12/05/2013 1:37PM

NHC seats available through December contests


In many corners of the contest world, December is a quiet time. But here at Daily Racing Form, with apologies to Jerry Lee Lewis, there’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on. Today I want to look at the upcoming doings at NHCQualify.com, BCQualify.com, and PublicHandicapper.com.

Throughout most of the year, there are several places one can try to qualify for the National Handicapping Championship online. But for the next four weeks, there is only place: NHCQualify.com.

One good way to judge one’s chances in any NHC qualifier is to look at how many NHC seats are being given away per entrant. In the free NHC qualifiers at www.ntra.com, the ratio can be as high as 300-1 (1,500 entrants for five seats). In the next two contests at NHCQualify.com on Dec. 7 and Dec. 14, this ratio will be just 24-1, making these two of the best opportunities to qualify all year, especially since many top contest players already have qualified twice at this point.

If you’re serious about going to Las Vegas (or improving your chances of winning if you already have one seat), these are contests you want to be playing. They will follow the usual format: 12 races selected for you, you must bet $2 win/place on each. Here are the races for Saturday, along with projected post times:

2:36 p.m. Eastern – Gulfstream 5
3:00 – Calder 6
3:05 – Gulfstream 6
3:30 – Calder 7
3:34 – Gulfstream 7
4:00 – Calder 8
4:03 – Gulfstream 8
4:33 – Gulfstream 9
5:01 – Hollywood 4
5:03 – Gulfstream 10
5:32 – Hollywood 5
6:04 – Hollywood 6

The post times are closer together than usual, but that’s the price you have to pay to have the best racing available with the least variable projected weather. The sequence includes six Claiming Crown stakes races at Gulfstream Park, three Grade 3 races at Calder, and ends with the Grade 1 Starlet at Betfair Hollywood Park.

The Dec. 22 NHCQualify.com contest features a ratio of 60 entrants to every one seat, but on the plus side, they only cost $165 to enter instead of $400, and you still don’t have to leave the comfort of home.

If you’re more interested in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge than the NHC, it’s not too early to start thinking about Breeders’ Cup 2014. Two contests have been added at BCQualify.com. These will take place Dec. 15 and Dec. 29 and will follow the typical one-day, 12-race format. Each contest costs $190 to enter. Seats are worth $10,000, plus a $500 travel allowance. One seat will be given away for every 70 entrants, with a maximum of four seats per contest.

DRF is offering free past performances for each contestant in all NHCQualify and BCQualify contests. Additionally, each contestant in the Dec. 14-15 events will receive a free $10 wagering credit at DRFBets.

If you’re a newer player looking to get your feet wet in contests without risking any money, I highly recommend you check out the latest contest at PublicHandicapper.com, The Winter of Our Discontent. The time to act is now because it starts Saturday and runs every weekend through Jan. 25.

Contestants must select one horse to win in the designated races they choose to play. You must play at least 12 races out of the 32 offered (you can play all of them, if you wish). The winner receives $500 plus additional prizes, with consolation prizes extending down to 20th place overall.

Even if you were to fall way behind early or get a late start, it’s still worth playing. You can win 10 cards of DRF past performances by picking four winners in a weekend, and the best record each month wins a 30-day subscription for DRF past performances. As PublicHandicapper.com founder Scott Carson likes to say, “It’s a great way for any player to stay in the game with great horse racing all winter long.”

Schedule at NHCQualify.com

Dec. 7 – Four NHC spots guaranteed, $400 entry fee; max of 240 entries and 10 NHC spots; $500 travel allowance and four nights at Treasure Island for each qualifier.

Dec. 14 – Four NHC spots guaranteed, $400 entry fee; max of 240 entries and 10 NHC spots; $500 travel allowance and four nights at Treasure Island for each qualifier.

Dec. 22 – Four NHC spots guaranteed, $165 entry fee; max of 360 entries and six NHC spots; $500 travel allowance and four nights at Treasure Island for each qualifier.

Dec. 28 – Four NHC spots guaranteed, $400 entry fee; one spot for every 24 entries, max of 240 entries and 10 NHC spots; $500 travel allowance and four nights at Treasure Island for each qualifier.

Matthew More than 1 year ago
So Calder has three contest races yet the Calder program is not in the AM edition....you guys are trying to lose everyones business apparently. Great job!
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
If you sign up for the contest, you get all the PPs for the contest races free, so not sure what you're complaining about exactly. . .
Philip Conforti More than 1 year ago
I have been reading your articles since u started. Your doing a great job ! Super info !
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
Thanks, Philip. Much appreciated. Hopefully you'll like the book as well. . .
. Anderson More than 1 year ago
PublicHandicapper.com is a great game and you can chirp in with your reasons for your picks.
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
Yes, good point. It's fun to read and write your own race analysis as well.
Eric More than 1 year ago
Make sure players trying to qualify in December research who is already qualified. Some sites like nhcqualify have a notation next to their name. You will find these players in the contests also, but they are competing for points only so a top 5-6-7 finish might just be enough to qualify. In previous years a top 12 finish might have gotten you there. So don't focus on beating someone you don't have to if your goal is to just qualify. Other top players stop after getting their two entries which can make the competition slightly easier also. So I agree it's the best time to qualify, but it's risky because time is running short. Good luck and I hope to see you in Vegas! Eric M.
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
That's a great point, Eric! There will be some folks jockeying for position on the NHC Tour and players looking to qualify directly don't need to worry about them. Perhaps I will tackle this topic in the body of an article later in the month. . .thanks, as always, for contributing.