07/20/2017 4:21PM

Contests start earlier Friday for Saratoga's opening day


If it’s true that the early bird gets the worm, then the early bird should see its name on the DRF Tournaments leaderboard on Friday. Early birds aside, DRFT regulars need to be aware of the unusually early start time on Friday of 1 p.m. Eastern.

DRFT has just announced a special lineup for opening day at Saratoga: a 10-race sequence covering the full Saratoga card. All the contests will be using the all-in format, meaning all picks need to be in before 1 p.m., the scheduled post time of Saratoga’s first race.

Here are some of the highlights:

• Qualifiers for both the Wynn Handicapping Challenge and Saratoga Handicapping Challenge. Each contest has the same terms: The buy-in is $290, and one in 10 entries will win a prize worth $2,500. In both instances, $500 in travel is included. For the Wynn, that total also includes an entry to the mythical-money contest Aug. 4-5 at the Wynn Las Vegas. For Saratoga, winners get two $1,000 entries to the live-bankroll contests Aug. 9-10.

• Friday also offers two ways to win into this weekend’s richest DRFT contest, the last-chance qualifier for the Del Mar Handicapping Challenge on Saturday. Players can put up $44, finish in the top 10 percent of the field, and win a $400 entry. In a separate event, participants will put up $90, finish in the top 20 percent of the field, and receive that same $400 buy-in for Saturday. Saturday’s contest will give one in 22 entries a $7,500 package for the Del Mar tournament on July 29-30.

Be on the lookout all summer for special contest lineups and interesting new tournaments. For a full list of everything scheduled on DRFT, go to tournaments.drf.com.