Hawthorne Horseplayers Invitational Set For April 7 With Prestigious Line-Up

What started out in a marketing brainstorming session has evolved into a major event to open the spring meet as the Hawthorne Horseplayers Invitational will be taking place on Saturday, April 7. Hawthorne has been an innovator in the category of handicapping contests, leading the charge of transforming the format of handicapping contests. For many years, contests were based upon a basic $2 win/place return. Through the development of software to expand the contest, Hawthorne moved to the open bankroll format, allowing for players to have to truly manage a bankroll, instead of focusing on a single horse in a race.

In recent years, NHC qualifiers at Hawthorne have been a major attraction, with numerous seats being awarded to the National Horseplayers Championship. Hawthorne contest winners have made a very good showing in the Vegas finals as the interest in the local contest has grown. While Hawthorne continues to host NHC qualifiers throughout the year, the Hawthorne Horseplayers Invitational will be taking things one step further.

Presented by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, the Hawthorne Horseplayers Invitational brings 25 of the top handicappers in the country as each player will be managing a $1,500 bankroll throughout the afternoon. The contest format is easy as there will be five mandatory races that all players will focus on, along with one optional race. In the first four mandatory races, players will be wagering $200 apiece on each race, covering win and place, along with the available gimmicks offered on that race. In the final mandatory race, each player will have to play a minimum of $500 on the race, but can wager more if they have funds available. The unknown will come as players will have the choice of one optional race to play, where they can place $200 on that race.

Where the contest gets interesting comes with the coverage of the event. Hawthorne racing analyst Jim Miller will be joined by Ren Carothers of Equestricon as the duo will host the event in front of a room of spectators. Throughout the event, cameras will be following the players as Miller and Carothers gather behind the scenes interviews along with bringing players in front of the fans to explain their wagering strategy. With all of the players wagering on five of the same races, the room will become electric with each event as cameras will get the instant excitement and reaction with each race.

Following the event, a two week series will be produced and shown on NBCSports Chicago on April 21 and 28 at 10:30 a.m. with the full coverage of the contest. Background interviews with the players will be conducted along with a recap of the races, the wagers, the leaderboard, and the contest winner.

The list of contestants for the Hawthorne Handicappers Invitational is a Who’s Who of the national handicapping scene. The contest includes four NHC champions as 2001 winner Judy Wagner leads the charge, along with 2003 champ Steve Wolfson, 2007 winner Stanley Bavlish, and 2014 winner and Hawthorne player Jim Benes. Additionally, 2017 NHC tour winner Mike Ferrozzo joins the group. TVG racing analyst Matt Carothers will be in town to compete in the Hawthorne Handicapping Invitational and will be joined by Eric Barlund, VP of Midwest Sales for Tito’s Vodka, racing and sports executive Basil DeVito, and the father-son combination of Peter Rotondo Jr. and Sr., both major contributors to
Horseplayers, a series on Esquire Network following handicappers throughout the course of a racing day in high stakes handicapping.

The prizes for the contest are aplenty as well as the 25 players will not only get to keep their earnings off the $1,500 bankroll plays, but will have additional cash and prizes on the line. Top prize in the Hawthorne Handicappers Invitational will be $10,000 along with a paid-for entry into the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and 2019 NHC. Second prize is $2,500 and a seat in the 2019 NHC. Third-place will receive $1,500 additional along with a two-day entry in Hawthorne’s November NHC qualifier while placed 4-10 will all receive two day entries into Hawthorne’s November NHC qualifier. In addition to the prizes listed for the top two finishers, if either contest winner goes on to win the NHC or BCBC, they will receive a $1 million bonus.

The post Hawthorne Horseplayers Invitational Set For April 7 With Prestigious Line-Up appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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