Del Mar in San Diego, CA, kicks off its "Bing Crosby" meet this afternoon. The season, and handicapping contest, run through December 4, and again they're offering players a free, online tournament for two berths to the NHC.
Here's where you sign up: https://www.dmtc.com/contest/31.
As there's no cost to play I can't complain, but the format has been changed this year to one that I'm admittedly not crazy about.
This year, Del Mar has broadened the "wagering" card to exactas and trifectas and removed the cap.
The benefit for players who like to play those wagers is that one major score could be the difference.
The drawback is that it's not really about picking winners anymore, the basis upon which the NHC champion is determined each season. I see the positives and negatives, but for the latter think that someone can just get lucky playing a $100 trifecta with their three favorite numbers and getting lucky.
Regardless, I'm entered to play (user name "billhobo") and have had success in the past, qualifying for the 2015 NHC through Del Mar's summer contest.
It's a lot of fun to play, so make sure to enter; and for NHC Tour players it's a must, since Tour points are awarded to the Top 10% of finishers, consistent with other NHC-focused contests.