Perhaps thrifty, but my real-world obligations (see my profile for an explanation) do not afford me the opportunity to pony up a few grand to cover travel and entries to NHC qualifying contests at tracks across the U.S. like professional players (and my handicapping is not to that level yet anyway), so I focus largely on online competition. Residing in New Jersey does not help matters either, as horseplayers in the Garden State are limited to a few on-track contests at Monmouth Park, and prohibited from numerous opportunities on outside ADWs like TwinSpires and DRFBets.
HorseTourneys.com is a great hub for a player like me, as I have written in the past. There's little need to rehash my reasons, but HorseTourneys.com gives me a low-cost shot at not only trying to improve my play on the handicapping contest circuit, but to qualify for the NHC in Las Vegas without breaking the bank.
Readers can debate the merits of this proposition, but I simply like the product, and reached out to McKay Smith, Operator and Tournament Director, to recap 2012 and give broader thoughts on the handicapping contest circuit.
NJ Horseplayer: Before discussing HorseTourneys.com's 2013 initiatives, put a bow on the 2012 tournament season. I know you offer seats to the Horseplayer World Series as well, but by my unofficial tally, some 15% of all qualifiers to the 2013 National Handicapping Championship in January 2013 will have qualified through HorseTourneys.com. That's an impressive number!
McKay Smith: Oh, absolutely. We’d like nothing more than to see the winner come from our group of qualifiers. When I was the tournament director for NHCQualify, I believe we had two NHC winners come from the site, and both times it resulted in a shot in the arm for business. Having a winner come from our site opens up a number of marketing opportunities.
NJ Horseplayer: In the same light, do you find Tour members "picking and choosing" more with their contest dollars, especially with the growth of the handicapping contest industry? And how does the economy play a part?