07/31/2014 11:02AM

Fornatale: Saratoga, Mountaineer stakes top contests


High season for tournaments continues this weekend with simultaneous events once again on BCQualify.com and NHCQualify.com this Saturday.

For the month of August, BCQualify returns to its popular two-round format. There are three first-round events, all on Saturdays: Aug. 2, Aug. 9, and Aug. 16. The buy-in for these is $110. Contestants finishing in the top 10 percent of the field in any of these three will advance to Round 2, to be held on Travers Day, Aug. 23. In that event, up to eight full $10,000 spots for the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (plus a travel allowance) will be awarded. It’s a format that rewards consistency and reduces the role of luck – and it’s definitely the best way to qualify for this year’s BCBC out at Santa Anita.

Meanwhile, on the same series of races on Saturday, NHCQualify is hosting another low buy-in event where customers can win site credit at NHCQualify.com, BCQualify.com, or DRFBets.com. Entries cost $40 and at least $8,000 in credit is guaranteed. These contests are a great way to learn more about the 12-race, all-mandatory, $2 win-place format, and also a great way to potentially fund your contest play for the remainder of the year.

It’s also noteworthy that you don’t have to choose between these contests – you are free to play in both. In fact, last weekend, expert multi-tasker George Nixon of Port Jervis, N.Y., not only won a seat to the National Handicapping Championship on NHCQualify.com, but he simultaneously ran first and fourth in the credit contest – look for his name soon on a leaderboard near you.

Here is run of races for both contests:

3:38  Saratoga 6 (8.5F turf allowance)

4:00  Mountaineer 5 (1M 70Y turf stakes)

4:10  Saratoga 7 (1M turf stakes)

4:30  Mountaineer 6 (6F dirt stakes)

4:42  Saratoga 8 (6F dirt, G1 Vanderbilt)

5:00  Del Mar 1 (5F turf allowance)

5:12  Mountaineer 7 (8.5F dirt stakes)

5:14  Saratoga 9 (7F dirt stake, G1 Test)

5:30  Del Mar 2 (6.5 Poly claimer)

5:46  Saratoga 10 (9F dirt, G1 Whitney)

6:00  Del Mar 3 (1M poly allowance)

6:20  Saratoga 11 (8.5F turf stakes)

There’s lots of stakes action from Saratoga including the three big ones. Fans of the Mountain, aka Mountaineer Park, will be pleased to see their track get some love. It’s West Virginia Derby Day. Unfortunately, the West Virginia Derby itself conflicts with the Whitney so it won’t be used, but there will be three undercard stakes in play.

Sign up to play today at www.BCQualify.com and www.NHCQualify.com.

Spa Twitter contest open

In other news, the Saratoga Twitter Challenge continues this weekend and it’s still not too late to join. Players starting this weekend are still allowed an $800 starting bankroll. To play, just send a tweet before noon on Saturday to @DRFFormulator that begins “STC:” and contains a play between $50 and $250 on any accepted bet on Saturday’s card. The winner will receive $200 in credit from Daily Racing Form. Let’s take a look at the top of the current leaderboard:

TonyAccetturo   $3,574.00

jmanmetsfan1    2,420.50

FrankDimon        1,542.50

Joeaveragefan   1,541.50

eric0402             1,525.00

tallodawa           1,200.00

John8231058     1,140.00

horsepressbox   1,115.00

Leader TonyAccetturo had another solid showing, taking down another Pick 4 last weekend after hitting both of them opening weekend. The leaderboard as a whole looks a lot like it did the previous week with the notable addition of eric0402 who hit a nice Pick 3 last Saturday, singling The Big Beast in the seventh race. The field got a bit more creative with some players experimenting with the Grand Slam and even the Pick Six. The leader’s margin is significant but not insurmountable – it will be interesting to see if the field can catch up a bit in the third week of the contest.