Initially, I planned solely to pan Monmouth a bit for allowing non-NHC Tour contest players to win spots in the 45-player Simulcast Series Challenge invitational on April 28, but am more enthused by the release of on-track NHC-based contest dates at The Shore's Greatest Stretch, and that my solicited input may have had some positive impact on the schedule. The early lowdown:
- Saturday, May 19: $200 Preakness Day contest for 2 NHC seats
- Kudos to Sophia Mangalee and her team for scheduling an event around one of the Triple Crown races. As noted on February 9, NJ Horseplayer speculates that contests scheduled around the Derby, Preakness or Belmont can perhaps draw new players who are otherwise on track to wager on major races; in other words, a captive audience. Including races from presumably deep fields from Pimlico should also prove very enticing to people seeking big payouts and considering handicapping contests (i.e. low-risk, high-reward proposition).
- Sunday, June 3: $200 Monmouth/Woodbine Handicapping Challenge for 2 NHC seats
- Sunday, September 16: $200 Monmouth/Woodbine Handicapping Challenge for 2 NHC seats.
- Positives include full fields expected at Woodbine for $500k Woodbine Oaks and $150k Plate Trial on June 3, and the contest tracks (Woodbine, in particular) will offer plenty of opportunities to score big prices
Otherwise, to give entries into an NHC-drive tournament to non-Tour players devalues the $50 membership fee. I hope consideration is given to this thought next season, as it is probably too late to change now.