First Qualifiers to Derby Day Challenge at Xpressbet and New Low Ratio Play-In to the $300,000 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown Highlight the Friday/Saturday/Sunday Weekend Schedule

One of the more interesting live-bankroll tournaments of the year to date will take place on Saturday, May 1st. It’s the Derby Day Challenge at Xpressbet, where plans call for you to start out with a stake of $2,000 and go to town on the full, Kentucky Derby Day card from Churchill Downs. 

Entries cost $3,000 each for this event in which you can compete for NHC seats, Pegasus World Cup entries and plenty of bonus cash. However, on Friday and Sunday, you can secure a spot in the Derby Day Challenge for $177 in our first two qualifiers to this First Saturday in May competition.

The Derby Day Challenge play-ins are just one aspect of a strong Friday, Saturday and Sunday slate. Let’s take a look at how Friday shapes up.

In addition to the debut of the $177, 1-per-20 Derby Day Challenge Pick & Pray, there’s a $147, 1-per-20 Pick & Pray to the $300,000 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown here on August 14-15. Winner(s) receive a $2,500 entry.

As many of you know, the Spa & Surf Showdown requires players to make mythical $2 win and place selection on every race of the full cards from Saratoga and Del Mar each day. Last year’s purse reached $644,000, with winner Scott Fiedler taking home $248,000. 

This year, there’s an added twist to the Showdown. In addition to the $1 million bonuses in play for Flo-Cal Faceoff winner Alan Levitt and Players Championship victor Dan Wilde, important tournament seats will be awarded to those who finish in the top 3 of the Tourney Triple overall standings. (Players get 100 points for winning a Tourney Triple race, 99 for second, and so on down to 1 point for 100th place.) Here’s what the leaderboard looks like heading into Leg 3:

The top points getter receives a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry plus a 2022 NHC seat. The runner up earns a BCBC entry. And the third-place finisher picks up a berth to The BIG One here in September. (In case of a tie, the higher finish in the Spa & Surf Showdown, even if outside the top 100, will break the tie.)

Our featured cash game on Friday is a $15,000 Guaranteed No-Limit Pick & Pray. The entry fee is $190.

There’s also a Monmouth Pick Your Prize Pick & Pray qualifier on Friday. One of every 15 entries, at $156 per entry, earns a $2,000 seat for the June 12th test. It can be played on the 12th at Monmouth, at Xpressbet or—if you live in New Jersey—4NJBets.

There are two featured tourneys at HorsePlayers on Friday. 

One is a $75 NHC Pick & Pray with two seats guaranteed. The winning ratio is 1-per-143, and if we reach the 429-entry mark, that means we’ll add a third grand prize to the pool. 

The other Friday HorsePlayers feature is a $500 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Pick & Pray. At least one $10,000 BCBC entry is certain to be won in this guaranteed event.

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

It’s a Pick & Pray weekend this week, so all of our marquee tourneys on Saturday (and most of them on Sunday too) are of the “set-it-and-forget-it” variety.

The richest tourney of the week is Saturday’s $25,000 Guaranteed, No-Limit event. The entry fee for this Pick & Pray is $260, and there is no ceiling as to how high the purse could grow.

Saturday’s “up-to-$20,000” Big Bucks game is always a Pick & Pray, and it has a guaranteed pot of $10,000. 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 pocketing the remaining 10 percent. The entry fee for this big-money, short-field event is $1,150.

The second of four Spa & Surf Showdown qualifiers during the weekend is on the Saturday docket. The parameters are the same as Friday’s—$147 entry fee…1-per-20 winning ratio…grand prize of a $2,500 entry…Pick & Pray.

An entry fee of $156 will get you in the door for Saturday’s Monmouth Pick Your Prize qualifier. The grand prize here is a $2,000 entry into the June 12th tournament. One of every 15 contestants will succeed. In the Pick Your Prize tournament, you can compete for NHC seats, BCBC entries and cash.

The $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney starts out on Saturday with a carryover of $1,271. In our Pick 4 Jackpot games, if you go four-for-four, you win or share the Jackpot. (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 7th and 9th at Aqueduct and the 9th and 10th from Keeneland.

The Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge hogs the spotlight at HorsePlayers on Saturday.

On tap is a $179 Pick & Pray with at least one $10,000 entry guaranteed to be awarded. The winning ratio is 1-per-65. 

The 12 Saturday contest races are the 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th from Keeneland; the 5th through 9th at Aqueduct; and the 1st and 4th from Santa Anita.

On Sunday, there are not one but two Spa & Surf Showdown qualifiers on the featured schedule, including one brand new one.

The debuting qualifier is a Low Ratio Spa & Surf Showdown play-in. The entry fee is $360, the prize is a $2,500 entry for the August 14-15 all-cash event, and that means the winning ratio works out to 1 in just 8. The format for this qualifier is Pick & Pray.

If the existing 1-in-15 Spa & Surf Showdown ration was just fine (thank you) for you, then we offer one of those as well on Sunday. An upfront fee of $147 will get you into this Pick & Pray.

On Sunday we offer our second Derby Day Challenge qualifier of the weekend (see Friday). It’s a 1-per-20 Pick & Pray with an entry charge of $177 and a $3,000 Derby Day Challenge entry waiting at the end.

Sunday is your weekly chance to earn a coveted spot in The BIG One. Sunday’s qualifier is a $395 Pick & Pray, and one berth will be awarded regardless of participation. Note, however, that these qualifiers to The BIG One are capped at 27 entries, so don’t wait until the last minute to enter. Incidentally, the first-place finisher also receives a $500 winner’s bonus, and the runner up grabs a $395 consolation prize. Keep in mind that when The BIG One is contested in September, the field will be no more than 57, with each entrant playing just one entry in his or quest for major-tournament seats and bountiful cash.

You can also win a Sunday seat for the Lone Star Million Betting Challenge. The Lone Star Challenge is the grand finale of three straight days of contest action in Grand Prairie, Tex. Sunday’s Pick & Pray requires an entry fee of $177, and one entry per 20 will pick up a $2,000 entry for the May 31st (Memorial Day) on-site tournament, plus $500 for travel to Texas.

For those who want money and want it now, there’s Sunday’s $20,000 Guaranteed No Limit cash game. The entry fee is $195, and it’s a Pick & Pray this week.

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 capacity of 20 entrants. The entry fee is $1,150, and prizes go just to the top three.

We’ll have another $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney (always a Pick & Pray) on Sunday. The jackpot amount 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.

Two featured tourneys come your way at HorsePlayers on Sunday.

The day’s NHC qualifier is a “regular” $165 play-in. Two seats to the 2022 event are guaranteed in this live-format affair. The winning ratio is 1-per-65.

At least one $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry will be at stake in Sunday’s Low Ratio qualifier. It’s $500 to get into this 1-per-23 live-format tourney.

Plenty of action all weekend long. We hope you can take part in one or two games. Happy handicapping!