It’s still the heart of winter, but sports buffs are already talking about the World Series ”¦ The Orleans’ annual Horseplayer World Series handicapping tournament, scheduled for Jan. 19-21.
The World Series has a $1,000 price tag to enter, and players will be competing for a top prize of half a million dollars, based on 1,000 entrants.
Other prizes include $100,000 for second, $80,000 for third, $60,000 for fourth, $40,000 for fifth and $20,000 for sixth, with cash awards through 30th place ($2,500).
The contest’s format requires each contestant to make 11 individual $20 win and $20 place wagers per day (mythical wagers) over the World Series’ three-day run.
Points will be accumulated as follows: Full-track odds will be paid on the first $2 for both the win and place bets, while the balance ($18) will be graded with a prize cap of 19:1 for win and 9:1 for place.
As an added bonus for players who don’t think they will land in the money, the Orleans will host a Last Chance Get-Even Pool on Saturday, which will pay $10,000 for first place (down to $2,000 for sixth through 15th place) for the best point total on Saturday only.
The Horseplayers World Series’ itinerary includes registration on Jan. 18-19, with actual competition to take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 19-21 in the Mardi Gras Ballroom.
Throughout the day, beverage service will be available to players, and a lunch buffet will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tracks from which contestants must make their selections include Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Bay Meadows and Santa Anita on Thursday; Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Bay Meadows, Santa Anita, Laurel, Turf Paradise, Fairgrounds and Oaklawn on Friday and Saturday.
Only bets on thoroughbreds will be accepted; no quarter horses will be allowed.
To help players, Harry Furlong of Brisnet.com will be manning a table just outside the Mardi Gras Ballroom. He will be offering free Brisnet.com past performances and tipsheets for all handicappers. For those looking ahead to the spring classics, Furlong also will give away free Derby advance past performances.
On each day of the competition, The Orleans will post the contest results after 7 p.m. in the race book.
On Sunday, Jan. 22, there will be a champagne brunch and awards presentation for the players.