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.
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.