The Las Vegas horse racing scene shifts from Bally’s to the Orleans for
the three-day $450,000 Championship officially beginning Thursday, Aug. 16.
“This is the last major horse racing contest of the season,” said Tim
Stone, race and contest supervisor at The Orleans. “Next year we will split
four events with the Suncoast.”
The two Coast Resorts have organized a “Big Four” that starts next
January at the Suncoast and concludes with an October contest at The Orleans.
“The hotels will alternate events,” Stone said. “Suncoast will have
a $1,000 entry fee for its events in January and either June or July. We will
charge $500 per entry for ours in April and October. It works out real well
since we usually wind up with the same purse. Suncoast charges more being a
smaller venue and draws less entrants.”
The first prize at the fourth annual Championship is worth $132,000 based
on 800 entries. There will also be a daily $30,000 contest with the winner’s
share paying $3,500. An early bird event takes place Wednesday, with the final
awards presentation slated for Sunday, Aug. 19 at 10 a.m.
Contestants will make 12 “mythical” wagers of $100 each at designated
tracks. More than one horse may be selected per race, but each wager must be
$100 to win. The $100 wagers are separate bets and will count as one of the 12
transactions for the day.
“It generally takes about 10,000 points to win,” said Stone,
considered the guru of horse analysts at The Orleans. “The strategy is more
like a poker game at the end. It is possible to have no winners on the third day
and still win. That’s because those lagging behind concentrate totally on
betting longshots and forget the favorites.”
No points will be credited on a contest wager that has not been accepted
into the computer system. Only win wagers will be accepted. There is no place
and show betting.
The Orleans will pay full track odds on the first $20 with the remainder
paid at a limit of 20-1. If a horse pays $100 to win, it would be worth 2,680
points (1,000 on the first $20 and 1,680 on the remaining $80.)
“My advice is to play medium-priced horses,” Stone said. “You can
pick longshots, but it’s essential to stick with a game plan. We pay up to the
100th position in the contest, and there’s a $3,500 daily winner so people
should not panic.”
Scratches are worth zero points and must be wagered again. Any unused
wagers will not be credited, refunded or carried over. Point totals accumulate
over three days with entries limited to three per person.
The contest tracks include Ellis Park, Del Mar, Saratoga, Calder,
Arlington, Laurel, and Louisiana Downs.
“My personal feeling is there’s no edge to betting one track,”
Stone said. “I would shy away from the California tracks like Del Mar, whose
prices generally speaking are so short. I think Ellis Park (Kentucky) has
terrific value. Louisiana and the eastern tracks are also good.”
Stone said there is a nice twist for entrants that makes them return each
“There is a 100 percent payback of your entry fee, plus another $50,000
kicked in from the Orleans,” he said. “There’s more money in this than
anyone else puts up in Vegas. That’s why we are successful.”
The Championship drew 937 entrants last year. Stone expects between 750
to 800 this time due to this year’s earlier date.
“We held last year’s event in the fall and will return to that format
next year,” he said. “Still, this will be big.”
Entry fee: $500
Amenities: $55 special room rate plus tax per night
Aug. 13-19. Daily breakfast and buffet lunch. Room rates will be adjusted
according to points earned with the Turf Club cards. Daily average play to be
considered for complimentary rooms is $2,000.
Registration: Tuesday, Aug. 14 at 9 a.m. to
Thursday, Aug. 16 at 1 p.m. Maximum of two reserved signs issued upon
registration. One partner per entry.
Prize money: 1st place, $132,000 (or 33 percent of
the entry fees); 2nd place, $64,000 (16 percent); 3rd place, $32,000 (eight
percent); 4th and 5th place, $16,000 (four percent).
Other payoffs: $10,000 each day. 1st place, $3,500;
2nd place, $2,000; 3rd place $1,000; 4th-10th, $500 each.
Tracks involved: Del Mar, Saratoga, Calder,
Arlington, Laurel, Louisiana Downs.
Signup incentive: $20,000 prize money if registered
by Wednesday, Aug. 15. 1st place, $10,000; 2nd place, $5,000; 3rd place, $2,500;
4th place, $1,500; 5th place $1,000. All daily prize.