02/04/2016 10:00AM

Fornatale: It's never too early to qualify for NHC

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There are three contests in the Daily Racing Form universe on Saturday. On NHCQualify.com, players can put up $165 for a chance to win a seat at the 2017 National Handicapping Championship. Winners also will receive a $599 travel allowance and a four-night stay at the host hotel in Las Vegas, Treasure Island. Four NHC packages are guaranteed, and up to five will be awarded.

To win into the NHC, players must be members of the NHC Tour. Tour membership is valid for the entire year and entitles members to discounts on DRF past-performance packages. To sign up, go to http://www.ntra.com/membership.

Also on Saturday, there is a qualifier on DRFQualify.com for the Gulfstream-Santa Anita Ultimate Betting Challenge on March 19-20. The entry fee is $110, and up to two $4,500 entries will be on offer, along with $500 in travel allowances.

Over on BCQualify.com, there is a $21 feeder for the Feb. 14 one-day Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge qualifier. The top 10 percent of entries will advance to the Feb. 14 event, where up to four BCBC spots will be awarded

Here are the races for Saturday’s contests (all times Eastern):
3:53 Gulfstream 9
4:23 Gulfstream 10
4:30 Santa Anita 3
4:39 Oaklawn 6
4:53 Gulfstream 11
5:00 Santa Anita 4 (G3 Robert B. Lewis)
5:09 Oaklawn 7
5:23 Gulfstream 12 (G1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap)
5:30 Santa Anita 5 (G2 Las Virgenes)
5:38 Oaklawn 8
5:53 Gulfstream 13 (G1 Donn)
6:00 Santa Anita 6

There are six stakes in the sequence, with four of them graded. With a little luck, the weather will stay dry at Gulfstream since five of the races in the whole sequence are scheduled for turf. Pedigree-oriented players also will be happy to see three maiden events in the mix. The races are tightly packed, so it’s a good idea to get default picks in before the contest starts. You can always adjust on the fly.

To win one of the first seats to next year’s NHC, go to https://www.nhcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx.

To win your way into Gulfstream or Santa Anita, check out https://www.drfqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx.

:: Click here to purchase a copy of “The Winning Contest Player” by Peter Thomas Fornatale.