11/26/2015 8:44AM

Fornatale: Two contests on last big Saturday of year


It’s the last great racing Saturday of the year, and NHCQualify.com and BCQualify.com are offering ways for horseplayers to enjoy it with stakes-laden contests.

Players can buy in for $165 on NHCQualify.com to win a chance to compete for their share of more than $2 million at the National Handicapping Championship in January. Up to four NHC seats will be awarded, and two are guaranteed. After this weekend, there will only be four more chances to qualify online for the NHC in 2015.

Lower-bankroll players can put up just $21 to start on a path toward the $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. Saturday’s contest is a feeder designed to produce players for an upcoming qualifying contest. Unlike feeders, qualifying contests yield berths into big-money contests such as the BCBC.

Players finishing at the top of the field Saturday will win their $190 entries into the BCQualify.com contest Dec. 6. When BCQualify.com ran a feeder earlier this month, 40 players won their $190 buy-ins for a BCQualify.com contest. The Dec. 6 event will award two to four $10,000 buy-ins to the 2016 BCBC.

The format for both contests is the same. Players must pick one horse in each race to make a mythical $2 win-place wager on. The highest scores win.

Here are the races for both contests (all times Eastern):
3:12 Gulfstream 7
3:20 Aqueduct 8
3:42 Gulfstream 8
3:50 Aqueduct 9 (G1 Cigar Mile)
4:05 Churchill 8
4:20 Aqueduct 10
4:35 Churchill 9 (G2 Golden Rod)
5:05 Churchill 10
5:30 Del Mar 5 (G3 Jimmy Durante)
5:35 Churchill 11 (G2 Kentucky Jockey Club)
6:00 Del Mar 6
6:30 Del Mar 7 (G1 Hollywood Derby)

:: Click here to purchase a copy of “The Winning Contest Player” by Peter Thomas Fornatale.

It’s a fantastic sequence with seven stakes races – five of them graded. There are turf races and maiden special weight races, providing something for specialist handicappers as well. Only three of the races are scheduled to have fewer than 10 runners.

The highlight is the Grade 1 Cigar Mile, which looks like a clash between Tonalist and Private Zone. Contest handicappers will have to decide whether to go with one of those favorites or oppose them and hope for a price.

To win into the NHC, go to https://www.nhcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx.

To secure your spot in the Dec. 6 BCBC qualifier for only $21, check out https://www.bcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx.