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Is the Handicapping Contest Second Prize Better Than the First?

Arlington Park Communications | 03/24/2014 #

Contest Players Debate the Merits

When informed about the improved handicapping contests for Arlington’s Spring, 2012, Parlor Tour, some contest regulars declared, “The second prize is better than the first!”  Others disagreed.  Read on, then decide for yourself.

At each stop on the April Tour there will be a free-standing handicapping contest.  Unlike last year, the three contests will not be qualifiers to a final contest but will offer premium prizes for each one.

First prize for each contest is a trip to Las Vegas to play in the February, 2013, Coast Casinos Horseplayer World Series (HWS).  Second prize is an entry into the TwinSpires Online Handicapping Championship (TSOHC) this November 24.

For beginners, the value of the first prize is approximately twice that of the second prize.  The first prize includes the $1,500 entry fee into the HWS, hotel accommodations at The Orleans in Las Vegas, plus a travel voucher.  The second prize is the entry fee for the TSOHC, $1,000. 

Then there’s the guarantee.  If you are the official winner of one of the three Tour contests, you are in.  You are playing in the HWS, one of the two “big dances” of the handicapping world.  You know for sure that you have secured your chance at the HWS grand prize of an estimated $300,000.

If you are the official second-place finisher, you earn another chance to win your way to Las Vegas by playing in the TSOHC in November.  Now get this.  The TSOHC is limited to 350 entries, and offers 100 trips to Las Vegas!  The top 20 finishers win an entry into the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) in January, 2013.  The next 80 finishers win a trip to the HWS.

The only way to play in the NHC is to qualify through a sanctioned contest, such as the TSOHC.  Win your way into the “other big dance,” the NHC, and you are playing for a top prize of at least $750,000. 

So you see, there are tradeoffs.  Win and you’re in, versus finish second and get a second chance to win your way to Las Vegas.  Is the bird in the hand worth more than the potentially bigger bird in the bush?

Remember, finish in the top 20 in the TSOHC and you earn your way into the more exclusive tournament with a higher purse structure.  Yet the prize for finishing 21-100 in the TSOHC isn’t bad, either.      

Here’s an idea:  win your way into the HWS and the NHC, then you can go to Las Vegas for both, and stay there in between the big dances.

I’ll see you April 7 in Villa Park for the first Tour contest, then April 14 in McHenry, then April 28 in South Elgin.  For complete details on our Spring, 2012, Tour read the accompanying story on my blog by clicking here.


M. Scott McMannis

  • Handicapping Seminar and Contest Host, Arlington Park
  • Expert Selections Handicapper,
  • Midwest Correspondent, The HorsePlayer Magazine
  • Owner and Publisher, The McMannis Speed Figure & Trip Note Service Newsletter,
  •      Arlington Trainer Patterns, and  
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