12/02/2016 2:19PM

Online NHC qualifiers exclusively on DRF Tournaments


Less than two months remain until the 2017 National Handicapping Championship, which is expected to be the richest horse racing contest in history with a purse of over $2.5 million. The NHC takes place at Treasure Island Jan. 27-29, a return to a Thursday-Friday-Saturday contest.

Crunch time for the NHC coincides with DRF Tournaments’ exclusive window for online qualification. Last year, DRF sent 50 players to the NHC during November and December and Senior Vice President of Tournaments Ken Kirchner expects that number to grow this time around.

“We hope to send more players to Las Vegas for two main reasons,” he said. “We’ll be running more contests at a variety of price points and for the first time we are running feeders for our qualifying contests.”

Those feeders take place on Wednesday through Sunday. Players will have a chance to start their trips to the NHC for as little as $18. Most feeders require players to land entries in the top ten percent to advance to the weekend qualifiers. There has also been discussion of including feeders at a slightly higher price point where the top 20 percent would advance to weekend play.

This same dynamic -- higher price point, better ratio – will also be present in the weekend qualifiers.

“We’ll be offering two one-day contests each weekend,” said Kirchner. “Some players will play in both but they’ll also have the option to choose between a lower buy-in or a better ratio.”

This weekend, the kickoff of the window of exclusivity, players have the option of competing for $300 on Saturday or $162 on Sunday. For the Saturday event, one of every 38 players will win an NHC package. For Sunday, one in 70 will advance. Winning packages include a $1,000 travel voucher and a four-night stay at Treasure Island.

It’s been erroneously reported elsewhere that takeout on DRF Tournaments is much higher than it is on other qualifying sites but a careful look at the numbers puts the lie to that. DRFT takeout rates are within one point of all competitors in qualifying events and the least expensive in the industry in feeders, with a rake of 8 to 10 percent.

The DRF/NHC exclusive partnership comes on the heels of highly successful exclusive partnership between DRF and Breeders’ Cup Limited.

In 2016, 115 of the 397 entries who participated in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge qualified through DRF-run tournaments. That represents 29 percent of the field. In just three years of working together, DRF and Breeders Cup have gone from having 43 entries via online qualifying to 115, an increase of 167 percent.

“We were very pleased with the result of the recent BCBC and our contributions to the success of that event,” Kirchner said.

Also during December, DRFT will be running qualifiers for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, including a $400 buy-in event with a one-in-30 ratio on Sunday, Dec. 4. Winners will receive their full $10,000 BCBC buy-ins and $500 in travel.