Last Full Weekend of Qualifying for the Spa & Surf Showdown, First Play-Ins to the Del Mar Pacific Classic Challenge and NHC Pick Your Year Qualifier Among the Highlights of Another Big Friday, Saturday and Sunday at HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers

The $300,000 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown gets underway a week from Saturday. A $1 million bonus is on the line for previous Tourney Triple series winners Alan Levitt (Flo-Cal Faceoff) and Dan Wilde (Players Championship). And seats to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, 2022 NHC and 2021 The BIG One are at stake for the top three finishers on the Tourney Triple points leaderboard which is currently headed by Anthony Mattera. Meanwhile about 70 people are within range of a top-three “Triple Tourney” finish should they turn in a big performance in the Showdown.

So there’s a lot to play for—but not a lot of time left to earn a seat for the August 14-15 event that features full-card play on every race of the Saratoga and Del Mar cards each day. In fact, the coming weekend represents the final full one to earn a Showdown seat for as little as $147.

Those Showdown qualifiers make up just a few of the 32 featured events that are on the schedule for what is a predominantly Pick & Pray weekend. The fun…and action…and Spa & Surf Showdown qualifying…begins on Friday.

We’ll have at least one qualifier on each day of the weekend for the Spa & Surf Showdown. Friday’s play-in is a $147 Pick & Pray with a winning ratio of 1-in-20.

There will also be a daily qualifier this weekend 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 gain a $500 berth into 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 seat for 2022 instead.

There’s a brand-new qualifier on the Friday schedule: A $295, 1-per-20 Pick & Pray play-in for the August 22 Del Mar Pacific Classic Challenge. Winners earn a $5,000 entry for the live-bankroll contest that may be played on the 22nd at either or on-track at Del Mar. 

For cash-game specialists, there’s Friday’s $15,000 Guaranteed No-Limit Pick & Pray. The entry fee for this one is $190. As a Friday/Saturday/Sunday featured cash tourney, this one is also an HT Tour event. The current leader in the standings is Alan Baze—and with good reason. He has won both of the Friday featured cash games since the launch of the HorseTourneys Tour. Per a special bonus provision in the Tour rules, last Friday’s win for Baze meant a $500 bonus for recording a second Friday victory. Should Baze win this $15,000 Guaranteed tourney once again this week—or one any Friday between now and the end of the year—he will snag a $1,000 bonus. 

As a general reminder, you get points for each Top-10 finish in a Tour event, (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.)

The NHC and the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge again share the featured-tourney stage on Friday at HorsePlayers. 

Friday’s $75 NHC Pick & Pray offers two guaranteed places in 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 be won at the conclusion of this competition.

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

As noted earlier, the majority of the Saturday (and Sunday) featured tourneys this week will be Pick & Prays—including Saturday’s HT Tour event, our $30,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray.

There is no limit as to how high the purse could grow in this $350 buy-in test, but it won’t be any less than $30,000.

There’s also an NHC Pick & Pray right here at HorseTourneys on Saturday. It’s a “regular,” 1-per-65 game with two 2022 seats guaranteed and an entry fee of $165.

The Saturday’s “up-to-$20,000” Big Bucks game is always a Pick & Pray. Here, 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 just 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.

Philip Webber hit last Sunday’s $15 Jackpot Pick 4 game for $832, so the Jackpot for Saturday has been re-seeded/reset 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 and 9th (both Grade I stakes) from Saratoga; and the 1st and 2nd at Del Mar.

Back to the qualifying front, Saturday is the second consecutive day in which you can shoot for berths in the Spa & Surf Showdown and/or the Bally’s NHC First Chance/Last Chance tournament. Both play-ins will be contested its Pick & Prays. 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 a barrier to entry of $59 and is a 1-per-10 exam. 

Saturday surprises? 

They’re not formally on the schedule as of yet, but keep an eye out for single-track, full-card qualifiers on Saturday to the Spa & Surf Showdown and Bally’s First Chance/Last Chance. Saratoga and Del Mar are the obvious suspects to be contest tracks for these. 

We’ll try once 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 of September.

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 going out the door, and the winning ratio is 1-per-65.

The 12 contest races for Saturday are the 8th, 9th, 11th and 12th from Saratoga; the 7th and 8th at Ellis Park; the 8th and 10th from Woodbine; and the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th from Del Mar.

We’ll begin our examination of the bulky Sunday featured schedule with HorsePlayers—since there’s another one of those “Pick Your Year” NHC qualifiers on tap there this week.

Win this Low Ratio, $500 buy-in, 1-per-20 tourney and you can choose whether to take your NHC seat this month or next January. It’s a Live-format qualifier with one seat Guaranteed…and please note: Per NHC Tour rules, 2021 NHC Tour points will NOT be awarded for this game unless at least two 2021 seats get chosen by winners.

There’s also a Live-format, Low-Ratio BCBC qualifier at HorsePlayers on Sunday. It carries an entry of $500 and a winning ratio 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 how many or few sign up. Similar to the Pick Your Year NHC game, one grand prize is guaranteed here.

So there are two features to pick from on Sunday at HorsePlayers—and another 14(!) here at HorseTourneys.

The featured cash game—and HT Tour event—of the day is our $20,000 Guaranteed, No Limit Pick & Pray. You can take part for $195.

The only Live-format on the Sunday HT featured menu is our Big Bucks get together. 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 solely 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 it was hit. Check our website or our Twitter feed starting on Saturday night for updates.

We have two multitrack Spa & Surf Showdown qualifiers on the Sunday docket. One is a “regular” $147 Pick & Pray with a winning ratio of 1-in-20. The other is a 1-per-8, $368 Low Ratio Pick & Pray. The grand prize in each instance is a $2,500 entry into the $300,000 Guaranteed Showdown, the all-cash conclusion to the Tourney Triple series, here on August 14-15.

Also…look for a full-card, Saratoga-only Spa & Surf Showdown Pick & Pray to join the Sunday listings. The price tag will likely be $147.

Sunday’s weekly guaranteed qualifier to The BIG One (Sept. 18-19) will also be a Pick & Pray. 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.

Sunday is your second chance of the weekend to compete in one of our new Del Mar Pacific Classic Challenge qualifiers. As is the case on Friday, the admission charge will be $295, the winning ratio 1-per-20, and the grand prize a $5,000 entry to the on-track/ contest on August 22.

There are $2,600 worth of entry fees up for grabs 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 that span all six of the western Kentucky track’s 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 move on with paid-up entries for the three separate contests.

A Pick & Pray qualifier to the October 16th Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge is also on the Sunday slate. 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 will be at stake on Sunday for an entry fee of $177. Your chances of winning are 1-per-20 in this Pick & Pray. The Canterbury/Xpressbet final will offer cash, 10 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entries and two 2022 NHC spots.

Of course, the NHC First Chance/Last Chance tournament at Bally’s will be a prominent component of the Sunday schedule. We’ll have a $59, 1-per-10 Pick & Pray, with the winner(s) earning $500 entries for August 26th out in Vegas on NHC Eve. And look for single-track, full-card Bally’s qualifiers on the Saratoga and Del Mar programs as well.

Enjoy another great weekend of Saratoga/Del Mar racing. We hope it is a profitable one for you. Good luck!