I've had fairly good luck in the past with handicapping contests. I've won prizes in online contests, and have done well in local live contests. Just as the poker player's goal is to win the World Series Of Poker, many horse players have the goal of winning the National Handicapping Championship.
I've played the Brisnet online contest for the past couple of years and I've come close to making the top 50 a couple of times. There are no doubt thousands of players in these contests and you must have any longshot that happens to win.
Here's how the contest works:
Players need to select one horse in the 8 designated contest races during each Saturday event. For each correct selection a player will earn the mythical $2 Win and Place mutuel payoff. The maximum return on any single race is $42 for Win and $18 for Place. The player with the highest accumulated bankroll will be a grand prize winner of the satellite contest and win a entry into the 2009 Coast Casino Horseplayer World Series!. In addition, the top 50 players in the standings qualify for the Brisnet.com NHC Qualifier Finals on November 15th. On that day only 250 members (the top 50 players from each of the five events) will compete for three qualifying NHC spots in Las Vegas.
The top ten finishers of each satellite event actually win prizes.
I handicapped the races very quickly, selecting a mix of longshots and favorites. I checked the results of the first race, a five furlong turf claimer from Suffolk Downs (a track I never play). My longshot selection finished second, good for $12.20 and a better return than the winner ($7.40 and $4.00). I then watched the next race online - a route claimer from Woodbine. I had selected the favorite who looked to wire the field. She finished second and returned only $3.00. I then headed up to my local simulcast outlet to watch the rest of the races.
Well, to make a long story short, I won four of the remaining six races including the two biggest prices of the day (both 6-1). My final bankroll totaled $87.30 - good for third place and a $250 prize! I was only $1.60 behind the winner and .30 behind second place (and $500).
So for the eight races, I had four winners and three seconds. Funny, the one race I got blanked in was the one I was most familiar with. It was a sprint from Philadelphia Park which featured horses I had seen run in their last race here at my home track Presque Isle Downs. The impressive winner last out had been NIGHT STAND but for some reason I played against him this time. He easily won again at 5-2.
Anyway, it's on to the final tournament!