First Qualifiers to the $250,000 Gtd. Flo-Cal Faceoff, the Hawthorne Thanksgiving Contests, the Lone Star December Betting Challenge and the 2024 BCBC This Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Even though the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge is barely in our rear-view mirror, it’s time to look forward—not backward—and focus on getting to some important upcoming events.

The date for the 2024 Flo-Cal Faceoff here at HorseTourneys has been set for January 21-22. Annually consisting of two days of full-card selections from Gulfstream (Flo) and Santa Anita (Cal), the Flo-Cal Faceoff will guarantee an all-cash prize pool of $250,000, and you can get a $1,500 seat to it for $118 in qualifiers we’ll be hosting on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday (and Sunday too), you can also take a swing at landing $1,000 worth of entry fees to the Hawthorne Thanksgiving Contests this November 25-26. The $1,000 credit that winners earn will cover them for both the Saturday and Sunday single-day contests in Chicagoland.

The Sunday schedule contains a pair of “firsts.” For an entry fee of $79, you can shoot for a $1,000 seat in the December 2 Lone Star December Betting Challenge (known throughout the Dallas Metroplex as the LSDBC). There’s also a Sunday qualifier at HorsePlayers to a slightly more familiar acronym—the BCBC. Yes, it’s already time for our first 2024 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge play-in. It will be a Low Ratio affair with a buy-in of $500.

The above all helps to make up a weekend slate of 18 featured events. The first four of the 18 take place on Friday.

The weekend isn’t all about new qualifiers. There are some old ones too! And also an assortment of popular cash games. The Friday HT Tour event is our $15,000 Guaranteed, No Limit Pick & Pray. An investment of $190 will get you a seat at the cybertable.

The first of three weekend Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifiers is on the Friday menu. It’s $118 to play in Friday’s Pick & Pray and one of every 15 entrants will receive $1,500 entries for January 21-22. This past January, David Wolff of Holmdel, N.J., won $187,425 for capturing the Flo-Cal Faceoff.

Another Friday qualifier is that for the November 25th Del Mar Fall Handicapping Challenge. This Del Mar contest can be played either on-track or at, and if you win Friday’s $236, 1-per-15 play-in, you will have the happy duty of deciding where you want to play your $3,000 entry. If you don’t win Friday’s Del Mar qualifier…then you can try again on Saturday and/or Sunday.

The lone marquee game at HorsePlayers on Friday is—you guessed it—a $75 NHC qualifier.

Two seats are guaranteed in this Pick & Pray, which has a winning ratio of 1-per-143 and also offers plenty of NHC Tour points as an added bonus. Entries are limited to three per person. Remember—you must be a 2023 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 10 contest races on Friday are the 7th through 9th from Aqueduct; the 8th and 9th at Gulfstream; the 5th and 6th from Horseshoe Indianapolis; and races 4, 5 and 6 on the opening day card at Del Mar. 

Six more features are on the Saturday schedule of events—all of them Pick & Prays.

The most lucrative tourney of the week is Saturday’s $25,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray. It’s a No-Limit skirmish with an entry fee of $350, and the game is also an HT Tour event.

The other Saturday cash feature is our $7,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray, which carries an entry fee of $1,150. Total entries are limited to 20, with the winner getting 70 percent of the net pool, the runner up pocketing 20 percent, and the third-place contestant picking up the remaining 10 percent. If we reach the maximum entry count of 20, the total purse will exceed $20,000.

Saturday is your first day in which to qualify for the Hawthorne Thanksgiving Contests. The barrier to entry is $118, the winning ratio is 1-per-10 and the objective is $1,000 worth of entry fees for the Saturday and Sunday contests in the Chicago area. (There will be another $118 Hawthorne Pick & Pray on Sunday as well.)

The NHC qualifying opportunity is here at HorseTourneys. It comes in the form of a 2-seats-guaranteed Pick & Pray with an entry fee of $165 and a winning ratio of 1-per-65.

Saturday is also the second of three straight days of qualifying for the $250,000 Guaranteed Flo-Cal Faceoff and the Del Mar Fall Handicapping Challenge. Both are Pick & Prays, and the entry fees are once again $118 (for the Flo-Cal) and $236 (for Del Mar).

The 12 contest races for Saturday are the 8th through 11th from Gulfstream; the 9th and 10th at Aqueduct; and the 4th through 9th at Del Mar. Closing time is scheduled to be 3:34 pm ET.

The first qualifier to the December 2 Lone Star December Betting Challenge is one of eight marquee games on Sunday.

At stake in the Lone Star Pick & Pray play-in is a $1,000 seat. To participate, you must put up a $79 entry fee. One of every 15 entrants will move on to the December 2nd on-track contest. 

If you’ve read this far, you already know that we’ll have Sunday qualifiers to the $250,000 Guaranteed Flo-Cal Faceoff, the Del Mar Fall Handicapping Challenge and the Hawthorne Thanksgiving Contests. All of these will be Pick & Prays. 

Shifting to the cash-game front, another Sunday Pick & Pray is our HT Tour event, our $20,000 Gtd., No Limit cash tourney. You can purchase an entry to it for $250.

We switch to Live format for Sunday’s $7,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney. It’s $1,150 to test your skill in this one, and payouts go only to the top three finishers on a 70/20/10 percent basis.

There are two featured tourneys at HorsePlayers, including our first qualifier to the 2024 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge.

Win this $500, 1-per-23 BCBC qualifier and you’ll have something good to look forward to for almost a full year. The format is Pick & Pray, and one $10,000 seat is guaranteed to be awarded regardless of participation.

Sharing the Sunday featured-tourney stage at HorsePlayers is a “regular” NHC qualifier with two seats certain. This winning ratio in this $165 Pick & Pray is 1-per-65. 

Enjoy opening weekend at the track where the turf meets the surf—and good luck to all those of you who will be dipping your toes in the tourney waters over the next few days. We hope it’s a winning weekend for you.