12/18/2014 2:13PM

Fornatale: Six tourney seats up for grabs in NHC event


The second-to-last online National Handicapping Championship Tour event of the year is Saturday at NHCQualify.com. Buy-in is $165 and up to six seats to the National Handicapping Championship – plus a travel allowance – will be awarded.

At the same time, over on BCQualify.com, players have an opportunity to win full entry into next year’s $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge at Keeneland. Once again, a travel allowance will be awarded to the winners.

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

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

Both contests follow the typical 12-race $2 win-place format. Here’s a look at the races that will be used for both events.

2:31 p.m. Eastern, Gulfstream 5th: We kick things off with field of 10 2-year-old males going one mile on turf. Entrants are either first-level allowance horses or in for a $75,000 tag. Dr No goes out for the first time in North America for Graham Motion and will get betting action off his European form.

2:47 Tampa Bay 6th: Our second event is across the state – restricted claimers going seven furlongs on dirt. It’s a 10-runner affair where six have Beyer Speed Figures in the 30s last time out – a seeming recipe for chaos.

2:54 Fair Grounds 5th : This is a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint starter optional claimer. It’s a full field of 10, including old warriors Expecting Cash, a tough turf sprint specialist, and Tey’s Big Boy, who has rounded back into form since going back to the turf sprint game.

3:00 Gulfstream 6th: These are cheap claimers going a one-turn mile on dirt. This is a big, full field with a lot of runners with questions to answer.

3:29 Gulfstream 7th: An interesting puzzle for 2-year-olds going 7 1/2 furlongs on turf – this is a great race for pedigree handicappers. Todd Pletcher sends out Battle Red who looks an opposable favorite based on a tricky post and all the unknown quantities signed on here.

3:52 Fair Grounds 7th: We hit the halfway point with a $5,000 conditioned claimer. Corinthian’s Secret goes for a third straight win in the field of 10.

3:58 Gulfstream 8th : The Tropical Park Derby is a stakes for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on turf. Contest players will recognize My Storm Trooper as the bomb who turned the Dec. 7 NHC qualifying event upside down.

4:14 Tampa Bay 9th : An optional claimer with a full field going five furlongs on turf at Tampa seems a good place to look for a price.

4:21 Fair Grounds 8th: Be careful, this six-furlong listed stakes, the Letellier Memorial, comes up pretty quickly after the scheduled post time of Tampa’s ninth. It’s always a good idea to have default picks in place for all races before the contest starts so you won’t get shut out.

4:27 Gulfstream 9th: We head for home with a marathon – a 1 7/16-mile grass race for 3-year-olds and up. Belisarius will take action for Bill Mott. He’s well-drawn and is 2 for 2 in the exacta at this unusual distance, but there are plenty of ways to go in here.

4:46 Tampa Bay 10th: The penultimate race is another cheap claimer at a mile and 40 yards on dirt. Four of the 10 entered are ridden by apprentice jockeys.

4:57 Gulfstream 10th: Our anchor leg is the Tropical Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on turf. Trainer Shug McGaughey’s filly Party Now impressed observers when last seen airing in an allowance race at Aqueduct. This is the next logical step for her. Javier Castellano takes over the riding on Sandiva, another who is sure to take plenty of money.