05/15/2017 1:16PM

Nine win into WCH Preakness qualifier

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This weekend on DRF Tournaments, nine players won their way into next Saturday’s Grade 1 Preakness qualifier for the World Championship of Handicapping. Players put up $95 to play and one in seven entries will go forward. On Saturday, Jared Schledorn, David Dolinsky, Peter Acocella, Ronald Tackett, Michael Foster, and Justin Dew advanced, and on Sunday, Nicholas McMurdy, John Nichols, and Brent Sumja went through to the big Preakness game.

There are definitely familiar names in that mix – Nichols and Sumja are both tournament veterans – but it’s also notable that several newer players to contest play are getting serious about trying to qualify for the WCH. The WCH is the first contest of its kind, a $1 million, no-takeout event where the gameplay takes place online. The contest will be held Jan. 27-28, 2018, and DRFT is the only place to qualify.

Players interested in playing in the WCH have several appealing options this week. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, DRFT will be offering round-one contests just like the ones from this past weekend. Entries cost $95 and once again one in seven entries will move on to play Saturday in the Grade 1.

For players looking to get started on WCH qualifying for a smaller initial investment, there are $11 feeders where one in 10 entries win their $95 round one buy-ins. And for players operating with higher bankrolls, you can buy in directly to the Grade 1 for $580 as several players did for the Derby Day game that sent the first five players to the finals. From the Grade 1, one in 10 will win their $5,000 entries to the no-takeout, $1 million finals. The contest is months away, but since it’s limited to 200 entries and interest has been heavy so far, it makes sense to think about punching your tickets to the WCH sooner rather than later. Players can have up to three entries.

Monmouth qualifiers

The other featured event of the weekend on DRFT saw Stephen Luca win his way into Monmouth’s Pick Your Prize contest. Luca finished first with $87.80 from eight collections, the largest of which was Nap Lajoie ($18.80 win-place combined) in Santa Anita’s first. He also connected with Can You Diggit ($17.20) in Belmont’s seventh. Five of his hits were dinks and dunks, all under $10, but he closed out in style with Beltway ($15.80) in Churchill’s 11th.

Monmouth’s Pick Your Prize event is a live-bankroll contest and it’s coming up fast. It takes place on Saturday, June 3, and requires a $2,000 buy-in. Of that $2,000, half acts as a live bankroll and the other half funds the prize pool. This format debuted last year and was a success, and this year’s running is expected to be even better. The name comes from the fact that the highest finishers aren’t just assigned prizes, they’re able to select from a “prize board” consisting of cash and seats to other major tournaments. For more information, go to http://www.monmouthpark.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=10706.

Small risk, big reward

Contest action returns to DRFT on Wednesday with a full slate of feeders, credit-builders, and match-up contests, all of which allow players to fund upcoming contest play. Many contest players operate under a simple mantra: risk a little, win a lot. DRFT allows them to do just that.

Saturday’s featured events include the Grade 1 Preakness Day qualifier for the World Championship of Handicapping, and a one-day qualifier for August’s Wynn Challenge.

Also on Saturday, there is a round-one event for the Belmont Stakes Challenge. It costs $90 and one in five entries will advance to Sunday’s qualifier. Players can also buy in directly for $410 on Sunday, when the winner will receive a $10,000 Belmont entry plus $500.

Last but not least, there’s a one-day qualifier for Del Mar’s Handicapping Challenge on Sunday. Entries cost $400 and one in 22 will get $7,000 Del Mar entries plus $500 in travel.

For more information about these and other DRFT contests, go to tournaments.drf.com.