12/12/2013 3:43PM

Early chance at Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge

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Remember last month when Peter Behr parlayed a $190 contest buy-in at BCQualify.com into $324,115 at the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge? At the same event, Garret Skiba, one of the horseplayers featured in my book, “The Winning Contest Player,” turned his $190 into $100,278.

Well, now is your chance to get in on the fun. On Sunday, there is a one-day qualifier at BCQualify.com, with a second contest slated for Dec. 29. In either contest, you can win a full $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry for only $190. Two full Breeders’ Cup contest spots are guaranteed.

Qualifiers also get a $500 travel allowance, and Daily Racing Form is giving a $10 DRFBets credit to every contestant, along with free Formulator past performances for the contest races.

December is one of the last opportunities to qualify for the National Handicapping Championship, but this year, for the first time, it also marks the earliest opportunities to qualify for next year’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, to be held over the two days of the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. And you don’t even have to show up in a Halloween costume.

If it seems a little early to be thinking about next year’s Breeders’ Cup, well, that might be where your opportunity lies. Between how far out this month’s contests are, general holiday preparations, and the fact that this is an NFL Sunday, it’s likely that this will not be the toughest BCQualify field ever assembled, so why not take a shot?

In equity terms, the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge is the best contest there is. More money gets paid out than goes in, making it that rarest of things: a positive expectation situation in horse racing. Not to mention the excitement of being in that room, competing against the best players on racing’s two best days.

Saturday’s NHCQualify.com races picked

The contest races for Saturday’s NHCQualify.com event have been announced. Here they are, along with projected post times (all times Eastern):

3:34  Gulfstream Race 7
3:51  Tampa Bay Downs 8
4:03  Gulfstream 8
4:22  Tampa Bay Downs 9
4:50  Tampa Bay Downs 10
5:03  Gulfstream 10
5:23  Fair Grounds 9
5:32  Hollywood Park 5
5:53  Fair Grounds 10
6:23  Fair Grounds 11
6:35  Hollywood Park 7
7:05  Hollywood Park 8

Entries cost $400. You have a big chance to join the rest of the gang in Las Vegas, with one seat being given away for every 24 entrants, up to 10 seats in total. Again, contestants will receive a $10  DRFBets  credit along with free Formulator past performances for the contest races. 

Players are allowed only two entries to the NHC, and this changes the dynamic slightly in these late-year events. Some double qualifiers will continue to play, looking for NHC Tour points (we’ll have a full discussion on how the NHC Tour works in this space before the next one begins).

Eric Moomey, one of the most consistently successful online players, made a great point to me about the December NHCQualify contests: “Make sure players trying to qualify in December are aware of players who have already qualified for the NHC twice. On some sites, like NHCQualify, there is a notation next to a double-qualifying player’s name. These players are competing for NHC Tour points, and that means that even a top 5-6-7 finish might just be enough to qualify you for the NHC. In previous years, a top-12 finish might have gotten you there, so don’t focus on beating someone you don’t have to if your goal is to just qualify.”

Add to this the point I made last week about some of the best players skipping these NHCQualify tournaments because they’ve already qualified twice, and you can see why you want to consider getting involved.

Upcoming schedule at BCQualify.com:

Sunday – Two Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge spots guaranteed; $190 entry fee; maximum of 280 entries and four BC Betting Challenge spots; $500 travel allowance.

Dec. 29 – Two BC Betting Challenge spots guaranteed; $190 entry fee; maximum of 280 entries and four BC Betting Challenge spots; $500 travel allowance.

Upcoming schedule at NHCQualify.com:
Saturday – Four NHC spots guaranteed; $400 entry fee; maximum of 240 entries and 10 NHC spots; $500 travel allowance and four nights at Treasure Island for each qualifier.

Dec. 22 – Four NHC spots guaranteed; $165 entry fee; maximum of 360 entries and six NHC spots; $500 travel allowance and four nights at Treasure Island for each qualifier.

Dec. 28 – Four NHC spots guaranteed; $400 entry fee; one spot for every 24 entries, maximum of 240 entries and 10 NHC spots; $500 travel allowance and four nights at Treasure Island for each qualifier.