07/10/2014 11:05AM

Fornatale: High season for handicapping tournaments


It’s officially the busy season for handicapping tournaments. There’s a lot of activity this weekend around the country and online.

The best opportunity for newer plays takes place on Saturday on BCQualify.com. It’s the same format that debuted last weekend at NHCQualify.com: a $25 buy-in to a 12-race, all-mandatory, $2 win-place contest. Last weekend’s event was a big success with 453 players signing up, 86 of whom were new to the DRF contest universe. They competed for a total prize pool of $10,200 in site credits at NHCQualify.com, BCQualify.com, or DRFBets.com. Players can sign up at https://www.bcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx .

At the same time that the credit-builder tournament is happening at BCQualify.com, NHCQualify.com will be hosting a contest of its own. The format and races will be the same. The buy-in will is $165 and a maximum of five seats to the National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas will be awarded. Participation will be limited to 325 players so you’ll want to secure your spot as soon as possible at https://www.nhcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx.

Here is a list of the races for both of these contests:

3:30    Delaware 6 (50k stakes, 6F dirt)

3:55    Belmont 6 (statebred allowance, 6F turf)

3:57    Delaware 7 (100k stakes, 6F dirt)

4:25    Arlington 6 (allowance 8.5F turf)

4:26    Belmont 7 (restricted claimer, 7F turf)

4:57    Belmont 8 (claimer, 8F dirt)

5:25    Arlington 8 (G3 Stars and Stripes, 12F turf)

5:33    Gulfstream 9 (75k 2yo stakes, 5.5 dirt)

5:55    Arlington 9 (G3 American Derby, 9.5F turf)

6:04    Gulfstream 10 (75k 2yo stakes, 5.5 dirt)

6:25    Arlington 10 (G3 Modesty, 9.5 turf)

6:35    Gulfstream 11 (claimer, 8F dirt)

It’s a good, eclectic mix of races, using four tracks, with six of the 12 being turf races and seven in the sequence being some type of stakes. But make sure you put in all your default picks at the start of the contest. Several of the races are close in post-time and you don’t want to miss a race. This advice goes double for the new players in the BCQualify event but is really important for everyone.

As always, free DRF basic past-performances are available for all contest participants. Just go to the contest homepage and look for the link on the left hand side of the page.

Handicapping challenge at Arlington

On Sunday, July 13, Arlington Park will be hosting its biggest-ever handicapping contest, the 2014 Arlington Handicapping Challenge.

“We are really excited about this contest,” said contest director Dave Zenner. "The great thing about it is there’s no entry over and above your bankroll – your bankroll remains yours at all times -- and we’re giving away five berths to major tournaments."

It’s a live-bankroll, real-money tournament that will be awarding one Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seat and four NHC seats to the top five finishers. Contestants are required to put up a $2,000 bankroll to participate in the event and must bet at least $100 in five races at Arlington. Other contest tracks include Belmont, Gulfstream, and Monmouth. All single race bets will be available to players, including superfectas – an interesting rarity. The contest will be capped at 150 entrants.

Registration will be available on the day of the contest as long as seats are available so feel free to show up at the Governor’s room on the third floor of the clubhouse on Sunday to sign up.

For more information, call Chris Pepsnik at 847 385 7736 or email him at chris.pepsnik@arlingtonpark.com

* Speaking of live-bankroll events, last weekend’s contest at Los Alamitos was won by Donald Allen of Monrovia, Calif. Allen finished with the top bankroll of $5,250. He and second-place finisher William Wolf of Buena Park, Calif., both earn seats to the NHC for their efforts. Also finishing in the top five were Dennis O’Neill of Monrovia, Calif., Dennis Decauwer of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and Lee Geraghty of Mission Viejo, Calif.