05/20/2016 8:23AM

Santa Anita to offer $1 million bonuses tied to BCBC, NHC


Santa Anita announced a new wrinkle to their live-bankroll contests yesterday: Any player who wins a Santa Anita contest in 2016 and goes on to win the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge will receive a $1 million bonus. Should the same player go on to victory in the National Handicapping Championship, he or she will receive an extra $1 million.

There are three Santa Anita contests to be run this year: the Preakness Challenge this weekend, the Gold Cup Challenge on June 25-26, and the Autumn Handicapping Championship Oct. 8-9. The Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge, the world's premier live-bankroll contest, will be held the two days of the Breeders' Cup, Nov. 4-5, on site at Santa Anita and via simulcast locations around the country.

“Santa Anita has an extremely loyal group of players that regularly participate in our live money handicapping contests,” said Nate Newby, Santa Anita vice president of marketing.  “We wanted to offer a life-changing bonus to a player that can win one of our tournaments and then go on to capture the BCBC at Santa Anita in November."

“That would be a huge accomplishment in itself, but if the player happens to win the NHC as well, then it would become a fantastic story for our industry to promote," he continued. "We think our Santa Anita contest players are the best in the country and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone this weekend for the Preakness Challenge. Here’s hoping someone makes a run and takes home a seven-figure payday.”

Players can still buy in to the Preakness Challenge, held Saturday and Sunday. Call Annie Gutierrez at (626) 574-6388 or simply show up at the Eddie Logan Suite on Saturday with cash. Buy-in is $4,500 and the prize pool projects to be over $100,000 between cash and seats to the BCBC and NHC.

The bonus isn't just available to the well heeled. Negotiations between the Daily Racing Form and Santa Anita are underway with the hope that DRF will offer qualifiers for the Gold Cup Challenge starting in the next couple of weeks.

"The bonus is a very exciting and creative way to draw the interest of additional players," said DRF's Ken Kirchner, "It's a great step by Santa Anita for horseplayers and their contests."

Players can also attempt to start their million-dollar journeys by playing in Santa Anita's weekly $40 "low-roller" Handicapping Contest beginning May 28 to win entry into the Gold Cup Challenge.