Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dabbled in new online contest site

In the name of due diligence I participated late last Friday night in a $50 handicapping contest at Horse Players Qualify, which bills itself as an "official qualifying site for the Horse Player World Series at the Orleans."  (HPWS is a year end tournament similar to NHC, but lesser in grandeur, from what I understand). I saw other listings for this outfit on the NHC Tour website and was curious, so I gave it a spin.

Entries were capped at 150, with prizes awarded to the Top 10 finishers, with the Top 5 gaining entry to a tournament (unrelated to the NHC Tour) at the South Point Casino in Las Vegas in August, plus hotel nights and travel vouchers, and finishers 6-10 winning cash prizes up to $400.

The 8-race card at Hollywood Park comprised the contest, and I only went 1-for-8 (tied for a lousy 112th place) in what was the usually thin-fielded, chalky California fare, where the biggest winner paid $8, outside of the apparently suspect $57 winner of Race 7, Doc Can Dance, whom DRF reports should not have been eligible to compete in that particular starter allowance (the top 22 contest finishers, coincidentally had Doc).  In no way do I disparage the contest, but in my view, Hollywood is one of the least interesting contest tracks.

Anyway, the contest website worked well functionally and similar to the free contests put on by TVG or the NHC Tour freebies, where you have to lock into a pick either at or a few minutes before the listed post time (others let you change on the fly until the race starts). Players were given 10 points for every real dollar payout at the track for win and place wagers, and highest total mythical bankroll took down the prizes.

I'm not entirely sure I'd participate again, but am keeping the site bookmarked for future reference.  NTRA includes Bettor Racing/HPQ as an NHC qualifying venue, but even after some email discussion with officials at Horse Player Qualify, and with the confusing layout of the website, I'm still not quite sure how the tie-in to NHC works, though it appears that players need to finish at or near the top of $150 qualifying contests in order to advance to a championship in September, where players will compete for 6 NHC Tour Championship tournament seats.

I would encourage other NHC Tour contest players giving the site a look, but considering the depth of the contest tournament schedule through the summer, including the 20 NHC spots up for grabs over the July 4 weekend in live-money "super-qualifier" contests at Monmouth Park and Hollywood Park, I am likely to redirect my efforts elsewhere for the time being.


  1. I have never heard of a site like this. Does the "house" take a cut? How do they avoid being flagged as gambling and being removed from the internet? Do you know of other sites/contests like this where players compete for real cash? Thanks!

  2. William, the website is not a betting site, but rather a contest site. Similar to BCQualify or the NHCQualify online contests, you pay a fee that, I suspect, covers any cash prizes that might be awarded and/or travel expenses to, say, the NHC or HPWS. Players make mythical wagers in the hopes of accruing the biggest mythical bankroll.

    On the HPQ site, they do seem to award cash prizes and travel expenses for a September play-in to the NHC at some South Dakota casino, much as some on-track "live money" contests would.

    As for other sites that offer "real cash", I'm not sure, but think the Grade One Racing site run by Steve Davidowitz is subscriber-based and offers cash prizes to those subscribers that win his handicapping contests.

  3. As a follow-up, from what I understand it costs tournament organizers somewhere between $5k-$10k to buy a "seat" to the NHC Tour Championship, so there is overhead to cover.

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