05/19/2016 12:20PM

Rule changes at Santa Anita Preakness Challenge


The Santa Anita Preakness Challenge takes place this weekend at The Great Race Place. The live-bankroll betting contest features a buy-in of $4,500. Of that amount, $3,000 will act as a live bankroll and $1,500 will fuel the prize pool, 100 percent of which will be paid back to players in the form of cash, National Handicapping Championship seats, and Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seats.

There are several rule changes from the usual Santa Anita live-bank format. Once again, the contest races will include all the live Santa Anita races over Saturday and Sunday, plus the Preakness Stakes. But this year the Dixie Stakes is being added to the menu.

The wagers permitted are being switched around a bit as well: Trifectas are out, doubles are in. Win, place, show, and exacta round out the permitted offerings. The inclusion of doubles is landmark – to this point multi-race wagers are typically avoided in live-bank formats, with the exception of contests like Hawthorne and Canterbury that allow the full wagering menu, right down to Place Pick Alls (back in the day) and Super High Fives.

“We’ve received feedback from quite a few players about changing up the menu for our contests, specifically requesting the addition of doubles,” said contest director Nate Newby. “So far the response has been very positive and I’m excited to talk to our players about the format during and after the event.”

As for the elimination of trifectas, that may or may not be temporary, depending on how players react to the change but the scoop is this: A few years back a couple of Santa Anita contests were won by players who crushed big trifectas. “A group of players have been complaining about that they don’t want to have to compete with a player who hits a huge trifecta,” Newby said, “I figured this is a chance to try one contest without them since we are adding doubles.”

As for minimum wagers, players must bet at least $250 per race on at least four races a day. The remaining $1,000 must also be bet at some point during the contest. There are no maximums – players have the option of going all in at any time.

In an effort to promote churn, Newby is adding some prize incentives for the contest. The Day 1 leader will receive an entry into the Santa Anita Gold Cup Challenge on June 25-26. Additionally, the player who turns over the most money throughout the two days within the context of the contest will get a Gold Cup Challenge entry. Also, the player in first place after race 5 on each day will receive a $1,000 betting voucher to wager on the Santa Anita race of his or choice. This wager will not count for the contest.

There is still time to sign up. You can contact Nate Newby at (626) 407-5161 or just sign up with cash on site at the Eddie Logan Suite on Saturday morning. Santa Anita is an industry leader when it comes to the VIP treatment of horseplayers. This weekend will be another example of that commitment.

Saturday contests

Also on Saturday, BCQualify.com is hosting its third and final Round 1 contest for next weekend’s Round 2 qualifier, where up to eight players will win their full $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entries. Entries for the Round 1 contest are $110 and the top 10 percent of finishers will win spots in Round 2. A player is allowed up to three seats in Round 2, though each player is only eligible to win one seat.

Saturday’s DRFQualify.com will feature a one-day qualifier to the $125,000 Belmont Stakes Challenge, to be held on Belmont Day, June 11. Entry fee is $150 and one $10,000 prize package will be awarded.

Entries are also now open for Sunday’s NHC qualifier on NHCQualify.com, where the entry fee is $162 and up to four NHC packages will comprise the prize pool. Winning packages include $1,000 in travel and a four-night stay at Treasure Island, the NHC host hotel, in Las Vegas.

Also on Sunday, DRFQ is running a contest where players can win into the Monmouth Park Pick Your Prize event on June 4. Up to two winners will receive $2,000 Monmouth entries and $500 in travel, but if participation swells that number will increase. It’s a favorable ratio for players with one package for every 20 entries sold.

Here are the races that will be part of both Saturday contests:

4:02 Pimlico 10

4:17 Belmont 7

4:40 Pimlico 11

4:50 Churchill 9

5:00 Santa Anita 5

5:22 Churchill 10

5:30 Santa Anita 6

5:39 Pimlico 12

5:52 Churchill 11

6:00 Santa Anita 7

6:07 Belmont 10

6:45 Pimlico 13