Monmouth Park’s race meet is off and running, and its action-packed tournament season is already in full stride. Take one look at the National Horseplayers Championship [NHC] tournament schedule for 2023 and one thing immediately becomes apparent: Monmouth Park has become the national leader in on-track handicapping contests and the leading racetrack in terms of sending handicappers to the NHC finals in Las Vegas.
At the mid-way point in the year, Monmouth Park has already hosted six on-site contests. The track has at least five more events remaining in the year. The track will offer more than 35 qualifying berths into the NHC, plus multiple Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge [BCBC] spots and tens of thousands of dollars in prize money. This ensures that Monmouth Park will remain the top racetrack qualifying destination for the NHC again this year. No racetrack in the country has sent more players to the NHC over the last five years than Monmouth Park.
The crown jewel of Monmouth Park’s annual tournament calendar – the Pick Your Prize Handicapping Challenge on Saturday, June 3, awarded 25 qualifying spots into the 2024 NHC. There are few, if any, tournaments on the NTRA’s annual calendar as big as Monmouth’s Pick Your Prize Handicapping Challenge.
“At Monmouth Park, we pride ourselves on annually offering the most unparalleled tournament schedule in the country,” said Monmouth’s marketing manager and tournament director Brian Skirka. “Our contests offer a mix of seats to the National Horseplayers Championship, Breeders’ Cup Betting Championship, and cash.”
While some other racetracks have switched to online contests or dropped off the tournament schedule altogether, Monmouth steadfastly remains committed to hosting tournaments.
“The vast majority of our contests are on-site and inexpensive to enter – things we will continue to embrace in the coming years,” Skirka said. “We believe the on-site atmosphere adds to the overall contest experience. Especially in a post-COVID world, who doesn’t want to spend a day at the track?”
According to Skirka, the on-track tournament model continues to pay off for Monmouth Park.
“Each year, our contest calendar generates right around $1 million in handle. Once you add in non-contest personal bets, you’re probably looking at double that,” Skirka said. “Handicapping contests will always be a vital aspect of our on-site experience.”
Monmouth’s tournament schedule continues with the Haskell Challenge contest on Saturday, July 22, the date of the Haskell Stakes. The Haskell tournament will cost $1,000 to enter and will offer extensive prizes including a minimum of two NHC qualifying berths.
The next finals of the National Horseplayers Championship is scheduled to take place on March 15-17, 2024 at the Horseshoe Las Vegas (formerly Bally’s). Go to www.ntra.com/NHC for everything you need to know about qualifying for the NHC, the NHC Tour leaderboard, and information on the next main event.