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Tourneys an option for NV horseplayers

Horse racing has been able to continue on a limited basis during the coronavirus pandemic, but horseplayers in Nevada have been locked out.

Nevada residents are not allowed to have Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) accounts that are offered to residents in other states. ADW companies like TVG, Twin Spires, Xpress Bet, NYRA Bets, and DRF Bets have taken the vast majority of wagers in the U.S. while tracks are forced to conduct spectator-free racing.

Since the Nevada Pari-Mutuel Association will not resume operations until casino race books are allowed to reopen, horseplayers in the Silver State have been on a forced hiatus. Last week, Arizona reopened its off-track betting locations, giving Nevada bettors an opportunity to wager if they were willing to travel.

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It will not be long until the Nevada race books reopen. But in the interim, here is another way Nevada horseplayers can get back into action. The website www.horsetourneys.com offers a variety of tournaments at multiple tracks on a daily basis. Most of the tournaments are for cash prizes. The eligibility rules at the Horse Tourneys website clearly states that players who reside in Nevada, Hawaii, Washington, Iowa and Montana are ineligible to compete in those tournaments.

There is a key exception, however. Residents in those states are allowed to play “in contests for the purposes of pursuing entry to on-site events through qualifying contests such as the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s National Horseplayers Championship (NHC).”

The 2021 NHC will be held February 12-14 at Bally’s Las Vegas and will offer an estimated $3 million in total prizes and awards. The 2020 winner, Thomas Goldsmith of Vacaville, Calif., topped a field of 689 entries to win the $800,000 first prize and an Eclipse Award as Horseplayer of the Year.

The only requirement for contestants is that they become NTRA members to be eligible to qualify for the National Horseplayers Championship. Annual dues are $50 and it is easy to sign-up at the website www.ntra.com.

There are NHC qualifying tournaments each weekend at www.horsetourneys.com, with entry fees that could run as little as $18 (win a feeder tourney to earn an entry into the qualifying tourney) to $500 for the right to play in low ratio tournaments against a limited number of contestants.

Until the race books reopen in Nevada, qualifying for a chance to win hundreds of thousands in cash seems like a pretty good option. I took advantage of the opportunity last weekend and managed to earn a spot in the 2021 NHC. Hope to see you there.

Maxfield enters picture

The return of Maxfield was worth the wait. Withheld from the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall, Maxfield subsequently underwent surgery to remove an ankle chip and made his long-awaited comeback last Saturday in the Matt Winn at Churchill Downs.

After racing between horses and in traffic early, Maxfield bulled his way out into a clear path entering the stretch and stormed home to beat a good field while under wraps.

The coronavirus pandemic forced Churchill Downs to postpone the Kentucky Derby to Sept. 5, and with the Preakness (Oct. 3) and Belmont Stakes (June 20) also delayed, Maxfield may be the prime beneficiary for a run at year’s unique Triple Crown sequence.

The grand-looking son of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense figures to get plenty of pace to set up his run in the one-turn nine-furlong Belmont Stakes, and his Stakes win on the Churchill Downs main track is a plus come Derby time. He appears ready to take on Florida Derby winner Tiz the Law and Arkansas Derby winners Nadal and Charlatan if trainer Brendan Walsh decides to try the Belmont June 20.

Lindo Report Play for Gaming Today: Santa Anita Friday, Race 8 – Itsthattime (No. 1). This is the time of the year when the 3-year-olds start to catch up in maturity with their older rivals. Itsthattime has found a home routing on dirt and should fall into a nice trip sitting behind the early speed. The entire field is coming off layoffs, but this sophomore has the most reason to have improved during the time off.