First Play-Ins for April’s Players Championship Headline 25 Featured Tourneys During What is Also Final Weekend of Pegasus Qualifying

The ink is barely dry on Alan Levitt’s $206,000 Flo-Cal Faceoff winner’s check, but it’s time to look forward to the next leg of the 2021 Tourney Triple—the April 2-3 Players Championship.

What’s new about the Players Championship…aside from the fact that it’s just brand new in general? It’s a two-day, $200,000 Guaranteed event that will be run in All Optional Live format. Players will make 15 plays per day from among approximately 30 eligible contest races each day at such tracks as Aqueduct (where it’s Wood Memorial weekend), Santa Anita (where it’s Santa Anita Derby weekend) and Keeneland (where it will be opening weekend). Also…it’s a Friday-Saturday competition. (Sunday that weekend is Easter.)

Did you finish in the top 100 in the Flo-Cal Faceoff? If you did, you earned bonus points ranging from 100 for Alan Levitt at the top to 1 point for 100th place. The same system will be in place for the Players Championship and the Spa & Surf Showdown in August. At the end of the Tourney Triple, the top points-earner wins a 2022 NHC seat plus a 2021 BCBC entry. Second gets a BCBC entry. Third-place receives an entry to the 2021 The BIG One.

Buy-ins for the Players Championship are now available for $2,000 each. However, you can start earning PC Berths for just $156 in qualifiers starting this weekend. The first of these are part of the Friday featured schedule.

Not only is there a multi-track qualifier to the Players Championship on Friday (another will be held on Sunday), there will also be Gulfstream-only and Santa Anita-only full-card PC qualifiers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So, as Peter Aiello would say, “Many chances!”

There are also many chances for cash this weekend, including Friday’s $15,000 Guaranteed No Limit Pick & Pray. The entry fee is $190.

Another Friday cash-game chance is our up-to-$20,000 Big Bucks Pick & Pray, which guarantees a purse of at least $7,500. The entry fee is $1,150, and payoffs only go to the top three finishers on a 70/20/10-percent basis. Total entries are capped at 20.

We’re just over a week away from the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship, and you can snag a late spot in it on Friday. This day’s qualifier is a Pick & Pray, with an entry fee of $384. One of every 20 entrants will move on to the live-bankroll Pegasus event that can be played from either Gulfstream or Xpressbet on January 23rd.

There are two featured tourneys at HorsePlayers on Friday—one a qualifier to the NHC and the other a play-in for the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. 

The NHC game is a $75 qualifier. It’s a Pick & Pray, with two berths guaranteed.

The BCBC qualifier is a Low Ratio Pick & Pray with an entry fee of $500, and a winning ratio of 1 in 23. One $10,000 seat is guaranteed to be awarded regardless of participation.

Contest races for the Friday features are the 6th and 7th from Aqueduct; the 1st and 3rd at Santa Anita; the 7th through 10th from Gulfstream; and the 7th and 8th at Tampa—10 races in all.

There’s more of everything on the Saturday schedule.

You won’t find a more lucrative cash opportunity this weekend than in our $25,000 Guaranteed No Limit tourney. The entry fee is $260, and the format this week is Live.

In Pick & Pray mode is our “up-to-$20,000” Big Bucks game. The purse is guaranteed at $10,000, and entries are limited to 20 (unless we get a late arrival or two via last-minute Saturday feeders). Payoffs go only to the top three finishers with the winner earning 70 percent of the net pool, the runner up getting 20 percent, and the third-place finisher picking up the remaining 10 percent.

Saturday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney begins with a carryover of $9,321 after going unhit again last weekend. If you go four-for-four 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.) Note that there is a maximum of three entries per player allowed in these Jackpot Pick 4 games.

The Pick 4 Jackpot races on Saturday are races 10, 11 and 12 from Gulfstream and races 6 at Santa Anita.

On the qualifying front, there will be a live-format, 1-per-20 qualifier to the Pegasus (entry fee: $384).

And though they are not yet showing on the home page, there will be single-track Players Championship qualifiers on both the Gulfstream and Santa Anita cards offered at $156 each.

The Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge again shares the stage with the NHC at HorsePlayers on Saturday.

The BCBC qualifier is a $179, live-format game with at least one $10,000 entry/prize assured.

The Saturday NHC qualifier is also a live-format tourney. It, too, is a 1-per-65 play-in. There are two seats guaranteed, and the entry fee is $210.

The Saturday contest races for our traditional multitrack features are the 9th through 12th at Gulfstream, where it’s Sunshine Millions Day; the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th from Santa Anita, where it’s also Sunshine Millions Day; and the 9th through 11th at Tampa…where there also promises to be sunshine.

Nine more featured tourneys come your way on Sunday.

Three of them are Players Championship qualifiers. There’s a multi-track game plus single-track, full-card competitions (not pictured) on both Gulfstream and Santa Anita. Each costs $156 to enter.

There’s also a Live-format play-in to the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship. The entry fee is $384, and one of every 20 participants will earn a $6,500 Pegasus package.

In case you missed it a couple of weeks ago, the guarantee on our featured Sunday cash tourney has been bumped up to $20,000. It’s a Live-format competition this week, and there’s no limit as to how high the purse could go (though it won’t be less than $20,000). The entry fee is $195.

The Sunday Big Bucks tourney has a guarantee of $7,500, and the final pot could reach $20,000 if we reach the maximum 20 entrants. The entry fee is $1,150, and prizes go only to the top three. Sunday Big Bucks games are always run in Live-format.

There’ll be 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 carryover amount. It will depend on how many played in Saturday’s Pick 4 Jackpot tourney—and whether anyone swept the four races.

Here’s a heads-up for you Exacta tourney fans: Sunday’s up-to-$5,000 Exacta game now has an entry fee of just $50 (down from $125). The guarantee is now set at $500. We’re hoping that “less is more” and that the reduced “barrier to entry” results in higher overall prize pools. In these games, you pick a three-horse exacta box in each race, and the best overall score (based on $1.00 payoffs with no price caps in effect) earns the top prize.

At HorsePlayers on Sunday, there will again be one NHC featured tourney and one BCBC feature—both Live-format, Low Ratio get togethers.

The BCBC game guarantees one grand prize. The winning ratio is 1-per-23 in this $500 event.

The NHC qualifier also costs $500 to play. It has a winning ratio of 1-per-17, though note that there must be at least 10 entries signed up for the game to “go.” (Also, per NHC Tour rules, there will only be NHC Tour points if at least two seats are awarded.)

In the headline, we boasted that there would be 25 featured events this weekend. Actually, there will be more than that…because Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with racing going on at Aqueduct, Laurel and Santa Anita to name three. So we’ll be adding “a coupla two three” features then as well. They just have yet to be determined.

We hope you enjoy the holiday weekend, and that you and your loved ones stay healthy and happy. We’ll be back on Tuesday to recap the featured-tourney action.