Veteran Tournament Player Streiff Crushes Del Mar Contest Field

Mark Streiff of Mission Viejo, CA, crushed race 9 in the Del Mar Fall Challenge (Nov. 11, 2018) to finish well clear of the 60 other entries. Streiff, down to $1,300 going into the last race scored huge with a series of trifecta wagers keyed by two longshots in first and third paying over $52,000. Dan Kaplan from Las Vegas finished second with a $100 late double for an $18,000 payout. Players began the contest with a $3,000 live money bankroll in the two-day Challenge.

Overall prizes included nearly $50,000 in cash, three $10,000 entries in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and three entries in the 2019 $2.5 million National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). The Challenge buy-in was $4,500 with $3,000 going to the player bankroll and $1,500 to the prize pool. 100% of the prize pool was distributed back to the prizewinners with Del Mar adding a $1 million bonus opportunity which will be paid to Streiff if he goes on to win the BCBC.

In addition to Streiff’s $52,812 in bankroll winnings, he receives $30,000 in cash, a $10,000 BCBC entry plus the $1 million bonus opportunity.

PLACE   NAME    FINAL BANKROLL    PRIZES
1 Mark Streiff $52,812 ($30,000 cash and BCBC entry)
2 Dan Kaplan $19,000 ($12,500 cash and BCBC entry)
3 Mikael Christen $15,875 ($4,000 cash and BCBC entry)
4 Mark Deaton $12,720 ($2,000 cash, NHC entry & $1,000 travel)
5 Anthony Mattera $12,460 (NHC entry & $1,000 travel)
6 Davis Basler $9,163 (NHC entry & $1,000 travel)
7 Shawn Turner $8,106
8 Ed Spaunhurst $6,250
9 Linda Rodriguez $5,190
10 Chris Podratz $4,141

Source: Del Mar

What a Birthday for the Defending BetPTC Handicapper of the Year

John F. and his much better half, wife Cheryl

John F., defending BetPTC Handicapper of the Year (2017), celebrated his birthday in horseracing style. John overcame an almost insurmountable lead from Day One leader Scott C. ($5,875; +2250%) to win the 2018 BetPTC Cash is King X Finals.

Besides retaining his Handicapper of the Year title by finishing first for the second consecutive year, John garnered the coveted $12,000 Pegasus Cup Betting Challenge entry.  That event is held Jan 25-26, 2019 at Gulfstream Park (and Santa Anita).  John also keeps the $9,007 in cash he won plus receives travel reimbursement ($500) and perks at the Pegasus Cup.

Although John was a respectable 2nd after Day One ($2,457; +810.19%), Carson’s +2,250% ROI score was imposing. With a big hit at Gulfstream Park West on Sunday, John concluded his weekend with a 2-day total of $9,007; a +1632.12% ROI that put him narrowly on top.

As a 9 time-NHC qualifier, John is looking forward to not only the exciting and challenging Pegasus contest hosted by the Stronach group in late Jan, but also participating again in the $3M NHC contest in Las Vegas in early February.

For his second-place finish, Scott C. earned the $2,000 cash prize plus kept his $8,555 in winnings for a tremendous weekend of handicapping and betting.  3rd place went to Albert T. ($3,304, +278.47%), good for $1,000 in prize money. 4th place was Peter M. ($1,320, +161.41%) and 5th place was Ellis S. ($1,489, +45.75%).  Both Peter and Ellis won $500 cash.  6th place finisher was Andrew W. ($740, +32.62%), and 7th went to David V. ($1,211, +21.42%).  Each received $250 cash.

Congratulations to all 39 contestants who qualified and competed in this year’s 15-week Cash is King contest and Nov Finals.  To learn more about BetPTC and how you can receive a Custom Rewards Schedule via AGOS, click here.

A bonus contest event is being held this Friday for the 7 participants who finished in the top 3 three or more times during the 15-week contest.  An additional $3,000 in prizes will be awarded in that special event.

 

Real Money contestAbout Premier Turf Club (BetPTC)

Premier Turf Club is a U.S. based pari-mutuel account wagering provider that has been in business over 10 years.  BetPTC is regulated in the state of Oregon by the Oregon Racing Commission.

The company provides legal telephone and online betting services, safely and securely handling over $350 million in wagers.  In the summer of 2017, BetPTC released a mobile-friendly wagering platform at BetPTC.mobi.

Unlike the non-pari-mutuel off-shore bookmakers, BetPTC pays the tracks for the right to accept simulcast wagers on their races and co-mingle those wagers with the on-track pari-mutuel pools. Unlike the off-shore ADWs, a portion of all monies wagered through Premier Turf Club go to the horsemen and the local racetracks. It’s these payments that allow horsemen to run meets at Portland Meadows, country fairs and various racetracks throughout the United States.

The owner of Premier Turf Club started out in the racing industry as a horse owner and bettor. The BetPTC staff includes horse owners, bettors and industry professionals that have been involved in advance deposit wagering and simulcasting since their inceptions. The site is designed by horseplayers for horseplayers.

 

KY Handicapper Chuck Grubbs Wins 2018 BCBC Tournament

breeders cup 2010LEXINGTON, Ky. (November 6, 2018) – Chuck Grubbs of Georgetown, Kentucky, cashed more than $87,000 in winning wagers on the Breeders’ Cup Classic, jumping from 31st place to the top of the leaderboard to win the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) at last weekend’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

Grubbs finished with a total score of 94,020 and with a first place prize of $300,000, had total winnings of $394,020, besting second-place finisher Ed Abel of West Des Moines, Iowa, who had 86,330 points and combined with his second-place prize of $200,000 had total winnings of 286,330.

The 10th Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, Thoroughbred racing’s biggest live money tournament, was held November 2-3 at Churchill Downs and from official satellite locations at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey and Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, and online at participating ADW sites.

In the BCBC each player was required to fund a $2,500 buy-in and a $7,500 betting bankroll ($10,000 total). All buy-in monies were applied to the prize pool, making the total prize pool $977,500. Players made real wagers (Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta and Daily Double) with their $7,500 bankroll on 21 races over the two days and kept all monies earned from their wagering. Top prizes were $300,000 for first, $200,000 for second and $100,000 for third.

Complete tournament results are available at http://www.breederscup.com/bcbc/leaderboard.

“You always dream about winning but this tournament is so hard,” said Grubbs, 51, a Standard-bred owner, who grew up in Grove City, Ohio betting harness races at Scioto Downs and Lebanon Raceway outside Columbus, and was playing in his sixth BCBC. “There are 391 entrants and you’ve got to beat 390 of them – the best of the best – and I have so much respect for all of these guys. So to beat them on the biggest stage is quite an accomplishment.”

Going into the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday, the final race of the BCBC, Grubbs was in 31st place with a $15,000 bankroll. He strategized that Accelerate and Gunnevera were going to be his key horses, starting with a $6,080 win bet on Accelerate. “In my mind I knew Accelerate was the best horse on paper, but thought he would be 7-5 or 8-5, not 5-2,” Grubbs recalled about the Classic favorite. “People may have shied away from him because Sadler (Accelerate’s trainer, John Sadler) had never won a Breeders’ Cup race. But I thought he was an overlay at 5-2 so I took advantage of that price.”

Accelerate paid $7.40 to win.

Grubbs also made two $40 Trifecta wagers using Accelerate and Gunnevera and Accelerate and Mind Your Biscuits in the first two positions. “Gunnevera was very consistent, not in winning, but he was always in the money,” said Grubbs. “I thought he would make a strong run in the stretch and he did.” Gunnevera finished one length behind Accelerate for second. Thunder Snow completed the trifecta, and Grubbs earned $64,000. Combined with win bet on Accelerate, he pushed his bankroll to $94,020 and the BCBC title.

“I was sitting in the Jockey Club Suites (at Churchill Downs), and when I found out I had the top score the place went crazy”, Grubbs recalled. “The thrill of celebrating with loved ones is something I wish all horseplayers could feel. I thought of my dad, who I lost 20 years ago. He would say to me about playing the races, ‘Boy you need to get a real job.’ And I would say, ‘But dad, I’m good at this job.’”

BCBC Participation and Handle

· Averaging wagering for each BCBC player in 2018 was $12,512 compared to $12,161 in 2017.
· The Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge on track handle at Churchill Downs was $2,487,670 or 12.52% of on track handle during Breeders’ Cup weekend.

This year’s BCBC awarded 15 automatic berths into the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship, February 8-10, in Las Vegas.

About Breeders’ Cup

The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 races (13 Grade 1 events) with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, was held on November 2-3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Source: Breeders’ Cup

There’s No Question Who the Best Real-Money Tournament Player Is

Tommy Massis relaxing back home at Woodbine

It’s This Guy

I was one of the guys who got crushed by The Hammer, the best real-money tournament player in the country.  Tommy Massis of Toronto is not only the King of Keeneland Contests but also the one to fear most in any real-money tournament.  On Sunday (10/14/18) in Lexington Kentucky, he placed a $1,000 win bet on 19-1 shot Bella Noire in Keeneland’s 4th race to claim another real-money victory at Keeneland.  Tommy’s winning total of $20,800 bested 2nd place finisher Blake Jessee by nearly $8,000.

Tommy loves Keeneland, with good reason.  He won the Breeders’ Cup Betting Championship (BCBC) at Keeneland in 2015, and this is his second win in a big Keeneland live money contest.  For his most recent victory, in addition to his final bankroll, he takes home $30,000, a fully paid $10,000 berth in the BCBC at Churchill Downs, and a fully paid entry plus expenses into the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas.

According to the Keeneland press release, Tommy played the tournament from the Green Room at Keeneland, and when Bella Noire stormed down the stretch he jumped up and declared, “You have a new leader!”

The $3,000 buy-in tournament drew 167 entries and awarded BCBC and NHC spots to the top five finishers, NHC spots to places 6 through 8, and prize money to 15th place.

Three years ago I got the pleasure of interviewing The Hammer, so check out the link below to view Tommy’s insight into his first real-money tournament score at Keeneland:

Interview with Tommy Massis

Months after this interview, The Hammer turned around and won the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Betting Championship (BCBC) by absolutely crushing the exacta in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.  A couple weeks later he won the Del Mar real-money tournament, taking down another grand prize and leaving his competition in the dust.

It was truly the year of The Hammer, and this past weekend proved that he is still pounding his competition, and making some men (like myself) look like boys.  Great job Tommy!

 

Did You Miss This Gem?

How to Win a Handicapping Tournament

How to Win a Handicapping Tournament

By Rich Nilsen

For the last 10 years or more, the handicapping tournaments in the horse racing world have been all the rage.  The popularity has increased with each passing year, and the overall tournament landscape has changed significantly.  Whereas in the past nearly all contests featured a $2 win/place format using mythical money, the larger real-money tournaments have now taken over.  The good news is that there is still something for everyone.  There are small entry-level contests where the buy-in may be as a low as $9, and there are huge tournaments where you need $10,000 or more to get in the front door.

Handicapping tournaments are a lot of fun, but to win one you have to be more than just a good handicapper.  You have to be prepared and have a plan.  Today we’ll look at the steps I believe you need in order to succeed in horse racing contests.  Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences at the end on what you think it takes to win a handicapping tournament.

REALLY KNOW THE RULES

Yes, that seems pretty obvious.  But understanding the basic rules and really knowing the rules are two different things.  There are many contests out there that have ‘fine details’ and those fine details can be the difference between winning and losing.

I highly recommend reading through the rules of an upcoming contest multiple times.  In doing so, you may just catch something you missed the first time around.  For example, in 2016 I was fortunate to win into the Kentucky Derby Betting Championship, a brand new, real-money contest that featured a $20,000 buy-in.  You had to bet a certain amount of money on a minimum number of Churchill Downs races on both Friday and Saturday of Kentucky Derby weekend.  What could easily be missed in the rules is that you could wager LESS than the required amount on any given race.

This omission was actually significant.  Why?  The reason being that you could take a swing at a race that maybe you didn’t want to go all-in on per the minimum race requirements.  So, instead of wagering the required $400 minimum, for example, you could take a shot with $50-100 in bets.  If you lost, no big deal.  If you hit an exacta or trifecta that paid well, this could help you make a move on the leaderboard.  If you sat out the race entirely, because you failed to understand the rule, and then a horse you were strongly considering won, this could also wreck havoc on your mental game.

There are other contests where if you fail to make a bet or meet the minimum requirements, you’re disqualified.  I’ve seen this happen even to veteran tournament players.  By reading the rules and really understanding the ins and outs of the contest, you’re much less likely to make a critical mistake.

FOLLOW THE CONTEST TRACK(S)

In the week leading up to a contest that features specific tracks, you should definitely follow the action at those tracks in the days prior.   There are several benefits to doing that.  For one you may catch on to a prevailing track bias.  You may notice certain trainers or jockeys that are ice cold, or red-hot for that matter.

You may also notice a horse that was victorious who ran against a horse entered on the upcoming contest date. That happened to me many years ago when I was involved in a handicapping tournament in Kentucky.  The day before the contest, I had wagered on a horse that won impressively at Keeneland and had done so at nice odds.  The following day a runner that had been very competitive with that winning horse was entered to run.  The horse made sense to me, for a variety of reasons, and I knew he was coming out of a sneaky good race.  He crushed the field and scored at 50-1 odds!  I had him in the contest and, although I didn’t win the grand prize, I was among the top finishers at the conclusion of the contest.

BE AGGRESSIVE

It’s very hard to win a contest with a conservative approach.  Playing the favorites, for example, throughout the majority of the card isn’t going to get you into the winner’s circle very often.  You may feel good cashing several races, but it simply won’t ‘cut it.’

I’m not suggesting that you just take stabs at big longshots.  However, it is advisable to find some value plays that make sense and can propel you up the leaderboard if you’re right.  Just a couple of victorious 6-1 shots can oftentimes put you in the hunt to win a tournament.

If you’re playing a tournament with mandatory races, then everyone is required to play the same race(s).  If a big price comes in, unless it’s a very small field of players, someone is going to have the longshot, and you’re toast.

The chances of just picking the logical favorites and being successful in most tournaments is low, as this player found out a few years ago.

How not to play a contest

In this live, online tournament featuring 10 mandatory races, there were 105 players and the top 12 won prizes.  This player had an awesome day, selecting six winners in a row!  The problem was that only one of those winners paid more than 2-1 and that was the 4-1 winning selection at Hawthorne.  Unfortunately for this sharp handicapper, a big price came in late in the tournament and blew him and his great day out of the water.  He plummeted to 15th place, out of the prize spots.  SIX winners in a row in a 10-race contest against only 104 other entries, and he finished completely out of the money.  Incredible.

MAP OUT YOUR CONTEST PLAYS

When you enter a contest, whether it’s on-track or online, you should handicap and make your selections (or structure your wagers) as far in advance of the first race as possible.  Then, check the scratches when they get posted and make appropriate revisions.

If you enter a contest and just plan to ‘wing it’ at the event, or during the online contest, I wish you the best of luck. To me, one of the worst aspects of ‘winging’ a contest and playing it as it goes, is that you are not prepared for the later races.  And, more times than not, the later races will play the biggest part in determining the final results.

My friend Paul Shurman, who is currently leading the NHC Tour (again), explained his thoughts on this in an interview with Eric Wing: “I think you need to have handicapped all the races before you enter the room. You have to know what you like later on in the day to know whether what you’re looking at right now represents good contest value. I also handicap backwards. I’ll start at the end of the card and work my way to the beginning. This way, if I don’t finish, and I wind up having to handicap on the fly, at least I’ll be handicapping on the fly early, knowing what I like later.”

The other benefit of mapping our picks or wagers ahead of time is that you are more likely to stick to your guns.  How many times have you heard a player say, “every time I change a pick, it loses,” or “I should have stuck with my original pick.”  I can attest that when I change my original pick it is usually a mistake.  It’s rare that I have a good reason to go against my original handicapping.

Now, of course, if there is a sudden downpour and the track has become a muddy mess, that is one example where changing your picks is not only a good idea but probably advisable (assuming you didn’t handicap for a wet track).  There are other scenarios and most are common sense.

Where it is not advisable is when you hear the paddock commentator say something negative about your selection, and so now, you’re looking at going a different direction.  Stick to your guns.  If you put a lot of work into your original selections, don’t be easily swayed from them.

SUMMARY

Winning any handicapping tournament is not easy.  Chances are you need to follow the advice presented herein and then proceed to have a really good day on top of that.  In many big contests, you also may need to catch a few breaks, e.g. winning a photo, surviving an inquiry, etc.  Winning is not easy, but if you lay the proper foundation, you enhance your chances greatly.  Best of luck!

 

Rich Nilsen handicapperRich Nilsen is the founder of A Game of Skill.  He is a 15-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) and a winner of 8 major handicapping tournaments.  He is currently ranked 6th on the new NHC Lifetime Player Rankings system.

Rich will be on the panel discussing handicapping tournaments at the Equestricon Conference in Louisville, KY.

 

5 Big Handicapping Contests from Santa Anita During the Autumn Meet

Contests are held both at Santa Anita and on their wagering site.

In addition to world class racing, Santa Anita Park and XpressBet have teamed to offer players a total of five big handicapping contests over the course of Santa Anita’s upcoming 22-day Autumn Meet. The contest series will begin on the second day of the meet, Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” day Saturday, Sept. 29.

SATURDAY, SEPT. 29: The Opening Weekend $500 Challenge

–$500 Buy-in ($300 Bankroll & $200 prizes)

–Play on-track or online with XpressBet

PRIZES (BASED ON 150 ENTRIES)

–One Entry to the 2019 Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship

–Two Entries to the 2019 National Handicapping Championship

–Two Entries to Day One of the DOUBLEHEADER on Saturday, Oct. 6 at Santa Anita

–$10,000 Cash Prize Pool to Top Four Finishers

SATURDAY, OCT. 6: The Doubleheader–Day One

–$3,000 Buy-In ($2,000 Bankroll & $1,000 Prizes)

–Play on-track or online with XpressBet

PRIZES (BASED ON 90 ENTRIES)

–One Entry to the 2019 Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship

–One Entry to the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge

–Two Entries to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship

–Two Entries to Day Two of the Doubleheader on Oct. 7 at Santa Anita

–$55,000 Cash Prize Pool to Top Five Finishers

SUNDAY, OCT. 7: The Doubleheader–Day Two

–$3,000 Buy-In ($2,000 Bankroll & $1,000 Prizes

–Play on-track or online with XpressBet

PRIZES (BASED ON 90 ENTRIES)

–Two entries to the 2019 Pegasus WCBC

–One Entry to the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge

–Two Entries to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship

–$50,000 Cash Prize Pool to the Top Five Finishers

SATURDAY, OCT. 20: The $500 Autumn Challenge

–$500 Buy-In ($300 Bankroll & $200 Prizes)

–Play on-track or online with XpressBet

PRIZES (BASED ON 200 ENTRIES)

–One Entry to the 2019 Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship

–Two Entries to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship

–$20,000 Cash Prize Pool to Top Four Finishers

SUNDAY, NOV. 4: The Closing Day Challenge

–$3,000 Buy-In ($2,000 Bankroll & $1,000 Prizes)

–Play on-track or online with XpressBet

PRIZES (BASED ON 90 ENTRIES)

–Three Entries to the 2019 World Cup Betting Championship

–Two Entries to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship

–$50,000 Cash Prize Pool to Top Five Finishers

For additional information on Santa Anita’s 2018 Autumn Meet Handicapping Contests, please visit www.santaanita.com/contests, or call, at (626) 574-6384.

Another NHC Event at Los Alamitos this Saturday

los alamitos logoThe Los Alamitos Racing Association will offer a cash prize and as many as three seats to the 2019 National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas with a live money handicapping contest Saturday, Sept. 22.

Cost to enter is $400. Of that amount, $100 will be placed in the contest prize pool with the remaining funds going towards a live-money wagering card.

Contestants must enter prior to 2 p.m. – post time for the first race – Sept. 22. Players can begin entering the contest once track gates open at 9:30 a.m. that morning.

Tournament races will include the entire card at Los Alamitos with permitted wagers including win, place, show, exactas, trifectas and daily doubles beginning in races 1-7.

Each entry must bet at least $50 per race on six races during the contest to be eligible for prizes, but there is no wagering limit.

The player with the highest bankroll at the end of the day will be declared the winner and the player with the second highest bankroll will be the runner-up.

The winner will receive 50% of the prize pool, which will be capped at $10,000. The remaining payoffs: 20% (2nd place), 15% (3rd place), 7.5% (4th place) and 7.5% (most money wagered).

Three NHC berths will be up for grabs if the contest has more than 60 entrants. If less than 60, two NHC spots will be on the line.

For complete contest rules and any questions, contact larace@losalamitos.com or phone 714-820-2690.

Source: Los Alamitos

Live-money NHC Contest at Meadowlands

This Saturday, September 15, the Meadowlands is hosting a live-money National Horseplayers Championship qualifying event with two seats up for grabs to the $2.9 million NHC Final in Las Vegas to be held February 8-10, 2019.

The Meadowlands qualifier has a $400 total fee – $200 goes toward the prize pool, estimated at $20,000 and $200 is used as contest bankroll. All entry fees will be added to the prize pool, creating the rare zero percent takeout contest format. Entry also includes a Daily Racing Program and food vouchers.

Contestants must wager on a minimum of 10 races from Belmont, Gulfstream, and/or Churchill Downs. Wagers can be win, place or show or any combination WPS on one horse per race.

Walk-up entries are accepted on the day of the contest. Multiple entries per person are allowed. Contestants must be members of the NHC Tour to qualify for one of the two NHC Final seats. The NHC Tour membership fee of $50 must be paid prior to participating in the Meadowlands qualifier.

For more information, visit the contest home page or contact Tournament Director Rachel Ryan at raryan@playmeadowlands.com or (201) 842–5015.

Los Alamitos Racing to feature Live NHC Contest 9/15

NHC Tournament at Los Alamitos Racing this Saturday

The Los Alamitos Racing Association will offer a cash prize and as many as three seats to the 2019 National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas with a live money handicapping contest Saturday, Sept. 15.

Cost to enter is $400. Of that amount, $100 will be placed in the contest prize pool with the remaining funds going towards a live-money wagering card.

NTRA NHC logoContestants must enter prior to 1 p.m. – post time for the first race – Sept. 15. Players can begin entering the contest once track gates open at 9:30 a.m. that morning.

Tournament races will include the entire card at Los Alamitos with permitted wagers including win, place, show, exactas and daily doubles beginning in races 1-5.

Each entry must bet at least $50 per race on six races during the contest to be eligible for prizes, but there is no wagering limit.

The player with the highest bankroll at the end of the day will be declared the winner and the player with the second highest bankroll will be the runner-up.

The winner will receive 50% of the prize pool, which will be capped at $10,000. The remaining payoffs: 20% (2nd place), 15% (3rd place), 7.5% (4th place) and 7.5% (most money wagered).

Three NHC berths will be up for grabs if the contest has more than 60 entrants. If less than 60, two NHC spots will be on the line.

This is the first of two NHC qualifiers to be offered during the Los Angeles County Fair meet at Los Alamitos. The second will be held Saturday, Sept. 22.

For complete contest rules and any questions, contact larace@losalamitos.com or phone 714-820-2690.

NHC Super Qualifiers by the Big Three in Horse Racing

nhc final table vegasThe New York Racing Association, Churchill Downs Inc., and The Stronach Group are set to host three brand-new “NHC Super Qualifiers” in coming months, offering dozens of berths to February’s $3 million (estimated) NTRA National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas. The live-money contests, in which players compete to turn $1,000 of their own cash into the largest nut, are set for Sept. 29 at Belmont Park, Dec. 22 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, and Jan. 5 at Santa Anita Park (or online at Xpressbet.com).

Each on-track Super Qualifier will award one NHC berth per every 15 entries, meaning roughly the top 7 percent of entrants will move on to Treasure Island Las Vegas for the world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping contest, Feb. 8-10, 2019.

Registration for each contest costs $1,500, with $1,000 going to the starting bankroll and $200 to a cash prize pool for the Super Qualifier (the remaining $300 goes to the NHC purse and travel). The format will consist of 10 mandatory $50 Win-Place wagers. Players will keep 100 percent of their winnings and the leaders will share in the cash prize pool, with the number of winners and amounts determined (on a sliding scale) by the number of entries. Players are limited to two entries for each on-track Super Qualifier.

“These new Super Qualifiers allow us to offer a much more favorable ratio of berths to entries for players,” said NHC Tournament Director Keith Chamblin. “We’re also excited to offer live-money formats that allow players to keep their winnings and put money through the windows of the host tracks, while maintaining the traditional Win-Place format that rewards consistent excellence.”

Each winning prize package includes NHC entry, four nights at Treasure Island, and airfare reimbursement up to $400.

As added incentive, a $500,000 bonus will be up for grabs in Las Vegas for any of the three on-track Super Qualifier winners who go on to win #NHC19.

For more information on entering any of the four Super Qualifiers, contact Michele Ravencraft of the NTRA at mravencraft@ntra.com. Online and/or phone registration will be available via the host racetracks in coming weeks.

Low-cost “feeder” contests will be available for each Super Qualifier on HorsePlayers.com.

NHC Tour points, which determine year-end Tour prizes, as well as NHC entry for the top 10 percent of finishers, will be awarded in NHC Super Qualifiers. For the Santa Anita/Xpressbet.com contest only, players already double-qualified for #NHC19 can earn a first berth to #NHC20 in February 2020.

For more information on the NHC and NHC Tour, visit www.ntra.com/nhc.