12/03/2014 12:20PM

Winter publichandicapper.com contest kicks off

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PublicHandicapper.com launches its two-month-long winter contest this weekend. PublicHandicapper.com is a completely free contest website run in partnership with Daily Racing Form. You can sign up to play now at https://www.publichandicapper.com/signup.cfm

The winter contest, nicknamed The Winter of Our Discontent, is a great way for racing fans of all levels to keep following along with the sport through the dreary winter months. The contest consists of four races each week and players must pick one horse to win in each race. Actually, “must” is the wrong word, because players have the option of skipping races as well, though most of the winners play between 85 and 90 percent of all races offered.

The scoring on publichhandicapper.com is a little different as well. Each player starts with $2 and the bets are win only. For each losing bet, $2 is deducted. Winning mutuels are added to your score. That starting number can go into the negative if you lose, or, can continue to grow by the mutuel prices of your winners if you’re doing well.

First prize for the winter contest is $500 in cash plus three months of unlimited DRF past performances (for Formulator or Classic). There are also consolation prizes down to the 20th spot. And the player with the best record each month gets a 30-day unlimited DRF past-performance subscription. Plus, any player who picks all four winners any week wins 10 free DRF past-performance cards.

Another benefit to playing in the winter contest is the learning experience it provides. Not only is it great practice having to handicap a few races and make picks every week, but on publichandicapper.com, you also have the option of writing your own analyses of the races in question. This is a fantastic exercise that’s sure to help players become better handicappers and clearer thinkers when it comes to picking horses. Additionally, you get to read other players’ analyses as well, including the publichhandicapper.com editors, who can frequently point out things you didn’t notice yourself.

The next contest on publichandicapper.com, the Public Handicapper Prep, begins Feb. 7 and will cover most all the key Triple Crown prep races. That one is a great way to get a jump on your Triple Crown season handicapping. But the winter contest and the Prep contest are really just appetizers.

The main publichandicapper.com contest, The Public Handicapper Challenge, starts with the Kentucky Oaks and goes through the two days of the Breeders’ Cup. For that contest, the big prizes are two NHC seats awarded to the two players who finish highest in the contest and are registered for the NHC Tour. It’s probably the best and least expensive to qualify for Las Vegas. Just make sure you sign up for next year’s NHC Tour before the contest begins.