Three Qualifiers This Weekend for The BIG One—Which Figures to Be a Seriously Overlaid Contest Opportunity.

If you’ve already qualified the October 21-22 The BIG One at Laurel Park, congratulations—in more ways than one.

Only 50 seats are available to be won online for The BIG One, which offers a guaranteed, all-cash prize pool of $200,000 for a field—even including late buy-ins—that will number no more than 57. (And only one entry per player is permitted.)

On top of the all-cash purse, there are a lot of “extras” that help make things “big.” Online qualifiers get a $500 winner’s bonus, hotel accommodations, a welcome party Friday night, free breakfast at the popular and always-satisfying Bagel N’ Grinds (!), transfers between the hotel and track and full buffet and open bar each day (Saturday and Sunday) at Laurel. 

The problem—at least from the perspective of the HorseTourneys Accounting Department—is that qualifiers for The BIG One have run well short of expectations thus far. Factoring in the amenities and our purse obligation, we figure to wind up about $60,000 in the hole on the event. That’s bad news for us, but good news for players. Hence the extra layer of congratulations for those already qualified…and the reason why this weekend’s three qualifiers take on much more value than might otherwise meet the eye. The first of those three play-ins takes place on Friday.

One seat to The BIG One is guaranteed in Friday’s $500 Pick & Pray. And in addition to paying a $500 bonus to the winner, we also pay a $500 consolation prize to the runner up.

Friday’s HT Tour game is our $15,000 Guaranteed, No Limit Pick & Pray. You can play in exchange for $190.

On each day of the weekend, you can compete for a spot not just in The BIG One but in the October 14 Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge as well. The Keeneland qualifiers carry an entry fee of $275, with one of every 15 entrants earning a $3,500 seat. Friday’s qualifier is a Pick & Pray.

At HorsePlayers on Friday, there are (as per usual) Pick & Pray qualifiers to the NHC and the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge.

You can play in the NHC Pick & Pray for $75, and it will award at least two seats to next big dance in Vegas. The winning ratio is 1-per-143.

An upfront risk of $500 will gain you entry into Friday’s Low Ratio Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Pick & Pray. The winning ratio is 1-per-23, and at least one $10,000 seat will be awarded regardless of participation.

The 10 contest races on Friday are the 5th, 7th and 8th from Gulfstream; the 6th through 9th at Del Mar; and the 7th through 9th from “Belmont at Aqueduct.”

On Saturday, there are seven featured tourneys at HorseTourneys/HorsePlayers. Two are Pick & Prays and five will be contested in Live format.

One of the two Saturday Pick & Prays is our Big Bucks game, which has a $7,000 guaranteed this week and carries an entry fee of $1,150. Total entries are limited to 20, with the winner earning 70 percent of the net pool, the runner up getting 20 percent, and the third-place contestant grabbing the remaining 10 percent. If we happen to reach the maximum entry count of 20, the total purse will top $20,000.

The other Pick & Pray on the board is the day’s guaranteed play-in to The BIG One. As noted at the top, it’s well worthwhile winning it.

Saturday’s HT Tour skirmish is our $30,000 Guaranteed game. The price of entry is $350.

Also on tap on Saturday (and again on Sunday) is a $314, Live-format play-in to the Santa Anita Opening Weekend Challenge on September 30-October 1. Winners (1-per-15) earn a $4,000 spot that is playable on-track or at Xpressbet.

As alluded to earlier, there will be another qualifier on Saturday to the Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge. Once again, the entry fee to this 1-per-15 affair is $275.

Seats for the NHC and the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge are what will be fought for on Saturday at HorsePlayers.

The NHC get together is a $165 Live-format competition with two seats guaranteed. The winning ratio is 1-per-65.

The same winning ratio applies to Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier. The price of admission here is $179, and at least one $10,000 entry is certain to be won.

The 12 contest races for Saturday are the 6th through 11th (five of them stakes) from Pimlico; the 5th, 7th, 8th and 9th at Belmont at Aqueduct; and the 6th and 8th from Gulfstream. Closing time is slated for 3:10 pm ET when races are scheduled to go off at both Pimlico and Aqueduct. As always, you are urged to get your selections in early to avoid getting shut out.

Seven more features come your way on Sunday—all of them Live-format games.   

The day’s opportunity to qualify for the 2024 NHC takes place here at HorseTourneys on Sunday in the form of a “regular,” $165 two-seater. The winning ratio is 1-per-65.

Sunday’s HT Tour tilt is our $20,000 Guaranteed game. The entry fee is $250.

We’ll have another $7,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney on Sunday. Payouts go just to the top three, and the format is Live. It’s $1,150 to play.

Sunday is the second straight day of qualifying for the Santa Anita Opening Weekend Challenge. The same price point and winning ratio from Saturday apply here on Sunday.

For the third consecutive day, you can compete for seats in the Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Challenge and The BIG One. The Keeneland qualifier costs $275 to play, while the qualifier for The BIG One again calls for an investment of $500.

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

Occupying that stage will be a $500 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Low Ratio play-in. The ground rules are the same as on Friday—$500 entry fee, 1-per-23 winning ratio and one seat guaranteed.

Whether you focus on our featured cash games, qualifiers to The BIG One…or just a couple of little ones, we wish you good fun this weekend—and good luck too.