05/24/2016 10:45AM

Fornatale: Feeder contests for horseplayers hungry to make a score

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DRF is launching its new tournament site this week. In addition to housing all of the BCQualify, DRFQualify, and NHCQualify events under one roof, the big news is that we will now be running feeder contests during the week.

The trend in the contest world is a move toward significant buy-in live-bankroll contests. This makes a ton of sense because these contests offer tracks a chance to participate in the profits generated by online contests in the form of increased handle. They’re great for horseplayers because even if you don’t end up in the money, you still get to keep the money you’ve won if you’re so inclined.

Let’s look at the Saratoga tournament as an example. Under the old mythical money format you could back a whole bunch of nice-priced winners over the two days, but if you finished 11th, one spot out of the money, you don’t win anything other than NHC Tour points for your $1,000 buy-in. This year, with that contest converting to a live-bank format, at least you’d have the option to hang onto any unused portion of your bankroll. In this way, the contest could pay for itself. We can examine the wisdom of hanging on to any bankroll in a live-bank event in a future column.

The downside of these bigger buy-in contests is that they create potential for the avid contest player with a lower overall bankroll to get squeezed out. No one wants this to happen. This is the genius of feeder contests, which is what the vast majority of the weekday DRF tournaments will be.

Feeders offer lower bankroll players – and players newer to the contest scene – the chance to win into qualifiers for a fraction of the normal buy-in. Just to make that distinction clear, a qualifier is a contest where you win in directly into a big event; a feeder is essentially a qualifier for the qualifier, a super-satellite in poker parlance.

I look forward to the day where I can write the story of a horseplayer who wins a feeder for $11 and goes on to parlay that into a life-changing score at the National Handicapping Championship or Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge.

At least for now, all of the weekly feeders on tournaments.drf.com will be of the all-in variety. That means all picks must be in before the first race. This will give people who can't follow the races all day a chance to compete on level footing with those who play every day. It will also please players who just can’t stand the idea of being beaten in the last race by a horse who was chosen simply because of its outsized odds on the board.

The standard price limit (cap) will be in place for the all-in feeders. Horses will be capped at 20-1 on the win end and 10-1 on the place end. A horse can pay $119 to win and $60 to place but for the contest you’re just getting $64 combined ($42 to win, $22 to place).

Players are allowed up to two entries in the feeders. In the coming weeks, DRF.com will present an article on multiple-ticket strategy in all-in feeder tournaments. For now, the field size is uncapped – all tournaments this first week will result in one in 10 players advancing from the feeder to a weekend qualifier.

Here are the contests scheduled for this week:

Wednesday, May 25
DRFQ: $25 entry fee; one in 10 awarded a $225 entry into the Sunday, May 29 Santa Anita qualifier
NHCQ: $18 entry fee; one in 10 awarded a $162 entry in the Sunday, May 29 NHC qualifier
Contest races: Gulfstream Park 5-8, Indiana Grand 4-7

Thursday, May 26
DRFQ: $25 entry fee; one in 10 awarded a $225 entry into the Sunday, May 29 Santa Anita qualifier
NHCQ: $18 entry fee; one in 10 awarded a $162 entry in the Sunday, May 29 NHC qualifier
DRFQ: $18 entry fee; one in 10 awarded a $162 entry into the Saturday, May 28 Monmouth Park qualifier
Contest races: Belmont 5-8, Gulfstream 5-8

Friday, May 27
DRFQ: $25 entry fee; one in 10 awarded a $225 entry into the Sunday, May 29 Santa Anita qualifier
NHCQ: $18 entry fee; one in 10 awarded a $162 entry in the Sunday, May 29 NHC qualifier
DRFQ: $18 entry fee; one in 10 awarded a $162 entry into the Saturday, May 28 Monmouth Park qualifier
Contest races: Belmont 5-8; Churchill 6-9

Saturday, May 28
DRFQ: $25 entry fee; one in 10 awarded a $225 entry into the Sunday, May 29 Santa Anita qualifier
NHCQ: $18 entry fee; one in 10 awarded a $162 entry in the Sunday, May 29 NHC qualifier
DRFQ: $162 entry fee for the Saturday, May 28 Monmouth Park qualifier
Contest races: TBA

Sunday, May 29
DRFQ: $225 entry for the Sunday, May 29 Santa Anita qualifier
NHCQ: $162 entry for the Sunday, May 29 NHC qualifier
BCQ: $21 entry fee; one in 10 awarded a $190 entry into the Sunday, June 5 BCBC qualifier
Contest races: TBA

 

Jamaal More than 1 year ago
I have to agree with the rberto64, live money is great for the tracks. The average player, not so much. Hanging onto some of your bankroll is a very small consolation compared to an equal chance of winning it all. The tournaments will be end up being fields of 50 -90 big bankroll players, while the average player will be wedded out.
rberto64 More than 1 year ago
Saratoga contest again the rich get richer there doing this for more handle not for horse players so let the inside info people make more money the only chance for small players to win is the old format.  The group of 50 people will love taking the little guy money
Dan Camoro More than 1 year ago
Seems like a level playing feild to me.