Even though the memories of David Wolff’s victory last weekend in the fourth annual Flo-Cal Faceoff are still fresh, it’s already time to turn the page and focus on Leg 2 of the 2023 Tourney Triple—the $350,000 Guaranteed Players here on April 7-8.
In addition to having a higher (by $100,000) guaranteed purse, the Players Championship differs from the Flo-Cal Faceoff in a couple of other ways.
Instead of being an all-mandatory tourney with just two tracks, the Players Championship contest races will—more than likely—come from four tracks and, this time, participants won’t be playing every race. Each day, players get 30 races to choose from, and each day they will make 15 mythical win-and-place picks from those 30. It’s what we call an “All Optional Live” tourney.
One other difference that’s more specific to this year: The Players Championship will encompass Blue Grass/Wood Memorial/Santa Anita Derby weekend. However, that Sunday is Easter Sunday…so, as was the case a couple of years ago, the Players Championship will be contested on a Friday and Saturday, rather than a Saturday and Sunday.
The buy-in for the Players Championship is $2,000, but, starting on Saturday, you can earn a seat to it for $156 in one of our 1-per-15 feeders.
If Saturday represents a new opportunity, then Friday marks a final opportunity—to qualify for the following day’s Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship. A “Last Chance” play-in to that high-end bankroll contest (playable at Xpressbet or at Gulfstream) is one of five featured tourneys on our Friday featured bill of fare.
The Pegasus qualifier is a Pick & Pray that rewards winners with a $6,000 entry fee plus an extra $500…just in case you elect to make a last-minute trip to Gulfstream. It costs $384 to play, and one of every 20 entrants will prosper.
The featured cash game on Friday is our $15,000 Guaranteed, No Limit Pick & Pray, which serves as the day’s HT Tour event. The entry fee here is $190.
There will be a qualifier on each day of the weekend for the February 10-11 Tampa Bay Downs High Rollers Contest (an on-track-only tournament) and the March 9 NHC First Chance/Last Chance contest at Horseshoe Las Vegas.
The Tampa Bay High Rollers Contest is a two-day affair on Friday and Saturday, February 10 and 11. Those who win Friday’s $80, 1-per-15 Pick & Pray will secure a $1,000 entry to play at the suburban Tampa track.
The NHC First Chance/Last Chance qualifier requires an entry fee of $59. One of every 10 participants will scoop up a $500 berth to play in the popular NHC Eve appetizer.
The stand-alone Friday feature at HorsePlayers is a $75 NHC qualifier.
Two seats are guaranteed in this Pick & Pray, which has a winning ratio of 1-per-143 and also offers a good amount of NHC Tour points (which can be extra important at this time of year). Entries are limited to three per person. Remember—you must be a 2022 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 NTRA.com for a $50 membership fee.
Contest races for the Friday featured tourneys at both HorseTourneys and HorsePlayers are the 8th through 10th from Gulfstream; the 6th and 7th at Aqueduct; races 1 and 4 from Santa Anita; and the 7th through 9th at Tampa Bay Downs—10 races in all.
Saturday is Pegasus World Cup Day at Gulfstream—and a pretty good day here as well!
The highlight in many people’s minds will be the aforementioned qualifier to the $350,000 Guaranteed Players Championship. Again, it carries an entry fee of $156, and one of every 20 in this Live-format play-in will get a $2,000 entry for the middle leg of the 2023 Tourney Triple.
Some may consider the Saturday highlight to be our $30,000 Guaranteed cash tourney because it’s our richest game of the week (and also an HT Tour event). It’s a Live-format test with an entry fee of $350.
Another rather lucrative Saturday cash game is our Big Bucks tourney, which is a Pick & Pray and offers a $10,000 purse guarantee. It’s an “up-to-$20,000” get-together with entries—at $1,150 each— limited to 20. 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.
As promised, there will again be qualifiers on Saturday for the February 10-11 Tampa Bay Downs High Rollers Contest and the March 9 NHC First Chance/Last Chance tournament. Note that, unlike their Friday counterparts, these two will be run in Live format.
Over at HorsePlayers, the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and NHC share the featured-tourney stage.
The BCBC game is a $179 Pick & Pray with a winning ratio is 1-per-65. At least one $10,000 BCBC will be awarded regardless of how many (or few) sign up.
Saturday’s NHC qualifying opportunity is also a Pick & Pray. It has a price tag of $165, the winning ratio is 1-per-65 and two seats to the big dance in Vegas are guaranteed.
The 12 contest races for Saturday are the 6th through 8th from Aqueduct; the 9th through 13th (all graded stakes) on the Pegasus Day card at Gulfstream; and races 7 through 10 at Tampa Bay Downs. Closing time is scheduled to be 2:53 pm ET, and the final race of the 12 will be the 12-horse Pegasus World Cup, which has a published post time of 5:40 pm ET.
On Sunday, there’s another Players Championship qualifier.
It’s the same deal as on Saturday—$156 entry fee, Live format, 1-per-15 winning ratio and winners get a $2,000 entry into the $350,000 Guaranteed tourney here in April.
The Sunday HT Tour skirmish is our $20,000 Guaranteed No Limit tourney. It’s a $250 Live-format game.
For the third straight day, there are direct qualifiers to the NHC First Chance/Last Chance tournament, and the Tampa Bay Downs High Rollers Contest. These Sunday versions will be run in Live Format (just like they were on Saturday).
Our Sunday Big Bucks tourney is always a Live-format proposition. It has a purse guaranteed at a minimum of $7,000, though that could go to $20,000 if we reach our maximum entry capacity of 20. Entries cost $1,150 and payouts go strictly to the top three finishers on a 70/20/10 basis.
The three features on Sunday at HorsePlayers are all Pick & Prays.
One of them is a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio qualifier. The entry fee is $500; the winning ratio is 1-per-23; and at least one $10,000 seat will awarded no matter what.
There are two NHC qualifiers on the schedule. One is a $500 Low Ratio game. It carries a winning ratio of 1-per-21, but it will only go forward if we attract at least 10 entries. Note that, per NHC Tour rules, NHC Tour points will only be handed out if there are enough entries (in this case, 42) to award two seats.
The other NHC qualifier is a $165 tussle that guarantees at least two seats regardless of participation. The winning ratio here is 1-per-65.
Good luck to all our valued HorseTourneys qualifiers who will be representing us on Saturday at the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship and at the Sam Houston NHC qualifier. We also appreciate the players who play in our $1 tourneys. We like to think that we have something for everyone. One thing is for sure—no matter the stakes, there’s nothing like seeing your name at the top of the leaderboard. This weekend, we hope that’s you.