06/01/2017 11:15AM

Last chance to qualify for Belmont Stakes Challenge


The Belmont Stakes Challenge takes center stage this weekend on DRF Tournaments with a last-chance qualifier on Sunday. Players can compete in round-one events this week for $90 and one in five will win into Sunday’s contest, or they can buy in directly on Sunday for $410. From Sunday's contest, one in 30 players will receive their full $10,000 entries for Belmont plus $500 in travel.

Players can sign up to play at tournaments.drf.com.

Belmont’s live-bank contest for its signature day debuted last year and was successful right out of the gate. This year’s running is expected to be even bigger, with players coming in from all over the country to play, including last year’s champion, Chicagoan Garett Skiba. Also flying in from diverse locales will be respected tournament veteran Chris Larmey, flying in from Washington State, and Kevin McFarland, recent winner of the Kentucky Derby Betting Challenge contest, who will make his way to Big Sandy from San Diego.

Of particular interest to McFarland is the $1 million bonus attached to the Belmont contest should the winner also go on to win the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge this fall at McFarland’s home track, Del Mar. “The best tournaments take place on racing’s biggest days,” he said, “and anytime there’s a chance to win a million dollars, that gets my attention.”

The Belmont contest itself is a two-day affair, held Friday and Saturday of next week. Of the $10,000 buy-in for Belmont Day, $7,500 acts as a live bankroll, to be wagered in the win, place, show, exacta, and trifecta pools over the two days, culminating with the Belmont Stakes itself. The remaining $2,500 will fund the prize pool, which will be paid back 100 percent to players in the form of cash and seats to major tourneys. In 2016, Skiba won a prize package worth over $115,000.

"The Belmont Stakes Challenge has quickly become one of the premier live-money tournaments in the industry," said Lynn LaRocca, NYRA Senior Vice President and Chief Experience Officer. "Our goal is always to provide the best hospitality and tournament experiences for horseplayers, and the Belmont Stakes Challenge is central to those efforts."

Also this weekend on DRFT, players can win their way into the Belmont Day Grade 1 qualifier for the World Championship of Handicapping. Plenty of overlap is expected between Belmont’s live-bank event and DRFT’s online contest. To win into the Grade 1 qualifier, players put up $95 and one in seven will advance to the Grade 1 qualifier. Players can also buy into the Grade 1 for $580. From there, one in 10 will win their $5,000 seats to the no-takeout, $1 million finals to be held online on Jan. 27-28.

For more on all the action happening this weekend on DRFT, including a full list of match-ups, credit-builders, and feeders, go to tournaments.drf.com.

Friday feeder

DRF Tournaments is running a special Friday tournament consisting of Belmont races only for the first twilight card of 2017. The contest is an all-in feeder for Saturday’s round one, where players put up just $10 and one in 10 advance to Saturday. The contest races are Belmont’s first through the eighth. There will also be a typical 10-race, three-track, round-one feeder on Sunday that will generate players for Sunday’s Grade 1.