12/15/2016 1:33PM

Chrome finish to Los Alamitos contest

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California Chrome isn’t the only major attraction at Los Alamitos on Saturday. There’s also a live-bankroll contest, one of the few remaining on-site opportunities to qualify for the 2017 National Handicapping Championship, with its expected $2.5 million purse.

How does contest director Orlando Gutierrez think that Chrome’s presence in the nightcap will change the tournament?

“It’s an interesting question,” he said. “We do have a full field and exacta wagering so I’m sure a lot of people will be keying Chrome, but there will be some good prices on the others as well.”

Like many live-bank events, the Los Al contest winners typically emerge in the last race. “The final race is always the most exciting and it changes the standings a lot,” Gutierrez said.

Contest entries cost $400. Of that $400, $100 goes to the prize pool and $300 acts as a bankroll. Players must bet a minimum of six races, $50 per race. There are no maximum bets. Players can go all-in at any time.

A large field is expected. The prize pool consists of up to $10,000 in cash and three seats to the NHC. Should they receive 120 entries, a fourth NHC seat will be added

“With the additional interest in Chrome we are expecting extra players and should get close to 120,” Gutierrez said.

The Los Al contest could also have major ramifications for the NHC Tour. Players are competing tooth-and-nail for various tour prizes, including spots in the top 150 (where they would receive an automatic berth in the finals) and the top 40 (where they would become eligible for bonus prize money). The top spots are still in play as well. The tour winner receives $75,000 and a shot at a $2 million bonus should he or she go on to win the NHC.

Los Alamitos have really stepped up their commitment to contest play over the past couple of years and the results have been impressive.

“Our last Thoroughbred contest coincided with our biggest handle day,” Gutierrez said. “Contest players help out. The numbers have shown that they have supported the handle inside and outside of the contest. It’s been great to get to know the players and welcome them each time. They add a lot to a day of racing.”

To sign up, contact Gutierrez at larace@losalamitos.com or (714) 820-2690.

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Players looking to qualify for the NHC should also be playing every Wednesday through Sunday on the DRF Tournaments site, tournaments.drf.com. Each of those days there are feeders to weekend qualifiers for as little as $18.

Saturday there is a one-day NHC qualifier for $190. Up to four NHC packages will be awarded, one for every 60 entries). On Sunday, the buy-is $400 and up to three seats will be on offer, one for every 28 entries. Winning packages include $1,000 in travel and a four-night stay at Treasure Island.

Also on Sunday, there is a qualifier for next year’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. Entries cost $190, and up to two players will win their $10,000 seats plus $500 in travel.

For a complete list of all feeders, credit builders, and match ups, go to tournaments.drf.com.