Final Weekend of Qualifying to Ultimate Betting Challenge and Gotham Challenge Make for Challenging Final Few Days of February

We challenge you to come up with a word that the handicapping contest world likes more than “challenge”. It seems to be kind of a go-to word when christening a tournament…or contest…and not without some reason, given that putting up a four-figure entry fee is sometimes a challenge in itself. 

That’s where we come in. With a little skill, you can turn $3,000 entry fees into $236 entry fees…for such events as the 1/ST Ultimate Betting Challenge and the NYRA Bets Gotham Challenge, which are both slated for a week from Saturday, March 6th.  

The final weekend qualifiers to these two competitions are among 25 featured tourneys scheduled for this weekend. As per usual around here, the marquee games get under way on Friday.

Friday’s are always Pick & Pray days at HorseTourneys, and so you can Pick & Pray your way to a $3,000 entry in either the 1/ST Ultimate Betting Challenge or the NYRA Bets Gotham Challenge…or both.  As alluded to earlier, it’s $236 to enter, and the winning ratio is 1-per-15. Note that you will need to have an Xpressbet account in order to play in the Ultimate Betting Challenge and a NYRA Bets account to take part in the Gotham Challenge. 

Another exciting Friday qualifier is that for the $200,000 Guaranteed Players Championship here on April 2-3. (The number of those qualified is already up to an even 100.) Friday’s qualifier to carries an entry fee of $156 and one of every 15 contestants will receive $2,000 entries to the “PC”. Along with January’s Flo-Cal Face-off and this August’s Spa & Surf Showdown, the Players Championship is part of the 2021 Tourney Triple…which offers the top three overall performers seats to such events as the NHC (2022), the BCBC and The BIG One.

There’s also a Keeneland Grade One Gamble qualifier on Friday. It costs $207 to play, and one of every 20 participants earns a $3,500 package ($3,000 entry fee plus $500 for travel) to compete in the April 10th event. Those not wishing to participate at Keeneland may take part via Xpressbet.

A new addition to the ever-growing Friday schedule is a Lone Star Million Betting Championship play-in. The Texas contest takes place onsite on May 31 (Memorial Day). Winners of our $177 qualifier (1 per 20) get a $2,000 entry plus $500 for travel 

Then there’s Friday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier. One of every 15 entries, at $156 per entry, earns a $2,000 seat for the June 12th (Saturday after the Belmont Stakes) competition.

We haven’t forgotten you cash gamers. For you, there’s our $15,000 Guaranteed No Limit Pick & Pray. An entry fee of $190 will get you in the door here.

Contest races for the Friday features are the 7th through 9th at Tampa Bay Downs; the 6th through 8th from Aqueduct; and the 7th through 10th at Gulfstream—10 races in all.

Seven more features come your way on Saturday—five here and two at HorsePlayers.

The richest event of the week is Saturday’s $25,000 Guaranteed No Limit cash tourney. The entry fee is $260, and the format for it this week is Live. 

Saturday’s “up-to-$20,000” Big Bucks game is always a Pick & Pray. The purse is guaranteed to be a minimum of $10,000, and entries are limited to 20 (unless we get a late arrival or two from last-minute Saturday feeders). Payoffs go only to the top three scorers with the winner collecting 70 percent of the net pool, the runner up getting 20 percent, and the third-place finisher earning the remaining 10 percent. The entry fee for this high-end game is $1,150.

We’ll also have a live-format qualifier to the Players Championship—with one of every 15 entrants, at $156 per entry, receiving a $2,000 berth in the all-cash, two-day, All Optional Live tourney that will be held here on April 2-3.

You can also turn $156 into a $2,000 entry in Saturday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier. Win this one, and you’ll be competing for NHC seats, BCBC entries and cash from either Monmouth, Xpressbet or (if you live in New Jersey) 4NJBets.

The carryover into Saturday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot is up to $3,182. In our Pick 4 Jackpot tourneys, if you go four-for-four, 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—always run as Pick & Prays—are limited to three per person.

The Pick 4 Jackpot races on Saturday are the 8th at Tampa and races 10, 12 and 13 from Gulfstream.

HorsePlayers comes off the bench on Saturday to provide live-format NHC and Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifiers.

The NHC play-in is a special, $100 qualifier with a winning ratio of 1 in 100. Two seats are guaranteed.

The BCBC competition is a “regular,” $179 qualifier. The winning ratio is 1 per 65, and at least one $10,000 entry is certain to be awarded.

The 12 Saturday contest races for our multitrack features are the 9th through 14th (five of them stakes) from Gulfstream, where it will be Fountain of Youth Day; the 1st, 4th and 6th at Santa Anita; and the 8th through 10th from Tampa.

Once again, Sunday is our most frenetic day of the week with 11 featured events on tap. One of them contains a key format change.

The $200,000 Guaranteed Players Championship here on April 2-3 will be contested in All Optional Live format with players making 15 picks each day from 30 available races. In order to help get prospective Players Championship contestants more accustomed to what lies ahead, we will be running our Sunday “PC” qualifier each week under the “AOL” format. On Sunday, it will be 10 plays from among 25 races. However, the entry fee ($156) and the winning ratio (1 per 15) remain the same as our other Players Championship qualifiers.

Lots of other qualifiers are on the Sunday schedule, including one for the Lone Star Million Betting Challenge. The Lone Star Challenge is the high point of three consecutive days of contest action in Grand Prairie, Tex. Sunday’s play-in is a $177 live-format game. One of every 20 entries will pick up a $2,000 entry for May 31st, plus $500 for travel to suburban Dallas.

The Sunday NHC qualifier will take place right here at HorseTourneys (rather than at HorsePlayers). It’s a $165 Pick & Pray with two berths certain.

Rick Broth and Michael Somich have qualified to the 2021 The BIG One so far. That means two down and 55 to go. You can be number 3 on Sunday in a $395 live-format qualifier. One package is guaranteed to be awarded regardless of participation, and entries are capped at 27. The first-place finisher also gets a $500 winner’s bonus. The runner up gets a consolation prize of $395.

Your second opportunity of the weekend to earn a $3,500 package ($3,000 entry plus $500 for travel) to the Keeneland Grade One Gamble takes place on Sunday. One of every 20 entrants in this live-format test, at $207 per entry, will gain his or her spot in the live-bankroll event on April 10th to be contested at both Keeneland and Xpressbet.

Sunday is also your second chance of the weekend to earn a NYRA Bets Gotham Challenge seat for March 6th. An entry fee of $236 gets you in. One in 15 will earn a $3,000 Gotham berth.

The winning ratio is also one per 15 for Sunday’s 1/ST Ultimate Betting Challenge qualifier. The entry fee here is also $236 and, similar to the NYRA Bets Gotham play-in, one of every 15 entrants will earn a $3,000 entry. Like the Gotham Challenge, the 1/ST Ultimate Betting Challenge takes place on March 6th…only about one week away.

For those partial to immediate gratification, the Sunday cash-game headliner is our $20,000 Guaranteed No Limit event. The format is Live, and the entry fee is $195.

The Sunday Big Bucks tourney is always a 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 first three finishers.

We’ll be hosting another $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney on Sunday, though we don’t know yet how much the jackpot will be. Check our home page or our Twitter feed on Saturday night for the Jackpot carryover amount. It will depend on how many took part in Saturday’s Pick 4 Jackpot tourney—and whether anyone hit for the big money. This, like all our Pick 4 Jackpot games, will be a Pick & Pray.

The Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge has the featured-tourney stage to itself on Sunday at HorsePlayers.

It’s a live-format, low-ratio qualifier with at least one $10,000 BCBC entry guaranteed. It costs $500 to enter, and the winning ratio is 1-per-23.

That puts a wrap on our featured-tourney weekend…and on the month of February. There wasn’t an NHC this month as in years past, but it was still a pretty fun month of tournament action. Good luck in all of your contest endeavors this weekend. May you be up to the…challenge!