05/08/2015 10:58AM

Fornatale: Two-stage BCBC qualifying returns with a twist


The two-stage qualifying format for the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge returns Sunday to BCQualify.com with a little twist. In past months, up to eight seats for the BCBC, the world’s biggest and best live-bankroll tournament, have been awarded. This month on BCQualify.com, up to 12 spots will be awarded.

There are three first-round events to take place the next three Sundays. Players finishing in the top 10 percent of the field will advance to Round 2 on May 31. That field will have a maximum of 96 players, and assuming full participation, the top 12.5 percent of the field (12 total players) will win full $10,000 entries to the BCBC.

The two-stage format is very popular with players because it rewards consistency over just having a miracle day. Having to finish in the top 10 percent means players can focus more on the lower end of the odds spectrum if they wish, as opposed to reaching for all longer prices. Of course, there are many ways to approach the format, but in all instances, a player’s target score can be a lot lower under these rules.

The buy-in for Sunday’s contest is $165, and entries are limited to two per player. Last year, Bob Traynor won his way into the BCBC on BCQualify.com and walked away with more than $300,000 at the main event. Two-time BCBC winner Patrick McGoey qualified on BCQualify.com as well.

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Also on Sunday, DRFQualify.com will be hosting a qualifier for the Gulfstream Park Raise Your Game contest, a live-bankroll tournament taking place Sept. 19. The prize pool for the Gulfstream contest is expected to be around $100,000 in cash and seats to the National Handicapping Championship and BCBC.

The buy-in for the qualifier is $90, and you can win your full $3,000 entry, plus a travel allowance. The contest will consist of races from Gulfstream that day and a selection of the best racing from around the country.

Here are the races for Sunday’s qualifiers:

3:30 Gulfstream 6
3:39 Monmouth 7
3:47 Churchill 7
4:00 Gulfstream 7
4:10 Monmouth 8
4:26 Belmont 7
4:30 Gulfstream 8
4:49 Churchill 9
4:57 Belmont 8
5:12 Monmouth 10  
5:20 Churchill 10
5:28 Belmont 9

It’s a lean, mean contest – the whole event takes place in about two hours. East Coast fans will be pleased to see Belmont, Monmouth, Gulfstream, and Churchill in the mix, which makes particular sense since this is a qualifier for the Gulfstream contest. It’s mostly high-level allowances and claimers, with three maiden events included. The spacing looks good, especially given the time frame of the contest, but it would be a good idea for players to get default picks in so they don’t get shut out.

Past performances for all races are available free of charge at both contest sites. To sign up for the BCBC qualifier, click here. To win your way into the Gulfstream contest, click here.