First Two Qualifiers to the 2022 NHC Plus Eight Players Championship Play-Ins and First Chance for the TSG Ultimate Challenge Highlight Final Weekend of January, Which Features All Optional Live Tourneys on Saturday and Sunday

It sounds a little strange to be saying this—since the 2021 NHC is still seven months away—but qualifying for the 2022 NHC begins…this weekend!

Yes, you can be the first on your block (or continent) to secure a spot in the 2022 NHC this Friday. And another chance for a 2022 berth comes on Sunday. 

In case you missed the news this week, the NTRA announced that the dates for the 2022 will be January 28-30—a little earlier than has been the recent norm. So that will mean a quick five-month turnaround between the 2021 and 2022 events.

Enough about the NHC. Let’s talk about the Friday schedule at HorsePlayers…and the NHC.

The first 2022 NHC qualifier is a small-ticket one. You can get in the door for $75 and two spots are guaranteed. 

On Friday (and Saturday) here at HorseTourneys, the featured-tourney action will be monopolized by the Players Championship and cold, hard cash.

Already, 39 spots have been filled for the $200,000 Guaranteed Players Championship here on April 2-3. We’ll have two qualifiers to it here on Friday—a multitrack game, and a full-card, single-track tourney focusing solely on Gulfstream. (Santa Anita is dark on Friday due to rainy weather.) The two “PC” qualifiers have an entry fee of $156 and one of every 15 contestants will pick up $2,000 entries to the middle leg of the Tourney Triple…which offers the top three overall performers seats to such events as the NHC, the BCBC and The BIG One.

For those who prefer more immediate gratification, there’s our $15,000 Guaranteed No Limit Pick & Pray. The entry fee here is $190.

Contest races for the Friday multitrack features are the 6th and 8th from Laurel; the 6th through 10th at Gulfstream Park; and the 7th through 9th from Tampa Bay Downs—10 races in all. (Just as a side note—in addition to Santa Anita, Aqueduct is also now dark on Friday.)

On Saturday, two of the day’s featured events here at HorseTourneys will be contested in All Optional Live format.

With our All Optional Live tourneys this weekend, you make 10 plays from a pool of 25 available races, and you can make your decisions right up until post time for each race. (The Players Championship on April 2-3 will be run similarly, except that there will be 15 plays from 30 races then.)

One of Saturday’s “AOL” games will be our $25,000 Guaranteed No Limit tourney. The entry fee is $260. This one is our richest game of the weekend. The final purse is only limited by how many people sign up.

The other All Optional Live competition on Saturday is our multitrack Players Championship qualifier. It’s $156 to enter, and the winning ratio is 1 in 15.

The 25 available contest races for the two All Optional Live tourneys mentioned above are the 5th through 9th at Aqueduct; the 5th through 10th from Tampa; the 7th through 12th on a stakes-rich Gulfstream card; and the full, eight-race card at Santa Anita.

On a more traditional, 12-race, Pick & Pray schedule is Saturday’s “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 early 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.

Thanks to Thomas Pietrowski, the carryover into Saturday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot is back down to $620. Piotrowski won just over $12,000 for scooping the pool last Saturday.

Here’s how Jackpot Pick 4 tourneys work: 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.) Entries in these Jackpot Pick 4 games are limited to three per person.

The Pick 4 Jackpot races on Saturday are races 8 and 12 from Gulfstream; and the 9th and 10th at Tampa.

Meanwhile thee will be two full-card, single-track qualifiers to the Players Championship on Saturday—one focusing on Gulfstream and the other on Santa Anita.

At HorsePlayers on Saturday, the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge takes center stage.

It’s a 12-race, $179, live-format qualifier with a winning ratio of 1 per 65 and one $10,000 entry certain to be awarded.

The 12 Saturday contest races for our traditional multitrack features are the 8th through 12th from Gulfstream; the 7th through 9th at Aqueduct; the 1st and 3rd from Santa Anita; and the 9th and 10th at Tampa.

On Sunday we have one brand-new qualifier, plus a couple more All Optional Live tourneys.

The new event in the Sunday lineup is our first qualifier to the March 6th TSG Ultimate Betting Challenge. This is a 12-race Pick & Pray qualifier that costs $236 to enter. One of every 15 entrants will earn a $3,000 entry to the online event that will be hosted at Xpressbet.

On the All Optional Live front, there’s our $156 multitrack qualifier to the Players Championship. Whoever does the best with their 10 plays out of 25 races wins a $2,000 entry to the $200,000 Guaranteed all-cash event here on April 2-3.

The other “AOL” competition on Sunday is our $20,000 Guaranteed No Limit Pick & Pray. The entry fee is $195.

The Sunday Big Bucks tourney will be run as a 12-race, all-mandatory, live-format game. It 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 strictly to the top three.

We’ll also again have a pair of single-track, 1-per-15 Players Championship qualifiers for $156 each. One will be on Gulfstream and the other on Santa Anita. 

There’ll be another $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney 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. This, like all our Pick 4 Jackpot games, will be a Pick & Pray.

There will be two featured tourneys at HorsePlayers on Sunday, including your second chance to secure an early spot in the 2022 NHC.

An entry fee of $165 gets you into the starting gate for the live-format NHC 2022 qualifier. The winning ratio is 1-per-65, and at least two seats guaranteed to be awarded regardless of participation.

The BCBC qualifier is a live-format, low-ratio test assuring at least one grand prize (a $10,000 BCBC entry). The winning ratio is 1-per-23 in this $500 tourney.

Good luck and good fun to all. Some prescient handicapping this weekend may set you up for an exciting 2021…or 2022.