HorseTourneys Tour Picks Up Steam and Spa & Surf Showdown Qualifying Winds Down as July Ends and August Begins.

What do Alan Baze, Giuseppe Petrella and Scott Mauer have in common? They each won a featured cash tourney last weekend (on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively), and as per the rules of the new 2021 HorseTourneys Tour, it means that they are immediately eligible for a $500 bonus should they win another such cash feature on that particular day of the week. And should they be skillful enough to earn that $500 bonus, we kick the premium up to $1,000 for each subsequent triumph on that day.

Here’s the good news for the rest of you: You can take your first step on the way to a $500 or $1,000 bonus this week because we have three more Tour events on tap this weekend—starting on Friday.

Mark Aylward is the current leader in the standings with 12.79 points, but it’s very early. You can get a quick 10+ points by winning Friday’s $15,000 Guaranteed No-Limit Pick & Pray. The entry fee for this one is $190.

As a reminder, you get points for each Top-10 finish, (10 for first down to 1 point for 10th), plus fractional points that reflect the entry fee for the event plus the number of entries in the tourney. The points leader as of December 31st gets $10,000, and those who finish in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th gets seats to The BIG One, the Spa & Surf Showdown, the Players Championship and the Flo-Cal Faceoff, respectively. Finish in the top 50 and you get a free entry in a private tourney in January that will award $25,000 in site credit (and the Top 10 Tour finishers get TWO entries into that event.)

We’ll have at least one qualifier on each day of the weekend for the $300,000 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown, now just a mere two weeks away. Friday’s play-in is a $147 Pick & Pray with a winning ratio of 1-in-20. Winners earn a $2,500 entry into the third and final leg of the 2021 Tourney Triple series, which, as a bonus, offers important tournament seats to the top performers across the three events (Flo-Cal Faceoff, Players Championship, Spa & Surf Showdown). If you finished in the top 100 in the first two legs, it means you earned points that could mean a seat to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, the Pegasus or The BIG One—depending on how you do in the Showdown on August 14-15. In the Spa & Surf Showdown, players will be required to make mythical $2.00 win-and-place selections on every race of the Saturday and Sunday cards from both Saratoga (Spa) and Del Mar (Surf). Best total, two-day score wins!

There will also be a daily qualifier to the NHC First Chance/Last Chance tournament at Bally’s on August 26. On Friday, one of every 10 entrants—at $59 per entry—will secure a $500 spot in the annual NHC Eve event. At stake on August 26th at Bally’s will be cash plus a 2021 NHC seat for the following day…or, if you’re already double-qualified for 2021, a berth for 2022 instead.

The NHC and the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge again share top billing on Friday at HorsePlayers. 

Friday’s $75 NHC Pick & Pray offers two guaranteed seats to the 2022 event plus NHC Tour Points if you finish in the top 10 percent of the field. The winning ratio is 1-per-143. Remember—you must be a 2021 NHC Tour member, prior to the start of the contest, in order to be eligible for an NHC package in this or any other NHC qualifier. If you’re not a member, you can become one quickly and easily at for a $50 membership fee. 

The co-feature at HorsePlayers on Friday is a $500 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio Pick & Pray. At least one $10,000 BCBC entry is guaranteed to land in some smart handicapper’s lap at the conclusion of this event.

Contest races for the Friday featured events are the 7th through 10th from Saratoga; the 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th from Gulfstream; and the 7th and 8th at Ellis Park—10 races in all.

Most of the Saturday (and Sunday) featured tourneys this week will be run in Live format—including Saturday’s HT Tour event, our $30,000 Guaranteed No Limit cash game.

There is no limit as to how high the purse could reach in this $350 buy-in competition, but it won’t be less than 30 grand.

One of the weekend’s few Pick & Prays is Saturday’s “up-to-$20,000” Big Bucks game. (The Saturday edition of this is always a Pick & Pray.) The purse is guaranteed to be at least $10,000. Entries—at $1,150 each—are limited to 20 (unless we get a late arrival or two from last-minute Saturday feeders…in which case the pot will exceed $20,000). Payouts go strictly to the top three finishers with the winner collecting 70 percent of the net pool, the runner up getting 20 percent, and the third-place finisher picking up the remaining 10 percent.

John Van Arnum hit last Sunday’s $15 Jackpot Pick 4 game for $1,353, so the Jackpot for Saturday has been re-seeded to $500. In our Pick 4 Jackpot games (always run as Pick & Prays), going four-for-four means you win or share the Jackpot. (You don’t have to have the only perfect ticket.) Meanwhile, 70% of the daily 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 are limited to three per person.

Saturday’s Pick 4 Jackpot races are the 8th, 9th and 10th (all graded stakes) from Saratoga; and the 4th at Del Mar.

As for qualifiers, Saturday is the second consecutive day in which you can try to win a spot in the Spa & Surf Showdown and the Bally’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance tournament. Both play-ins will be contested in Live format. The qualifier to the $300,000 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown costs $147 and carries a 1-per-20 winning ratio, while the Bally’s has an admission price of $59 and is a 1-per-10 test. 

We’ll try again this Saturday to award a $500 entry to the brand new Exacta Extravaganza ($50,000 Guaranteed) here on September 11-12. This qualifier will be run in Live, Exacta Box format—just like the Exacta Extravaganza, itself. Winners of this three-horse-box, 1-per-10 play-in, will move on to make similar exacta box picks on the full cards from Kentucky Downs and Woodbine on both Saturday the 11th and Sunday, the 12th.

A Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier is the featured tourney on Saturday at HorsePlayers.

It’s a $179 Live-format play-in. At least one $10,000 BCBC entry is certain to be won, and the winning ratio is 1-per-65.

The 12 contest races for Saturday are the 8th through 11th from Saratoga; the 12th and 13th at Gulfstream Park; and the 5th through 10th from Del Mar.

The first day of August is our busiest day of the weekend with 10 features here and another two at HorsePlayers.

The featured cash game—and HT Tour event—of the day is our $20,000 Guaranteed, No Limit tourney. The format for this—and for most of the top Sunday events—is Live, and you can participate for $195.

Always in Live format on Sundays is our Big Bucks affair. It’s an up-to-$20,000 tourney with $7,500 Guaranteed and an entry fee of $1,150. Entries are limited to 20, and payouts go just to the first three finishers.

Our other Sunday featured cash tourney is the $15 Pick 4 Jackpot tourney (always a Pick & Pray). The jackpot amount will depend on how many took part in the Saturday Pick 4 Jackpot tourney—and whether the Jackpot was hit. Check our website or our Twitter feed starting on Saturday night for updates.

We have two Spa & Surf Showdown qualifiers on the Sunday. One is a “regular” $147 play-in with a winning ratio of 1-in-20. The other is a 1-per-8, $368 Low Ratio game. Both will be run in Live format. The grand prize in each case is a $2,500 entry into the $300,000 Guaranteed Showdown, an all-cash event, here on August 14-15.

Sunday’s weekly guaranteed qualifier to The BIG One (Sept. 18-19) will also be a Live-format tilt. It carries an entry fee of $395 with the winner getting a $500 bonus in addition to a spot in the field of no more than 57 for The BIG One—where there will be plenty of cash at stake plus 10 seats to the winners’ choice of the BCBC, NHC or Pegasus World Cup. Also note: the runner up in this Sunday’s qualifier gets a $395 consolation prize/refund. Entries for Sunday are capped at 27.

You can also grab $2,600 worth of entry fees on Sunday for the Kentucky Downs King of the Turf Handicapping Challenge qualifier. The grand prize will cover you for all three of the two-day contests that Kentucky Downs will be hosting during its 2021 meet. Projections call for $100,000 in cash plus 13 2022 NHC seats and three BCBC entries to be at stake over the three contests/six racing days. The Challenge will be contested at Xpressbet and TVG. Our Sunday live-format qualifier, costs $204 to enter, and one in every 15 will advance.

Also on the Sunday slate is a Pick & Pray qualifier to the October 16th Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge. This one has an entry fee of $206 and a winning ratio of 1-per-20. Winners get a $3,500 entry to the fall contest, which can be played either on track or at Xpressbet.

A spot in the September 16th Canterbury Big 10 BCBC Handicapping Contest is up for grabs on Sunday for a $177 entry fee. Your chances are 1-per-20 in this Live-format qualifier. The Canterbury/Xpressbet final will offer cash, 10 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entries and two 2022 NHC spots.

And what’s a weekend day around here without a $59 qualifier to the NHC First Chance/Last Chance tournament at Bally’s. Sunday’s is a 1-per-10 Live-format game with the winner(s) earning $500 entries for August 26th out in Vegas.

Spots in both the 2022 NHC and the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge will be at stake on Sunday at HorsePlayers.

The NHC play-in is a “regular” Live-format qualifier with two seats guaranteed and a price tag of $165.

The BCBC qualifier is a (rare for the day) Pick & Pray, with a barrier to entry of $500 and a Low-Ratio success rate of 1-per-23. At least one $10,000 entry to the world’s most prestigious live-bankroll handicapping contest is certain to be won regardless of participation.

Special good wishes go out this weekend to our friends at Del Mar and all HorseTourneys qualifiers as they prepare for the two-day Del Mar Summer Challenge which gets started on Saturday. 

And to all readers of this space, may you end July and begin August on winning notes. Good luck!