09/17/2015 11:58AM

Fornatale: Time to 'Raise Your Game' at Gulfstream


The entry deadline for the Saturday's Gulfstream Park Raise Your Game contest has been extended until noon on the day of the event. The contest has a $3,000 buy-in, $1,000 of which will go to the prize pool, $2,000 of which will act as a live bankroll. The prize pool will be fully paid out to contestants. The contest was initially scheduled back in February, but was washed away by heavy rains.

"There is a lot of excitement surrounding this 'reboot,' " said contest director Nancy Berry, "and we are thrilled that so many players from the February contest have chosen to return to Gulfstream Park to compete for the coveted berths in both the National Handicapping Championship and the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge as well as prize money and bankroll winnings."

Players who competed in the February contest will be eligible to win an additional NHC seat. The prize pool will be finalized shortly after the contest begins and the amount of contestants is known. Permitted wagers in the contest are win, place, show, exacta, and trifecta.

There is rain in the forecast for Saturday. "Florida in September is Florida in September," said Berry.  "We expect a mix of sun and rain, but we don’t expect anything out of the ordinary for this time of year."

Most on-track, live-bankroll contests allow wagering on the host track only but Gullfstream have decided to also use the full card at Belmont Park as part of the tournament. "Belmont’s fall championship meet provides our players even more chances to find quality wagering opportunities to include in their contest strategy," said Berry. The inclusion of Belmont also means the contest can still be completed in the unlikely event of a Gulfstream cancellation.

If the Gulfstream card holds together, it's going to be a great one for the contest. It is highlighted by the Treasure Coast Stakes, seven of the 11 races have 10 or more entries, and five of the races are carded for the turf. Belmont's feature is the Grade 3 Nobel Damsel, eight of the 10 races have at least nine runners, and there are six turf races (including an all-turf late Pick Four).

Last chance

Saturday also marks the final opportunity in 2015 for players to qualify for the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge via the popular two-stage format on BCQualify.com. Buy-in is $165 and players finishing in the top 10 percent will advance to next Saturday's Round Two contest where seats to the BCBC will be awarded.

Also, on both Saturday and Sunday, DRFQualify.com will be hosting contests where players can win their way in to next month's Autumn Betting Championship (held Oct. 17-18). Buy-in for both of those events is $150, and players will compete for up to two $4,000 seats to Santa Anita, plus a $500 travel allowance.

Here are the races that will make up both the Saturday qualifying contests:

3:27    Gulfstream 5

3:40    Belmont 6

4:13    Belmont 7

4:33    Gulfstream 7

4:46    Belmont 8

4:50    Parx 9

5:05    Kentucky Downs 9

5:19    Belmont 9

5:41    Gulfstream 9

5:45    Parx 10

6:05    Kentucky Downs 11

6:15    Gulfstream 10

Players competing in the Gulfstream contest who plan on multi-tabling will be pleased to see four races each from the two tracks being used in that contest, Gulfstream itself and Belmont. The sequence is rounded out with a pair of $1 million-dollar events from Parx and two races from Kentucky Downs. For a chance to win your way into the Breeders' Cup contest, go to https://www.bcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx. To get your Santa Anita seat, check out https://www.drfqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx.