03/15/2011 1:34PM

Penn National World Series of Handicapping begins April 30

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Penn National has added a couple of new twists to its World Series of Handicapping.

The contest, which began in 1977, will allow players to make their selections from any Thoroughbred track simulcast at Penn National from noon Eastern until the fourth live race of Penn National’s live program. Contestants can play at Penn National or one of its offtrack wagering facilities in Reading, Lancaster, Chambersburg, or York, Pa.

“Most bettors have their favorite tracks, and we want everyone to have the opportunity to use their handicapping skills at any track they follow, “said Mark Loewe, Penn National’s vice president of racing. “And we are also introducing a Buy-In option for the first three hours of the contest that will let players re-enter if they don’t fare well with their early picks.”

The first of two qualifying rounds for the WSH will be held on April 30, followed by a summer contest on July 16, and the finals on Saturday, Oct. 15. First prize at the two opening sessions will be a minimum of $7,500. The fall finale will carry a $25,000 guaranteed prize to the winner.

Entry fee for the spring and summer contests is $200, with $150 going directly to the prize fund. The remaining $50 will be on a live betting account. There is win betting only, and players must make a minimum of five wagers to qualify for the contest. There is no minimum and/or maximum bet per race, and wagers can only be made on one horse per race.

The entry fee for the final round is $500, with $400 to the prize pool and a $100 live account card. Bettors who play in one or both of the preliminary rounds will receive discounted rates for entry into the finals.