Canterbury Park may not have live racing for another six months, but the money making opportunities still abound in the clubhouse during the off-season. Many reading this blog have probably at least SEEN an advertisement for a handicapping contest of some sort. They come in several shapes, sizes, and formats but to the victor or victress the spoils are usually nothing to scoff at. This Saturday’s Horse Player World Series Satellite is no exception as the lucky handicapper on top of the final standings has three months to prepare for a trip to The Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
The Orleans will host the Horse Player World Series in March and already has three Satellite winners headed its way from Canterbury. How to add your name to the list? Here’s how the contest works: Saturday morning until 3:00 PM, any player may register at the Clubhouse Information Booth. The contest’s entry fee is $140 total, with $100 being the actual entry and $40 used for a 10-race bankroll. Fire away, as up to four entries can be played in this contest and up to two HPWS entries may be won. Even those ending up out of the top few still keep monies won throughout the contest. The number of winners in the Satellite is determined by number of entries – One winner per 20 entries.
A contestant may play any race at any track, but each wager must be a $2 Win/Place bet on ONE horse. Any winnings from each wager is shown on the player’s balance but may not be used to make additional wagers — $40/$4 per race is everyone’s bankroll. Bets may only be placed at self-service machines and not with tellers using tournament cards. These cards are used in very similar fashion to MVP cards and come with instructions for use. The cards (as opposed to paper entries in Super Satellites) allow entrants to bet race-by-race as opposed to making all selections before a first-post time. The balances/standings are also shown on TV channel 22 for those interested in tracking their competition… and why wouldn’t you?
There are endless approaches to these contests, but nothing gives a player a leg up quite like experience. Several regular players of the Super Satellites and other contests offered will surely be in the mix on Saturday, but do not hesitate to test beginner’s luck in this sort of setting. A few had opinions to offer up when questioned what they factor in above all else when playing Satellites:
Bruce “The Oracle” Meyer (2011 and 2012 Handicapper of the Year) – “Make wagers in proper order – No playing a horse below 20-1 until you hit one. You can play defense later and stave off anyone trying to catch you, but if you never even hit that top spot once you have no chance. I usually don’t have a favorite in my plans until the last or second-to-last play.”
Tom Anderson (3rd, 2010 National Handicapping Championship) – “Don’t stick to one track. You have to find at least two winners over 10-1, and some days the track you play is going to be chalky. Find the prices wherever you can. The advantage you have at looking at a track you may not always play is that you may not throw out the longshot that the regular players of that track do. I usually play fields of 10 or larger, just because of the options. You can’t play horses that you would spend your money on every day. The winners are going to have the impossible bombs.”
Jason Ige (Weekend Warrior) – “Well first, I check to see if Bruce Meyer is in the contest. I then find out his & Jeff Maday’s contender groups in any given race and throw those ten names into a hat.”
Whatever strategy suits you, don’t forget to register to play this Saturday’s satellite and good luck!