09/25/2014 11:12AM

Fornatale: Contest action revolves around major Breeders' Cup preps

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Saturday is a huge day of action in Thoroughbred racing from coast to coast, so it only makes sense that it’s a huge day of action in the DRF family of tournaments as well. First off, it marks the return of the one-day qualifying format on NHCQualify.com, where for a $165 buy-in, up to five players can win seats at the National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas.

The contest consists of 12 mandatory races where players must make $2 win-place bets. Highest scores win. This week’s contest races are:

3:33    Belmont 6th (7 furlongs, turf, allowance)
4:00    Santa Anita 2nd (7 furlongs, dirt, claiming)
4:07    Belmont 7th (1 ¼ miles, turf, G1 Flower Bowl)
4:30    Santa Anita 3rd (6 1/2 furlongs, turf, allowance)
4:41    Belmont 8th (6 furlongs, dirt, G1 Vosburgh)
5:00    Santa Anita 4th (6 1/2 furlongs, dirt, MSW)
5:16    Belmont 9th (1 ½ miles, turf, G1 Turf Classic)
5:50    Belmont 10th (1 ¼ miles, dirt, G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup)
6:00    Santa Anita 6th (1 1/16 miles, dirt, G1 FrontRunner)
6:23    Belmont 11th (1 ½ miles, turf, optional claimer)
6:30    Santa Anita 7th (1 ¼ miles, turf, G1 Rodeo Drive)
7:00    Santa Anita 8th (1 1/8 miles, dirt, G1 Awesome Again)

It’s a stakes-studded extravaganza of a contest card, with seven Grade 1 races and major Breeders’ Cup ramifications. The spacing looks manageable as well, though, as ever, keep an eye on post times as they might change and drift throughout the cards. It’s a good idea to have default picks in for every race ahead of time and then just adjust on the fly based on real-time information. All contest participants will receive free DRF basic PPs along with their entry.

The same set of races will also be used over on BCQualify.com for their round 2 contest where eight players out of the 96 who qualified earlier this month will win full berths plus a travel allowance into the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, to be held over the two days of the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita. Follow along with the results at http://www.bcqualify.com/leaderboard.aspx to see how your friends and favorite players are progressing. A lot of big names have made it to round 2, including two-time champ Patrick McGoey, former NHC champ Judy Wagner, former NHC Tour champ Brent Sumja, and contest stalwart Eric Moomey

If you missed out on qualifying for the round 2 event this month there is still one more opportunity on BCQualify.com: a one-day event on Oct. 4. The buy-in is $400, but assuming full participation of 165, five seats will be awarded. The event is likely to fill up fast so sign up today at https://www.bcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx

Live-bankroll event at Laurel

Another way to qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge is through Laurel’s in-person event this Saturday. It’s a live-bankroll event where the cost to enter is $300, $200 of which will act as a live bankroll where contestants can keep any winnings at the end of the day. Five tracks will be part of the contest: Laurel, Belmont, Churchill, Gulfstream, and Monmouth. For more information, contact Diana Harbaugh via email at diana.harbaugh@marylandracing.com or via phone at 301-470-5432. You can download a registration form at www.laurelpark.com/handicapping/contests