Challenge—to be played exclusively at Xpressbet. One of every 15 entries will receive a $1,500 entry.

The other new kid on the block is a live-format $80 qualifier to the Tampa First Chance/Last Chance NHC qualifier to be held onsite in Oldsmar, Florida, on January 9th. This is also a 1-per-15 qualifier with winners here picking up a $1,000 entry.

Sunday is your third consecutive day in which to win a seat to the Flo-Cal Faceoff ($118 entry fee/$1,500 entry as the grand prize). Unlike the Friday and Saturday Flo-Cal play-ins, this one will be run in Live format.

The second Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship qualifier of the weekend is on tap for Sunday. The winning ratio for Sunday’s $384 lie-format game is 1-per-20. Winners earn a $6,000 entry plus $500 for travel should they decide to play from Gulfstream. (You get to keep the $500 even if you play the Pegasus at Xpressbet.)

The other four Sunday features at HorseTourneys are all cash games.

There’s our $15,000 Guaranteed No Limit tourney. It’s a live-format competition this week with an entry fee of $195.

The Sunday Big Bucks game guarantees $7,500 and could reach $20,000 if we sell it out. The entry fee is $1,150, and cash prizes go strictly to the top three. The Sunday Big Bucks event is always a live-format tourney.

Another “always Live” game is Sunday’s up-to-$5,000 Exacta tourney with $1,000 Guaranteed. You select a three-horse exacta box for each race, and whoever does best (based on $1.00 payoffs with no price caps in effect) reaps the rewards.

We’ll have another $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney (Pick & Pray again) on Sunday. Check our home page or our Twitter feed on Saturday night for the Jackpot amount. It will depend on how many played Saturday’s Pick 4 Jackpot tourney—and whether anyone pulled off a sweep of the Saturday four.

The Sunday HorsePlayers feature is a 2-seats-guaranteed NHC qualifier.

You can get in the door of this live-format testing grounds for $165. The winning ratio is 1-per-65…though two spots are certain to be awarded even if fewer than 130 sign up.

Thanks to all for playing—and reading—and good luck in your tourneys this weekend!