02/05/2015 12:03PM

Fornatale: Public Handicapper contest starts Saturday

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A new contest starts on PublicHandicapper.com this weekend, the Public Handicapper Prep. The contest will last 12 weeks and feature many of the key preps for the Kentucky Derby, including the Florida and Santa Anita derbies and the Wood Memorial. First prize in the contest is $1,000 and a three-month past-performance subscription.

“The PH Prep is a great way to stay on top of all the Derby preps and contenders,” said Public Handicapper founder Scott Carson. “Best of all, it’s absolutely free.”

Each weekend, Public Handicapper selects four contest races. You can play as few of these as zero and as many as all four – $2 win bets only. When your pick does not win, you lose $2. As you pick winners, your bankroll accumulates, and the highest scores at the end of the contest win. For contest purposes, there is a 30-1 cap on the odds, meaning no horse can pay more than $62.

Public Handicapper also is an excellent learning tool for new players for a couple reasons. All picks are public, so you can see exactly who is betting what from the moment the picks are made. There are some very sharp players on the site – season and lifetime ROIs are posted right there in black and white, so there is no sugarcoating the numbers. Players also have the option to do write-ups about their picks, describing the handicapping fundamentals and other angles they use to make their selections. You can’t help but learn something reading what others have to say – whether you agree or disagree – and doing these write-ups can be an education in itself, forcing a level of detail-oriented work that can translate directly to your ROI.

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

The name of the Public Handicapper Prep has another meaning as well. It’s a chance for players to get into a rhythm and prepare for the main Public Handicapper contest, the Public Handicapper Challenge that will begin on Kentucky Oaks day and continue through the Breeders’ Cup. The top two finishers in the Challenge will receive seats to the National Handicapping Championship – provided they pay a $50 NHC Tour membership fee before the contest starts. In addition, the winner will receive $1,500 and a free year of unlimited Daily Racing Form Formulator or classic past performances.

Another great feature of the Public Handicapper contest is that participating players get a 25 percent discount on DRF past-performance packages. Sign up for Public Handicapper by clicking here at  and get your discounted past performances here.

This week’s races for the Public Handicapper Prep are:

Gulfstream 10th (Grade 3 Suwanee River)
Gulfstream 12th (Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap)
Gulfstream 13th (Grade 1 Donn Hanidap)
Santa Anita 8th (Grade 2 San Antonio Invitational)