Madness Indeed as Upcoming March Weekend Sets Up as Busiest in HorseTourneys History

Not too long ago, if we had 14 featured tourneys during a weekend, that was a pretty solid Friday, Saturday and Sunday for us. This weekend we have 14—on Sunday, alone. Plus 10 on Friday and nine on Saturday. The total of 33 is the most we’ve ever had for a three-day weekend. 

A key reason for the high volume is the popularity of qualifiers to the Players Championship—whose purse is now up to $254,880. To help meet the demand of those seeking $2,000 seats to the Friday and Saturday, April 2-3 all-cash event here, we’ll be offering a multi-track qualifier each day, plus a single-track qualifier on the Gulfstream and Santa Anita cards. Those—plus an extra Low Ratio qualifier on Sunday—means you have 10 weekend opportunities to add your name to the active roster for the second leg of the 2021 Tourney Triple. 

The weekend’s Players Championship play-ins, not to mention the other important cash games and qualifiers, get started on Friday.

Be sure to fill out your brackets early on Friday so you don’t miss out on the Gulfstream full-card Players Championship that tips off at 1:10 pm ET. Pac 12 fans may be more interested in the Santa Anita “PC” qualifier at 3:00 pm ET. 

The entry fee for those two single-track tourneys is $156—same as for Friday’s multi-track Players Championship qualifier. In all cases, one of every 15 contestants will receive $2,000 seats. Reminder: 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. You can also win a million-dollar bonus if you capture both the Players Championship and the Spa & Surf Showdown. (And if Flo-Cal Face-off winner Alan Levitt wins either, HE gets a $1 million bonus.)

There are plenty of other Friday qualifiers that can create a Cinderella story for yourself.

One is to the March 27th Florida Derby Challenge at Xpressbet. Entries cost $118, and 1 of every 15 will earn a $1,500 entry.

The same weekend as the Florida Derby Challenge are the Club Hawthorne OTB contests in Chicagoland. They are run as two separate competitions—one on Friday the 27th, one on Sunday, the 28th—in which players to put up starting bankrolls of $400 each day. Our Club Hawthorne Pick & Pray carries an entry fee of $94, and one of every 10 entrants earns $800 in entry fees—enough for both days.

On Saturday, April 10, there’s the Keeneland Grade One Gamble. Friday’s Keeneland qualifier requires an upfront fee of $207, with one of every 20 players winning a $3,500 package ($3,000 entry fee plus $500 for travel). Those not wishing to participate in person at Keeneland may play the Gamble online at Xpressbet.

The Lone Star Million Betting Championship is slated for Memorial Day, May 31. Winners of Friday’s $177 Pick & Pray (1 of every 20) get a $2,000 entry plus $500 for travel to Texas.

There’s also a Friday Monmouth Pick Your Prize play-in . One of every 15 entries, at $156 each, takes home a $2,000 seat for the June 12th competition on the Saturday after the Belmont Stakes. It can be played on the 12th at Monmouth, at Xpressbet or—if you live in New Jersey—4NJBets.

Amid all of the qualifying action, we haven’t forgotten you cash gamers. Our $15,000 Guaranteed No Limit Pick & Pray can be played for $190, and there’s no limit as to how many may enter…or how high the purse can grow.

At HorsePlayers, the Friday feature will send at least two winners to the 2022 NHC.

It’s a $75 NHC Pick & Pray with two spots certain. The winning ratio is 1-per-143, and if we reach 429 entrants, we’ll toss in a a third grand prize. As always with these popular Friday NHC tourneys, a generous amount of NHC Tour points figure to be handed out to those who finish in the top 10 percent of the field.

Contest races for the Friday features are the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 10th at Gulfstream; the 7th through 9th from Tampa Bay Downs; and the 8th and 9th at Laurel—10 races in all.

Nine more featured tourneys come your way on Saturday (eight here and one at HorsePlayers). They’re not “Win or Go Home” showdowns…since we’re all pretty much home to begin with…but they’re all well worth winning.

Saturday’s $25,000 Guaranteed No Limit Pick & Pray is especially worth winning—since it’s the richest tourney of the weekend. The entry fee is $260. 

Saturday’s “up-to-$20,000” Big Bucks Pick & Pray has a guaranteed purse of at least $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 finishers with the winner taking 70 percent of the net pool, the runner up getting 20 percent, and the third-place finisher picking up the remaining 10 percent. The entry fee for this high-end, low-crowd test is $1,150.

The day’s NHC qualifier takes place right here at HorseTourneys on Saturday. It’s a “regular,” $165 Pick & Pray, with two berths to the 2022 event at Bally’s Las Vegas guaranteed. 

We have three more Players Championship qualifiers on Saturday. There’s our multi-track Pick & Pray, along with the Gulfstream and Santa Anita single-track, full-card play-ins. In all three instances, one of every 15 entrants, at $156 each, will receive a $2,000 seat in the all-cash, two-day, All Optional Live tourney that will be held here on Friday and Saturday, April 2-3.

Saturday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize Pick & Pray (PYPPAP) also costs $156 to play and also offers a $2,000 seat as a top prize. On June 12th, Pick Your Prize contestants will tackle the Monmouth card and do battle for NHC seats, BCBC entries and cash.

The carryover into Saturday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot is up to $5,749. In our Pick 4 Jackpot games, if you go four-for-four, you win or share the Jackpot. (In other words, you don’t have to have the only perfect ticket.) 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 tourneys—always run as Pick & Prays—are limited to three per person.

Saturday’s Pick 4 Jackpot races will be the 8th, 11th and 12th from Gulfstream and race 8 at Aqueduct.

At HorsePlayers, Pick & Prays make a clean sweep of the Saturday featured-tourney-format choices.

The Pick & Pray here is a “regular” Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier with an entry fee of $179 and at least one $10,000 BCBC entry definitely headed out the door.

The 12 Saturday contest races are the 8th through 12th from Gulfstream; the 1st, 5th and 6th at Santa Anita; races 7 and 9 from Laurel; and the 7th and 8th at the Big A (Aqueduct).

If a baker’s dozen is 13, then perhaps our 14 featured tourneys on Sunday constitute a handicapper’s dozen.

On Sunday, we have not three but four Players Championship qualifiers. There’s our two $156 single-track games (Gulfstream and Santa Anita), our weekly All Optional Live game (also $156), in which you make 10 plays from among 25 races. And this week, we add a $472 Low Ratio Pick & Pray, with one of every five contestants moving on to April 2-3. Plenty of options!

Of course, there’s Sunday’s $20,000 Guaranteed No Limit Pick & Pray. 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 just to the first three finishers.

Sunday also presents your weekly opportunity to land a coveted spot in September’s The BIG One. (Only 57 contestants, all playing one entry each, may take part in The BIG One.) iSunday’s qualifier is a $395 Pick & Pray, and one package is guaranteed to be awarded regardless of participation…though the qualifier, itself, is limited to 27 entries. The first-place finisher on Sunday also gets a $500 winner’s bonus. The runner up receives a $395 consolation prize.

We have a brand new qualifier among this Sunday’s options. It’s $236 Pick & Pray play-in to the Wood Memorial Challenge to be held April 3rd at NYRA Bets. A $236 entry fee buys you a 1-in-15 chance at landing a $3,000 entry.

There’s also a Pick & Pray qualifier on Sunday to the Lone Star Million Betting Challenge. The Lone Star Challenge is the climax of three consecutive days of contest action in Grand Prairie, Tex. Sunday’s qualifier carries an entry fee of $177, and one entry per 20 will garner a $2,000 entry for May 31st contest, plus $500 for travel to Texas.

Sunday is your second chance of the weekend (see Friday) to earn a spot in the Florida Derby Challenge ($118 entry fee, 1-per-15 winning ratio) and the Club Hawthorne OTB contests ($94, 1-per-10). Both are Pick & Prays.

Also a Pick & Pray is Sunday’s Keeneland Grade One Gamble qualifier. One of every 20 entrants, at $207 per entry, will win a $3,500 package ($3,000 entry plus $500 for travel) for April 10th. The Grade One Gambe can be played at either Keeneland or Xpressbet. So if you can’t or don’t wish to go to Central Kentucky, you can just pocket the travel money!

Always in Pick & Pray mode is Sunday’s $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney. We don’t know how much the jackpot will be as of yet, however. It will depend on how many played in Saturday’s Pick 4 Jackpot tourney—and whether anyone hit it. Check our home page or our Twitter feed on Saturday night for updates.

It’s obviously a “Pick & Pray weekend” at HorseTourneys, but if you’re partial to live-format games, then the Sunday feature at HorsePlayers may be just right for you.

It’s a low-ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier with at least one $10,000 BCBC entry guaranteed. It costs $500 to play, and the winning ratio is 1-per-23.

There’s obviously a lot to choose from this weekend, so pick your spots wisely…and your horses even more wisely. We hope that none of your tournament brackets—on track or on court—get busted too badly. Good luck!