Belmont Stakes Day to Offer 11 Featured Events, Including One $30,000 Gtd. Cash Game, Two $10,000 Gtd. Cash Tourneys and a $100 Qualifier to The BIG One

Assuming the smoke finally clears, Saturday will be Belmont Stakes Day, and you can breathe easy knowing that there will be ample opportunities here to win big money or seats to lucrative future tourneys (when the air quality figures to play a less prominent role).

There’s also plenty to play for on Belmont Stakes Eve when five marquee games are on the menu—three here and two at HorsePlayers.

The first of four weekend HT Tour events is Friday’s $15,000 Guaranteed, No Limit Pick & Pray. The entry fee is $190.

Friday is your last chance to earn a $1,500 seat for the following day’s Belmont Stakes Challenge to be played at Xpressbet or Santa Anita . One of every 15 entrants, at $118 per entry, will do just that in this Pick & Pray.

On each day of Belmont Stakes Weekend, you can take a swing at qualifying for the August 5-6 Spa & Surf Showdown here at HorseTourneys. The “Showdown” is the $400,000 Guaranteed final leg of the 2023 Tourney Triple. The entry fee on Friday (and Saturday and Sunday as well) is $147, with one of every 20 participants taking home a $2,500 spot in the prestigious tourney that involves two days of play on all the races at Saratoga (Spa) and Del Mar (Surf). The format on Friday is Pick & Pray.

At HorsePlayers, the two featured tourneys are both Friday favorites.

One is a $75 NHC Pick & Pray, in which two seats to the March 2024 big dance are certain. The winning ratio is 1-per-143.

The Friday HorsePlayers co-feature is a $500 Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Pick & Pray. At least one $10,000 seat will definitely be awarded regardless of participation. The winning ratio in this one is 1-per-23.

There will be 11 featured-tourney races (rather than the customary 10) this Friday. They are the 8th and 9th from Gulfstream; the 3rd through 8th at Santa Anita; and the 9th through 11th (all graded stakes) from Belmont. (And to those of you wondering…yes, we are hedging by using just three from Belmont so that we can still go forward with the schedule in case Belmont has to cancel again.)

Most of our Belmont Stakes Day featured tourneys will be run in Live format. Three of the day’s 11 premier competitions are cash games

As is the case on most Saturdays, we’ll be hosting a $30,000 Guaranteed No Limit game. The entry fee is $350, and it’s an NHC Tour event.

Since it’s Belmont Stakes Day, we’re adding a $10,000 Guaranteed No Limit Pick & Pray. This one carries an entry fee of $260, and it, too, is an HT Tour game.

The day’s other cash feature is Saturday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray. Entries are $1,150 each, with the winner earning 70 percent of the net pool, the runner up getting 20 percent, and the third-place taking home the remaining 10 percent. Entries are capped at 20, and if we reach that number, the total purse will exceed $20,000.

The day’s other Pick & Pray is a $165 NHC qualifier. Two seats are guaranteed in this 1-per-65 affair.

The remaining Saturday features are all Live-format tests, including a special $100 qualifier to the October 21-22 The BIG One at Laurel Park. Note that this tourney must reach its 100-entry capacity in order for it to “go.” It’s a chance to earn a spot in October’s small-field, big-prize contest without having to put up a $500 entry fee (as will be the case in Sunday’s guaranteed qualifier to The BIG One). The winner gets a full hotel and amenities package in Maryland plus $500…which you can put towards your airfare if you wish.

For $384, you can play in our weekly qualifier to the July 29-30 Del Mar Summer Challenge. One of every 20 entrants will earn a $6,500 package ($6,000 entry fee plus $500 travel stipend) for the on-track-only, live-bankroll tournament in sunny Southern California.

Also on the Saturday bill of fare is a $118, Live-format play-in to the Hawthorne Spring NHC qualifiers. One of every 10 participants will pick up $1,000 in entry fees for the two contests (hosted in a handful of area OTBs) on June 24-25. 

Now June 24-25 is technically not part of Spring…it’s part of Summer. This is a fact not lost on the folks at Lone Star Park where, on June 24, they’ll be hosting the Lone Star Summer Betting Challenge. If you risk $79, you can win a $1,000 seat to it in this 1-per-15 qualifier.

A play-in to the new Delaware Handicapping Contest, the William Moore Classic, is also on tap this Saturday. Entries cost $59 each, and one of every 10 will bag a $500 entry for the on-track contest in Stanton, Del., on July 15. 

For the second straight day, we’ll have a $147 qualifier to the Spa & Surf Showdown. Unlike on Friday, the format this time around will be Live.

The Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge has the featured-tourney stage to itself on Belmont Stakes Day at HorsePlayers.

The tourney in question is a $179, Live-format BCBC qualifier. At least one $10,000 berth is certain to be won in this 1-per-65 battle.

Saturday’s dozen contest races are the 8th through 13th (including five Grade I stakes) from Belmont; the 2nd, 6th and 7th at Santa Anita; and races 10, 11 and 12 from Gulfstream. Closing time is slated to be 3:42 pm ET.

This year’s Belmont Stakes will be televised for the first time on FOX—and you’ll feel sly as a fox if you win one of our seven Sunday features while others are resting up from the long day on Saturday.

The day’s HT Tour skirmish is a Live-format, $20,000 Guaranteed cash tourney. The cost to play is $250.

There’s another Big Bucks game on Sunday, though unlike Saturday’s, this one will be waged in Live format. The Sunday high-end tourney guarantees a purse of at least $7,000. Again, payouts go just to the top three finishers on a 70/20/10 basis. A maximum of 20 entries (at $1,150 each) will be accepted—and if we get that many, the purse will exceed $20,000.

There’s a guaranteed qualifier on Sunday for The BIG One. The entry fee is $500, and a coveted berth will definitely be bestowed regardless of how many sign up. Note that the runner up in these Sunday qualifiers to The BIG One get a $500 consolation rebate. Also note that The BIG One is an all-cash event this year, and the field will once again be no more than 57…all playing just one entry each. (If there were more than 57, we wouldn’t be able to afford all the crab cakes for everyone.)

For the third straight day, you can try to secure your place in the $400,000 Guaranteed Spa & Surf Showdown. Win and you’ll have lots of action—and the potential to earn lots of money—on August 5-6.

We’ll also have another play-in to the Delaware Handicapping Contest (concomitantly dubbed the William Moore Classic) on July 15. 

Your final weekend chances to qualify for the NHC and the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge exist over at HorsePlayers.

The NHC game is a Live-format, $165 qualifier with two spots guaranteed. The winning ratio is 1-in-65.

The BCBC square-off is a $500, Live-format, Low-Ratio affair with a winning ratio of 1-per-23. One $10,000 seat is guaranteed to be in the prize pool even if just you and your weird uncle sign up.

One personal note: While I was on vacation last week, I crossed an item off my bucket list by going to Alaska. I have now been to all 50 states. I don’t know why this gives me satisfaction, but it does. (And, no, I don’t count airports as having been to a state.) Our country is definitely a pretty great place, though—even when the air isn’t quite as clear and crisp as it is in our 49th state.

I hope you cross an item or two off your 2023 bucket list in this weekend’s tourneys. Good luck!