04/09/2015 9:52AM

Fornatale: Saturday contests include five stakes


There are two contests in the Daily Racing Form universe on Saturday. First and foremost, the National Handicapping Championship Tour returns to NHCQualify.com. Entries cost $165 and are limited to two per player. Up to five NHC spots will be awarded, and three are guaranteed.

Over on DRFQualify.com, there will be another qualifier for the Santa Anita Betting Challenge, to be held Preakness weekend, May 16-17, at the Great Race Place. Last weekend, William Blake, of Albany, N.Y., and the red-hot Jonathon Kinchen, of Austin, Texas, won their $4,000 seats for Santa Anita, plus a travel allowance. This weekend, up to four more players will join them, with two seats guaranteed. The buy-in is just $90.

The best racing action in the country Saturday will be at Keeneland, Oaklawn, and Santa Anita. Appropriately enough, these are the three contest tracks. Here are the races for both contests:

3:40 Keeneland 7 (Giant’s Causeway)
4:00 Santa Anita 2
4:13 Keeneland 8
4:21 Oaklawn 6
4:30 Santa Anita 3
4:46 Keeneland 9 (G1 Jenny Wiley)
4:56 Oaklawn 7 (G2 Oaklawn Handicap)
5:18 Keeneland 10 (G3 Lexington)
5:32 Oaklawn 8 (Instant Racing)
5:50 Keeneland 11
6:00 Santa Anita 6
6:30 Santa Anita 7

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The card shows terrific balance, with three graded stakes, two listed stakes, three allowance races, two maidens, and two claimers, including a wide-open-looking 11-horse, six-furlong sprint from Santa Anita for the anchor leg. The spacing looks excellent, and the betting in most of the races should be very competitive.

Understandably, contest director Ken Kirchner elected not to use the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby with prohibitive favorite American Pharoah. The timing worked out well anyway, as that race isn’t even scheduled to go off until almost an hour after the contest closes.

Be sure to join me, Lonnie Goldfeder, and Dan Illman on DRF Live! for coverage of the afternoon racing and contests. As always, past performances can be found on the contest sites.

To sign up for NHCQualify.com, go to https://www.nhcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx. To play on DRFQualify.com, check out https://www.drfqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx.