Los Alamitos Racing Association to Offer 3 NHC Seats this Saturday

NTRA NHC logoPress Release

The Los Alamitos Racing Association will offer a cash prize, three seats to the 2018 National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas and more with a live money handicapping contest Saturday, Sept. 23.

In addition to the berths in the NHC, there will be also be five spots available for the Autumn Handicapping Contest at Santa Anita (Oct. 6-8) as well as three to next year’s NTRA Last Chance Horseplayers Championship Qualifier in Las Vegas.

Cost to enter the Los Alamitos Fall Qualifier is $500. 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. 16. Players can begin entering the contest once track gates open at 9:30 a.m. that morning and participants can purchase a maximum of two entries.

Tournament races will include the entire card at Los Alamitos with permitted wagers including win, place, show and exactas. Each entry must bet at least $100 on four races, 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), 10% (4th place) and 5% (5th place).

Players can sign up for the handicapping contest at losalamitos.com as well as review complete contest rules. For any further questions, contact larace@losalamitos.com or by telephone at 714-820-2690.

Tournament Veteran Lam Captures Laurel Champions Handicapping Tournament

Press Release

Phillip Lam of Fresh Meadow, N.Y. finished with a bankroll balance of $4,359.70 to capture the fall session of the Maryland Jockey Club’s Champions Handicapping Tournament held Saturday at Laurel Park.

Lam earned $3,030 in prize money ended with a comfortable margin over runner-up Gwyn Houston of Fallston, Md., who ended the day with a bankroll balance of $3,106.80 and took home $2,020 in prize money.

The tournament was open to players for $300, which covered a $100 entry fee and $200 bankroll. In addition to prize money, the top four finishers qualified for automatic berths to the National Handicapping Championship (NHC), Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) or The BIG ONE.

A total of 201 entries were accepted from 139 players for the tournament, held for the first year in Laurel’s newly refurbished second-floor sports bar. There were no mandatory races during the contest but a $20 minimum wager on races from Laurel, Gulfstream Park, Saratoga Race Course, Monmouth Park and Woodbine.

Given his choice of four tournament berths, Lam selected the BCBC to be held Nov. 3-4 at Del Mar while Houston selected a berth in The BIG ONE Sept. 23-24 at Laurel Park.

Third place went to Michael Webb of Westminster, Md., who finished with a balance of $2,395.40 and earned $1,010 and an NHC berth. Jason Jubb of Pasadena, Md. was fourth with a balance of $2,248 and earned $606.

Since Jubb is not a member of the NHC Tour, fifth-place finisher Joseph McKay of Gaithersburg, Md. earned the final NHC berth. He ended with a balance of $1,594.50 and prize money of $606.

Rounding out the top 10 finishers were David Hertz with a tournament balance of $1,450, Roger Kurrus ($1,358), Barry Howard ($1,192), David Stone ($1,089.50) and Jeffrey Harryman ($1,000). Each player earned $606 in prize money.

The spring session of the MJC Champions Handicapping Tournament was won by Thomas Camann of Providence, R.I., who chose a berth in the BCBC. Other winners from the spring tournament were Frederick Cipriano (BIG ONE), Hewett Andrews (NHC) and Steven Scalco (NHC).

A First Time Starter at the Wynn Handicapping Challenge

“Here were two tournament veterans wanting in on my action.  A far cry from just wanting to avoid embarrassing myself. “

By Justin Dew

A social media friend of mine pointed out to me that when one’s name is misspelled publically, it’s thought to be a sign of good luck.  Perhaps that’s what led to my 7th place finish in the Wynn Handicapping Challenge.  Or perhaps it was “Misspelled Name’s Luck” better known cousin, Beginner’s Luck.  Regardless, my experience in my first ever $2 Win/Place format tournament with an actual cash prize on the line has brought me to the conclusion that I am going to be taking part in these events for a long time to come.

The 2016 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge was my first handicapping tournament of any kind, and since then I have participated in several online qualifiers.  But the 2017 Wynn Handicapping Challenge was the first time I had ever competed for real money, other than the live money BCBC.  I am typically not a big goal setter, so I aimed low for the Wynn event: don’t embarrass yourself.  With $64 in mythical wagers each of two days, I would have been perfectly happy earning a score of $128.10 and looking at my lost $2,000 entry fee as an investment in my education.  Seriously.  My expectations were that low.  Especially after trying and failing to qualify for the event online four times at an additional cost of about $800.

I downloaded the Saratoga and Del Mar past performances on Thursday before my flight from Orlando to Las Vegas, but other than a cursory glance to get a feel for what the respective cards had in store, I didn’t do one second of handicapping before the event.  Not one second.  I am a huge believer in avoiding paralysis through analysis, and my limited experience in online qualifies has shown me how frustrating it can be to warm up to a horse at 12-1 on the morning line, see that horse open at 6-1, find another horse at better odds, and then watch the first horse win at 10-1.  So I knew I didn’t want to make any emotional commitments to any horse before I had a chance to see the tote board.  And with more than 30 minutes between races at Saratoga, I knew I’d have plenty of time to handicap.  So I essentially went in blind.

Me and my iPad arrived at the Wynn Sportbook about an hour before the Friday opener at the Spa.  There was no assigned seat for me since I had just registered that morning.  I was placed at a small table with two other guys who would become friends by the end of the weekend.  We will call them Scott and Brian since I neglected to get their permission to use their real names for this little story.  Scott and Brian were playing as a partnership.  I had seen Scott’s name on tournament leaderboards before.

With 30 selections over two days, I’ll spare you a breakdown of each horse I used and stick to the highlights.  After running last and second last with my first two plays, I used my one daily $4 Win and Place wager in the 3rd from Saratoga [Wynn rules allow one ‘double bet’ each day].  I wish I had kept the PPs from both days so I could tell you why I picked the horse, but I didn’t.  Anyway, Hardened won and paid $18.80 and $7.90.  Since I “fired my big bullet,” that horse was worth $53.40 to me.  After only three races, I knew I was near the top of the leaderboard, which I wouldn’t be able to actually see until the end of the day, per Wynn rules.  The Saratoga card would end with me only scoring on one other horse: Petrov, who paid $7.60 and $4.40.

In the 4th at Del Mar, Into Rissa (if I remember correctly) was moving into state-bred company from open maiden special weights company at about 12-1.  She ran 2nd and paid $10.20 to place.  I had used a short-priced winner earlier on the card and then blanked from there.  So I scored with four of 15 picks and had a Day 1 score of $85.80, good for 16th place out of 241 contestants.  When the Day 1 results were posted, I was identified at J. Drew.  My social media friends had a field day.

I approached Day 2 pretty much the same way.  Minimal prep and low expectations.  And I struck early and hard.  After initially planning to skip the first three races, I ended up playing them and making a move that would make me a contender for the victory.  In the 2nd race at Saratoga, an Al Stall Churchill shipper caught my eye, so I fired my $4 bullet and he won at 6-1.  Behavioral Bias paid $15.60 and $6.60, times two.  And in the very next day, me and my tablemates Scott and Brian both used 9-1 winner Estrechada.  Javiar Castellano had now won two in a row for me, and I was up to $74.00 for the day and $159.80 for the tournament.  The table celebrated together.

It was after the next race, the 4th from Saratoga, that things got interesting.  Scott and Brian used a Mott first-timer named Trumpi who won and paid $47.40 and $20.20.  This put them up near the $150 range, and right into contention with me.  Just then, as I started to handicap the 5th race, I noticed Scott motioning Brian to follow him out in to the casino.  I figured they were going to come back and inform me that tournament protocol dictated that we had to either switch tables or stop talking openly about our opinions since both parties were now in contention for some serious cash.  I was wrong.  They returned to the table and a fresh round of Diet Cokes (I think both of them combined for between 30-40 Diet Cokes over the weekend).  Scott said “So Justin.  We figure you are in the lead and we are in the Top 5.  How about we each agree to hedge for 10% of each other’s winnings, and we keep playing openly like we have been?”  Wow.  Here were two tournament veterans wanting in on my action.  A far cry from just wanting to avoid embarrassing myself.  I agreed, and it was on to the rest of the Saratoga card.

I would only hit three more horses from my remaining 11 selections.  The highlight for me was a D. Wayne Lukas runner in the 11th race named Warrior’s Club, who almost stole the race at 26-1 before Neolithic ran him down.  That extra $54 would have come in handy, but I settled for the $11.60 place payout.  I did manage to score with my final two picks, adding about $20 or so.  After two days, I had accumulated a score of $189.20.  Scott and Brian were in the low $160 range.  It was all over.  Time to wait.

It took about 45 minutes for the final results to be posted.  The people sitting around me speculated that I had a shot at the Top 20.  I was letting myself dream about maybe the Top 15.  Though I was fully prepared to be disappointed by a 25th-place finish, which would have been out of the money and out of the Top 10 percent.

But I was not to be disappointed.  I had finished in 7th place overall.  Scott and Brian also cracked the Top 20 and took home some cash.  My finish was worth $8,500, minus the 10% cut for Scott and Brian, plus 10% of their winnings to me.  I was absolutely stunned.  I never expected to perform so well.  It was truly beyond my wildest expectations.   In a room full of people who had done this many, many times before and who in some cases were viewing multiple laptops at once as they analyzed replays and charts, I had somehow managed to finish 7th without even looking at the past performances until there were 30 minutes to post.  I’ll say it again: I was stunned.

Scott and Brian invited me to the Wynn buffet, where I literally pinched myself half-a-dozen times just to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming.  To be honest, while the money was nice and will fund my return to the BCBC this year, what I really was excited about was knowing that I can compete with the best handicappers on the tournament circuit.  Maybe not every time.  Maybe not even most of the time.  But at least this time.  For at least a race or two, I was in the lead against 241 other handicappers.  And I ended up beating 97% of the field.  Was it Beginner’s Luck?  I guess time will tell.

 

 

Pegasus World Cup Invitational for Horseplayers Debuts in January

$300,000 Purse Guaranteed

The Stronach Group announced today the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship, a handicapping tournament that will offer a prize pool guaranteed at $300,000 but estimated to be more than $500,000.

Pegasus World Cup 2017The two-day contest will be held at Gulfstream Park on January 26-27 with satellite locations being offered at Santa Anita Park, Laurel Park and Golden Gate Fields.

The tournament will coincide with the second running of the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), the richest horse race in the world, Saturday, January 27.

The buy-in for the live money contest is $12,000. There is no entry fee for on-track players. A $1,000 entry fee for satellite locations will go directly into the prize pool. The prize pool will be comprised of $100,000 each from both The Stronach Group and Xpressbet.com, 50 percent of net Gulfstream contest commission (estimated at 3.5 percent), and five percent of total contest wagers at Gulfstream and five percent of non-contest wagers from Gulfstream’s Sport of Kings Theatre (contest room).

Cash prizes will be paid down to the top 10 finishers, while the winner will also receive Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) seats. A $1 million bonus will be awarded to the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship winner who goes on to win the 2018 BCBC or NHC.

“The Pegasus World Cup Invitational is an incredible weekend of world-class racing and spectacular events,” said Tim Ritvo, Chief Operating Officer of The Stronach Group. “The Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship builds on the vision of The Stronach Group to reinvent and reimagine racing. Last year’s inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup was truly memorable. We have no doubt the 2018 Pegasus World Cup will be even bigger and better.”

Players will bet their entire $12,000 bankroll on win, place, show, exacta and trifecta wagers on Gulfstream Park races, with a required minimum bet of $3,000 on The Pegasus World Cup Invitational. Players must also bet a minimum total of four races and $4,000 on Friday and a minimum of four races on Pegasus World Cup Day not including the Pegasus World Cup Invitational.

Players will receive two complimentary VIP tickets in Sport of Kings with lunch.

Players can qualify at Horsetourneys.com and Tournaments.drf.com. Rules and registration available at GulfstreamPark.com.

July On-Track Contests for 2018 National Handicapping Championship (NHC)

NTRA NHC logoLEXINGTON, Ky. (June, 2017) – Summertime brings with it an acceleration in the number of on-track National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) qualifiers, which frequently offer large cash prize pools along with berths to the world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping tournament. Registration is now open for rich tournaments coming up in the next few weeks at Woodbine Racecourse, Santa Anita Park, Monmouth Park, Del Mar, and other top contest destinations around North America.

The first-half NHC Tour season will conclude on July 30.  The top 5 finishers of the first-half NHC Tour Leaderboard will receive full 2017 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge berths.

Here are the basics on the “brick-and-mortar” NHC qualifiers scheduled through the end of July, in chronological order:

SATURDAY – Woodbine Sprint Meet Handicapping Tournament – Two berths to NHC 2018, estimated $20,000 prize pool, entry $150 ($50 bankroll + $100 to prize money).

JUNE 30-JULY 2 – Santa Anita Three-Peat Handicapping Contests – Three days of one-day contests on closing weekend at Santa Anita, with 100 percent of entry fees paid back as cash prizes. Day 1: two berths to NHC 2018, $30,000 estimated prize pool, $700 entry ($400 bankroll + $300 to prize money). Day 2: five berths to NHC 2018, $100,000 estimated prize pool, entry $3,000 ($2,000 bankroll + $1,000 to prize money). Day 3: five berths to NHC 2018, $100,000 estimated prize pool, entry $3,000 ($2,000 bankroll + $1,000 to prize money). Cash bonuses of $50,000 for winning two of the contests and $250,000 for winning all three.

JULY 2 – Monmouth Park $250 Handicapping Contest – Two berths to NHC 2018, estimated $20,000 prize pool, entry $250 ($150 bankroll + $100 to prize money).

JULY 8 – Arlington Handicapping Challenge – Three berths to NHC 2018 plus berths to other major handicapping contests, no entry fee, $2,000 live bankroll.

JULY 8 – Belmont Park Stars & Stripes Challenge – Two berths to NHC 2018, guaranteed $5,000 first-place prize, entry $500 ($300 bankroll + $200 to prize money).

JULY 8 – Los Alamitos – Three berths to NHC 2018, estimated $10,000 prize pool, entry $400 ($300 bankroll + $100 entry fee)

JULY 14-16 – Surfside Race Place at Del Mar One-Day Contests – Three one-day contests,  two berths to NHC 2018 each day, guaranteed $16,500 prize pool each day.  Day 1: advance entry $340 ($40 bankroll + $300 entry fee).  Day 2: advance entry $500 ($200 bankroll + $300 entry fee).  Day 3: advance entry $340 ($40 bankroll + $300 entry fee).

JULY 22 – Monmouth Park $250 Handicapping Contest – Two berths to NHC 2018, estimated $20,000 prize pool, entry $250 ($150 bankroll + $100 to prize money).

JULY 23 – Lone Star Park Handicapping Championship Series, Second Chance – Two berths to NHC 2018, estimated $7,500 prize pool, free to play.

JULY 29-30 – Del Mar Challenge – Eight berths to NHC 2018 plus berths to other major handicapping contests, estimated $300,000 prize pool, entry $7,000 ($5,000 bankroll + $2,000 to prize money).

JULY 29 – Woodbine Mid-Summer Handicapping Tournament – Two berths to NHC 2018, estimated $25,000 prize pool, entry $500 ($250 bankroll + $250 to prize money).

Prize pools are estimated and will be adjusted on a sliding scale in accordance with the final number of entries.

For the full calendar of upcoming NHC qualifiers, including links to details on how to enter, visithttps://www.ntra.com/nhc-events.

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

About the National Horseplayers Championship

In its 19th year, the NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (formerly known as the NTRA National Handicapping Championship) is presented by Racetrack Television Network, STATS Race Lens and Treasure Island Las Vegas. Equibase is the official data provider of the NHC and NHC Tour. The NHC is world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping tournament of the year for horseplayers and is the culmination of a year-long series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments conducted by racetracks, casino race books, off-track betting facilities and horse racing and handicapping websites, each of which sends its top qualifiers to the national finals. Each year, the NHC winner joins other human and equine champions as an honoree at the Eclipse Awards. The most recent NHC offered record prize money and awards totaling more than $2.9 million. NHC 19 will be held February 9-11, 2018, at Treasure Island Las Vegas.

About the NTRA

The NTRA, based in Lexington, Ky., is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development. The NTRA owns and manages the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance; NTRA.com; the Eclipse Awards; the National Handicapping Championship; NTRA Advantage, a corporate partner sales and sponsorship program; and Horse PAC®, a federal political action committee. NTRA press releases appear on NTRA.com, Twitter (@ntra) and Facebook (facebook.com/1NTRA).

Registration Opens Today for Louisiana Downs NHC Qualifier

NTRA NHC logoHarrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to announce that they will host a regional qualifying event for the $2.5 million-est.|

 National Horseplayers Championship. The contest will be held at the Bossier City racetrack on Saturday, June 17.

This will be a live format, with win, place and show wagers on ten selected races. The entry fee is $300 ($150 entry fee, $150 live bankroll) and the contest will be limited to 100 entries, maximum two entries per person.  All participants must be NHC Tour Members and may join online at https://www.ntra.com/membership. The fee of $50 offers valuable discounts for handicapping products and entry into the four FREE remaining online tournaments in 2017. Registration opens for the Louisiana Downs qualifier on Tuesday, May 30. Players needing further information may contact Tracey Blevins (tblevins@caesars.com) or Michele Ravencraft (mravencraft@ntra.com).

The top two finishers will win a berth in the world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping tournament which will take place in Las Vegas, February 8-11, 2018. In addition, both winners will receive a $400 travel voucher and hotel accommodations for four nights in Las Vegas.

“Going the extra mile for our horseplayers is an extremely important priority at Louisiana Downs,” said Trent McIntosh, Louisiana Downs assistant general manager. “We look forward to hosting this regional qualifying tournament for the National Horseplayers Championship and will be rooting for our two winners to be crowned Horseplayer of the Year next January.”

Today: Free National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Qualifier Offers up 5 Spots

A Free-to-Play online National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) qualifier is set for Saturday on HorsePlayers.com, the new official qualifying site for the world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping tournament.|

The contest offers five berths to February’s NHC and is open exclusively to NHC Tour members. This past January’s NHC 18 offered a record prize pool worth more than $2.9 million, including an $800,000 first-place prize won by Ray Arsenault, whose finish also earned him an Eclipse Award as Horseplayer of the Year.

To register for Saturday’s free contest, go to HorsePlayers.com/contest/207512. To sign up for the NHC Tour, go to www.ntra.com/membership. One must be a current NHC Tour member to play in free online qualifiers. Individuals also must be registered at HorsePlayers.com.

NTRA NHC logoThe top five finishers in Saturday’s contest (one more than in each of last year’s free online qualifiers) will each earn an automatic berth to the NTRA National Horseplayers Championship Presented by Racetrack Television Network, STATS Race Lens™ and Treasure Island Las Vegas, to be held February 9-11, 2018, at Treasure Island. Each winning prize package includes NHC entry, four nights at Treasure Island and airfare reimbursement up to $400.

The free qualifier also offers NHC Tour points, with the top 10 percent of finishers earning shares of a points pool estimated at 250,000 points (with 3,750 to the winner), based on an estimated 1,500 players. The final number of points available will be determined on a sliding scale according to the number of participating NHC Tour players.

 The contest will be comprised of mythical Win and Place wagers on a series of mandatory races across the country with selections submitted in advance of the first designated contest race per the “Pick and Pray” format. Designated races will be posted 48 hours in advance on the HorsePlayers.com contest description page and selections may be submitted starting 24 hours in advance of the first race.

This marks the second of five free online qualifiers to be presented by the NTRA this year on HorsePlayers.com, with the later contests set for June 10, July 30, and Sept. 2. The 2017 NHC Tour is the richest in history with $400,000 in prize money, including $100,000 to the overall leader at the conclusion of the Tour season.

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

Blaise Brucato Completes Rare Back-to-Back Tournament Wins

 Ohio Handicapper Captures Grade One Gamble and Spring Challenge at Keeneland

 April 22-23, 2017

 In the storied history of Keeneland Race Course, many patrons have had memorable (and profitable) weekends.  We would venture to guess, however, that not many have equaled the weekend that Blaise Brucato just experienced at this venerable racetrack.

RoughlyKeeneland Green Logo 24 hours after winning the inaugural Keeneland Spring Challenge, a $400 buy-in tournament held on Saturday (4/22/17), Blaise topped that performance with a dramatic win in Keeneland’s Grade One Gamble, a $3,000 buy-in tournament that has become one of the most prized titles on the NHC Tour.

On Saturday, the Cleveland native bested a field of 258 players by hitting a $500 exacta on the last race, winning a $10,000 BCBC spot and $3,500 in cash.  Mike Maloney of Lexington captured 2nd and 4th places in the tourney, earning an NHC spot and $3,500 in prize money.  NHC qualifiers Paul Hoffman of Chicago (3rd place) and Mark Haidar of Northville, (5th place) joined lucky 6th place finisher Ali Aksoy of Toronto, who benefitted from the NHC rule that prohibits any player from scoring 2 NHC spots in one tournament. [AGOS Founder Rich Nilsen finished a distant 21st].

After winning the Saturday tournament, Blaise revealed that April 22 was his Dad’s birthday.  Bill Brucato introduced his son to horse racing at a young age, and even though Bill passed away in 1988, it is clear that his spirit and love for racing lives on through Blaise.

TheNTRA NHC logo incredible story continued on Sunday, as Brucato closed again in the final race, cashing a $250 exacta to vault past former NHC Tour champion Jonathon Kinchen by a mere $200 to claim back-to-back victories, with another BCBC spot, an NHC berth, and $13,000 in cash.   In the Grade One Gamble, a record 170 entries competed for 7 BCBC spots, 10 NHC spots, and over $40,000 in cash prizes.  The 2nd place finish by Austin, TX native Kinchen earned him a BCBC and NHC spot plus $6,500 in cash. Third through 7th finishers Bob Traynor of Oceanside, CA, Joe Kramer of Fargo, ND, Marshall Gramm of Memphis, TN, Randy Gallo of Palm Beach Garden, FL and Kenneth King of New York, NY all earned BCBC and NHC entries, in addition to cash prizes.

Brian Johnson of Biloxi, MS, Ali Aksoy of Toronto, ON and Mike Maloney of Lexington, KY finished 8th through 10th and earned a berth to the 2018 NHC, in addition to cash prizes.  For Aksoy and Mahoney, it was the 2nd NHC berth in as many days.

To recap the weekend, totaling his bankroll winnings, cash prizes, and BCBC/NHC berths, Blaise Brucato cashed for over $50,000.  Not a bad way to spend a weekend at Keeneland, and not a bad way to celebrate your father’s birthday.  Somewhere Bill Brucato has a wide smile on his face.

Final Standings for Grade One Gamble (with Bankroll)

  1. Blaise Brucato $8,434.00
  2. Jonathon Kinchen $8,234.50
  3. Bob Traynor $7,000.00
  4. Joe Kramer $6,546.80
  5. Marshall Gramm $6,493.50
  6. Randy Gallo $6,412.00
  7. Kenneth King $5,968.00
  8. Brian Johnson $5,780.00
  9. Ali Aksoy $5,590.00
  10. Mike Maloney $5,151.00

$10k Buy-in Belmont Stakes Challenge Open for Registration

Source: NYRA

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced the opening of registration for the Belmont Stakes Challenge, a two-day live-money handicapping tournament to take place during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival beginning Friday, June 9 and concluding Belmont Stakes Day, June 10.|

 The entry fee for the 2017 Belmont Stakes Challenge is $10,000, of which $2,500 will go to the prize pool with the remaining $7,500 comprising each participants’ bankroll. Contestants are free to make win, place, show, exacta and trifecta wagers over the course of the two days, with eligible tournament races encompassing every race from Belmont Park on June 9 through the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.

With guaranteed prize money of $110,000, entrants will also compete for one seat to the 2018 Belmont Stakes Challenge, four seats to the National Handicapping Championship and two seats to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge.

“The Belmont Stakes Challenge has quickly become one of the premier live-money tournaments in the industry, and we’re thrilled to offer it again in 2017,” said Lynn LaRocca, NYRA Senior Vice President & Chief Experience Officer. “Our goal is always to provide the best hospitality and tournament experiences for horseplayers, and the Belmont Stakes Challenge is central to those efforts.”

Online registration via belmontstakeschallenge.com or nyrabets.com opened on Friday, April 7 and close on Wednesday, June 7 at which time full payment required.

FREE NHC Contest for 2017 Equestricon ticket holders

NHC18 Champ Ray Arsenaul

NHC18 Champ Ray Arsenault

A seat at the 2018 NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) presented by Racetrack Television Network, STATS Race Lens™ and Treasure Island Las Vegas will be up for grabs in a free handicapping contest open exclusively to Equestricon ticket holders, organizers announced today.|

With the purchase of a “Panel Pass” (starting at just $125) or VIP admission to the historic racing convention, scheduled for August 13 – 15 in Saratoga Springs, attendees will receive automatic entry into the NHC Equestricon Qualifier Contest on Saturday, August 26.

“The only way to enter this new NHC qualifier is to purchase an Equestricon ‘Panel Pass’ or ‘VIP Pass,’ which we expect will keep the field size relatively limited,” said NTRA Chief Operating Officer and NHC Tournament Director Keith Chamblin. “This is a great opportunity to qualify for Las Vegas while participating in an important fan initiative.”

The NHC-Equestricon contest will be hosted on HorsePlayers.com, the new official online qualifying platform of the NHC and Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC). The Breeders’ Cup is a Signature Partner of Equestricon, the fan-centric convention that will feature more than 45 panels, workshops, seminars and non-stop entertainment, mostly hosted within the Saratoga Springs City Center.

Participation in NHC Tour events, including online qualifiers, requires NHC Tour membership. To that end, organizers announced that with admission to Equestricon, all Panel Pass and VIP ticket holders will also receive a complimentary one-year membership to the NHC Tour (a $50 value). New NHC Tour members have exclusive access to a series of free member contests throughout the year, beginning this Sunday, April 9, on HorsePlayers.com.

“If you don’t yet have an NHC Tour membership, it makes all the sense in the world to purchase a Panel Pass or VIP Pass right now,” said Equestricon co-founder Justin Nicholson. “Not only will that give you a chance to play in five free contests between now and the end of the year, you’re also going to get automatic entry into the big NHC qualifier open only to those buying these two types of tickets to Equestricon.”

Tickets for Equestricon are now on sale at Equestricon.com. Panel Pass packages include access to up to eight panels at the convention, including a Tournament Handicapping Workshop on Monday, August 14, sponsored by the NTRA and NHC.

Featured in the Tournament Handicapping Workshop are a number of contest legends, including 2012 NHC winner Michael Beychok; 2015 NHC Tour hero Jonathon Kinchen; 2014 Horseplayer World Series Champion and back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge runner-up (2011 and 2012) Christian Hellmers; 2016 NHC champion Paul Matties; $100,000 and $50,000 online tournament winner Barbara Bowley; Daily Racing Form Tournament Editor and author of “The Winning Horseplayer” Peter Thomas Fornatale; and five-time NHC qualifier Jeannie King.