09/04/2014 4:19PM

Fornatale: Saturday contest heavy on turf racing

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After a one-week absence, tournament action returns to the DRF family of contests this weekend.

The two-stage qualifying format returns to BCQualify.com on Saturday. There will be additional Round 1 events held Sept. 13 and Sept. 20. The top 10 percent of finishers in the Round 1 events will advance to Round 2 on Sept. 27.

Depending on participation in the Round 1 events, up to eight seats to the $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge will be awarded in Round 2, along with travel allowances.

Among the competitors expected for Saturday is Jason Perry, who plans on using his winnings from the Saratoga Twitter Challenge to try to win his way to Santa Anita. Usually, the BCQualify contests attract an all-star cast. They’re a great opportunity to see how you stack up against the best contest players out there.

The Round 1 contest itself follows the usual 12-race, all-mandatory, $2 win-place format. Here are the races for Saturday’s contest:

3:41, Belmont 6 (6.5 furlongs, dirt, claiming)
3:58, Gulfstream 7 (1 1/16 miles, turf, claiming)
4:24, Churchill 8 (1 1/16 miles, dirt, stakes)
4:45, Belmont 8 (1 1/4 miles, turf, allowance)
4:55, Churchill 9 (1 1/16 miles, dirt, Grade 3 Iroquois)
5:05, Kentucky Downs 6 (6 furlongs, turf, allowance)
5:27, Churchill 10 (1 1/16 miles, dirt, G3 Pocahontas)
5:34, Gulfstream 10 (7 furlongs, dirt, stakes)
5:35, Kentucky Downs 7 (7 furlongs, juvenile colts, stakes)
6:05, Kentucky Downs 8 (7 furlongs, juvenile fillies, stakes)
6:06, Gulfstream 11 (7 furlongs, dirt, stakes)
6:35, Kentucky Downs 9 (1 5/16 miles, turf, stakes)

This is a unique contest lineup, with the fun addition of races from the European-style turf course at Kentucky Downs. Players who enjoy turf racing are sure to have an edge, but there’s plenty of balance to the contest races.

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Players should be careful about the lack of time between Gulfstream Park’s 10th race and the seventh race at Kentucky Downs, and again between the eighth race at Kentucky Downs and the 11th at Gulfstream. Be aware of post times throughout the contest, and have default picks in.

You can sign up at https://www.bcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx.

Sunday contest

On Sunday, there’s a one-day event at NHCQualify.com. Entries cost $165, with a maximum of 325 players. Assuming full participation, the top five finishers will win seats to the National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas from Jan. 23-25 at Treasure Island.

The contest follows the usual 12-race, all-mandatory, $2 win-place format. There will be many more opportunities throughout the year to qualify for the NHC at its official online qualifying site, NHCQualify.com.

The races for Sunday's contest are below. To sign up, visit https://www.nhcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx.

3:58, Monmouth 7 (6 furlongs, dirt, maiden claimer)
4:13, Belmont 7 (6 furlongs, turf, statebred allowance)
4:24, Churchill 8 (6 furlongs, dirt, claimer)
4:28, Monmouth 8 (1 3/8 miles, turf, starter handicap)
4:55, Churchill 9 (1 1/16 miles, turf, allowance)
4:57, Gulfstream 8 (1 mile, turf, claimer)
5:17, Belmont 9 (7 furlongs, dirt, allowance)
5:27, Churchill 10 (6 furlongs, dirt, maiden claimer)
5:30, Gulfstream 9 (1 mile, dirt, claimer)
5:49, Belmont 10 (6 furlongs, turf, statebred maidens)
6:03, Gulfstream 10 (7 furlongs, dirt, optional claimer)
6:34, Gulfstream 11 (1 mile, dirt, claimer)