Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monmouth Park's announces 2011 contest schedule, new "Player of the Year" award

Monmouth has rolled out its 2011 contest schedule for seats to the 2012 NHC tournament in Vegas and the Horseplayer World Series (HWS), and announced a new initiative where contest players will earn points for each contest in which they compete in during 2011, regardless of whether it is a NHC or HPWS qualifier. The email from marketing managers Sophia Mangalee and Pete Verdee does not specify which dates are NHC or HWS, but here are the firm dates for the Simulcast Series Challenge (SSC), where the top 15 finishers from each of the three competes April 9 for two seats for the NHC: 
  • Saturday, January 15 * Simulcast Series Challenge #1
  • Saturday, February 26 * Simulcast Series Challenge #2
  • Saturday, March 19 * Simulcast Series Challenge #3
  • Saturday, April 9 * Simulcast Series Invitational (must have qualified at one of the above contests)
The other dates, subject to change are: 
  • Saturday, May 21 - $200 Handicapping Contest
  • Saturday, May 28 * Survival at the Shore begins
  • Sunday, June 19 - $50 Handicapping Contest
  • Saturday, July 2 - $200 Handicapping Contest
  • Saturday, August 27 - $300 Handicapping Contest
  • Saturday, September 17 - $200 Handicapping Contest
The schedule does not look drastically different from the 2010 slate in terms of total contests (6), but, selfishly speaking, I find it a bit unfortunate that two of the contests fall on holiday weekends (June 19 is Father's Day, and July 2 is Independence Day Weekend) where I likely cannot participate. Then again, Monmouth regularly drew 220-280 participants for the spring and summer contests, so people seem to participate regardless of dates.

Otherwise, the Sept. 17 "final" contest date would suggest that perhaps a shorter meet is in the offing than the 2010 meeting that ended in late November. I am a huge proponent of ending the meet no later than Columbus Day, since the late-autumn dates were sparsely attended. I am hopeful this year's meeting will bring back a 4-day race week (bringing back Thursday or Monday) and end earlier. Contest-wise, I would just as soon see Monmouth run an autumn version of the SSC, maybe with some tie-in to college football or NFL, for more NHC seats. 

Regarding the "Player of the Year" award, there is a reference to a year-end party to anyone reaching a certain amount of points, but no details about potential prizes and such. I can only speculate that Monmouth is trying to cultivate more of a recurring base of contestants and to reward the regular players, which cannot hurt.  

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