Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Derby Wars Kicks It Up A Notch With $25k Tourney

Since first waxing poetic about DerbyWars.com last fall, this upstart online handicapping contest provider has greatly increased the opportunity for horseplayers to play in five-day-a-week contests (for cash and bonuses), and is breaking ground this Saturday, March 10, with a $25,100 tournament that draws no comparison and is, perhaps, the most lucrative yet of the online niche.

DerbyWars.com goes "Emeril"
on the online handicapping
contest circuit
DerbyWars.com is a utopia of sorts for New Jersey-based horseplayers and those in other states that limit access to online contest participation.  As an NHC Tour member seeking to advance to the annual National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas, NJ Horseplayer is prohibited from winning an NHC seat through notable venues such as DRFBets.com, Twinspires.com and the like (hopefully the privatization of Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands will change that), but DerbyWars.com provides a great alternative to horseplayers focused on the expanding contest circuit or honing their contest skills, and has quickly and firmly established itself as the industry leader.

There are two ways to claim a spot in Saturday's groundbreaking $25k tournament -- a straight $175 entry fee, or winning a "$25k Shootout Token" in smaller daily tournaments this week leading up to the event.  On Wednesday, for instance, DerbyWars.com will give away two $25k "tokens" through contests costing as little as 2,000 points (DW customer accrue points for either bankroll deposits or by placing in the Top 10 of points-based fantasy contests) and a 50-person survivor tournament that costs a mere $4 to enter.  As of Tuesday, 82 of the 165 eligible spots in the $25k tournament were claimed, leaving players plenty of opportunity to buy or win a chance this week at the $10,000 top prize.

Speaking of prizes, the payouts seem rather equitable.  NJ Horseplayer is by no means an expert in takeout comparisons (i.e. to other contest sites or versus real-money wagers on- or off-track), but the payouts for this Saturday will total $23k cash to the top 18 finishers, plus another $2,100 of "$25k Shootout Tokens" (12, in all).  The roughly 13% takeout is well below several parimutuel alternatives (i.e. Pick 3s and 4s at many tracks) and comparable to the mid- to high-teens we find for other daily Derby Wars tournaments.

With little in terms of NHC tournament action on Saturday, DerbyWars.com's timing to introduce a novel $25,000 handicapping tournament could not have been better.  NHCQualify.com is giving away up to six (6) NHC seats on Sunday, but the $160 entry fee for a less-than-1.67% shot at winning and 5% shot at coming away with anything (10 entries to a future tournament will be awarded to 6th-15th place) may be better spent on a tournament offering prizes to the top 12%.

In a perfect world (for yours truly and other NHC Tour players), the $25k Shootout this coming Saturday would provide eligibility to the National Handicapping Championship, but much as the online contest website quickly burst onto the scene last year with what is by far the best user-friendly interface of any peer site, NJ Horseplayer speculates that DerbyWars.com may again enter the NHC realm down the road.  (Brian Zipse, Managing Editor at DerbyWars.com affiliate HorseRacingNation's parent Horse Racing Labs, nee Immerse LLC, emailed NJ Horseplayer that no decisions on this front have yet been made.) 

Best of luck to those participating in DerbyWars.com's maiden $25k Shootout, and keep a gallon of water handy to wash down NJ Horseplayer's dust, just in case we find our way into the tournament.


For related thoughts on the $25,100 Shootout, check out the takes of blogger brethren Red Rock or Bust and Equinometry.


  1. Derby Wars is excellent.....I see they are always improving to meet the other online handicapping contest websites head on! That $175 is steep in my pocket.....I'll be heavily involved with TVG with their Win/Place Mythical bet contest this weekend. Lots of luck to you.....give us your update and I want to hear some "Cha-Ching" on your end! :)

  2. The fee is a little steep for me too, so I'm hoping to get in by winning a token in one of the smaller contests.

    Ah, the TVG contest...NJ resident, no dice. Can't participate. Good luck to you in that one, Donna!