12/10/2015 1:43PM

Fornatale: NHC qualifying chances waning

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Opportunities to win your way in to the 2016 National Handicapping Championship are dwindling. The NHC is the world’s most prestigious handicapping tournament. In January’s contest, $2.5 million in purses will be offered, as well as an Eclipse Award for Handicapper of the Year.

Contest players who have had a couple of good results this year may also be eligible to qualify for the NHC via Tour points. Anyone who hasn’t yet qualified but sits between 150th place and 500th place on the Tour should really be playing these next three weekends because of the added value. For a current list of the Tour standings, go to http://www.ntra.com/nhc/files/NHC%20Tour%20Overall%20LB%20120815.pdf. Don’t sleep on this chance to see what the NHC is all about.

Saturday’s qualifier costs $250 to play and up to 10 NHC spots will be awarded, with five spots guaranteed. Qualifiers will also receive a $500 travel voucher and a four-night stay at the contest host hotel, Treasure Island in Las Vegas.

The other contest in the Daily Racing Form universe on Saturday is a feeder for the Sunday, Dec.20, Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualifier. The contest takes place on BCQualify.com and the buy-in is only $21. One full $190 entry for the Dec. 20 contest will be awarded for every 10 entries in Saturday’s feeder.

Feeder contests are a fantastic way for players to gain valuable contest experience and give players a chance to do what every horseplayer dreams of – to bet a little to win a lot. Players who qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge can win their share of what’s expected to be a $1 million purse at next year’s Breeders’ Cup. Get that journey started for just $21 on Saturday.

Here are the races that will be part of both contests:

3:50    Aqueduct 8
4:05    Gulfstream 9
4:20    Aqueduct 9
4:35    Gulfstream 10
4:54    Fair Grounds 8
5:05    Gulfstream 11
5:23    Fair Grounds 9
5:52    Fair Grounds 10
5:58    Los Alamitos 6
6:21    Fair Grounds 11
6:28    Los Alamitos 7
6:58    Los Alamitos 8

It’s pretty impressive that there are 10 stakes in a 12-race sequence at this time of year. Granted most of them are of the statebred variety but that’s fine for contest purposes. There’s also a cool $100,000 grass stakes at Gulfstream. Four different circuits are represented so there is no advantage for players in one part of the country. The overall spacing looks excellent. As always, full DRF Classic past-performances are available on the contest sites.

To sign up for the NHC contest, go to https://www.nhcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx.

To play in the BCQ feeder, check out https://www.bcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx.