08/08/2016 1:55PM

Battle of Saratoga has some tweaks

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The Battle of Saratoga starts on Wednesday at Saratoga. There will be two separate contests this year -- one Wednesday, one Thursday. Both will be live-bankroll events with a buy-in of $1,000. Of that total, $600 will act as a bankroll and the remaining $400 will go to a prize pool, 100 percent of which will be paid back to players in the form of seats to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and  National Handicapping Championship as well as cash.

This is a new format for this tournament, which used to be a mythical-money event. Last year, real money was used, but the bankroll was fixed. The change represents the latest example of the trend toward live-bankroll formats over mythical-money ones.

On Wednesday, the contest tracks are Saratoga and Delaware. For Thursday, Saratoga and Gulfstream will be included. Permitted wagers are win, place, show, exacta, and trifecta.

Because of a New York State statute dictating that any contest held in the state must contain at least half New York races, the rules are slightly more complicated than the average live-bankroll contest.

Contestants must wager a minimum of $60 on 10 different races ($600 total). They may bet more races or more than $60 per race if they choose. They can also wager less than $60 in any race as long as they wager a minimum of $60 in 10 total races.

Here’s the tricky part. Per that statute, contestants must wager a minimum of $60 on at least five races at Saratoga. If a contestant wagers a minimum of $60 on more than five different Saratoga races, they may also bet on more races from a non-NYRA track. However, a contestant may not wager on more non-NYRA races than NYRA races.

For example, it is permitted to wager $60 on six separate Saratoga races, and then wager $60 on four Gulfstream races, plus any dollar amount on two additional Gulfstream races. It is not okay to wager $60 on six separate Saratoga races, and then wager $60 on four Gulfstream races and any dollar amount on three additional Gulfstream races.

To follow the Saratoga tournament, make sure to check in at live.drf.com and via the @DRFTournaments Twitter feed.