Horse players wishing to travel to Las Vegas next winter and chase a jackpot of about $800,000 can take the first step through the fourth annual “Live It Up Challenge” online handicapping contest sponsored by Tampa Bay Downs.
The contest begins Saturday, Feb. 11, on the Oldsmar oval's annual Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South card, which features four stakes races worth a combined $650,000 in purse money.
Tampa Bay Downs is expected to welcome 6-year-old mare Tepin, the two-time Eclipse Award Champion Turf Female, for a defense of her 2016 victory in the Grade III, $150,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes on the turf, while highly ranked Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands hopeful McCraken, 3-for-3 in his brief career, will make his 3-year-old debut in the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race.
The lucrative card also includes the Grade III, $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes on the turf and the $100,000 Suncoast Stakes.
Adding to the festive vibe, next week marks the return of Thursday racing to the schedule, as Tampa Bay Downs conducts five cards a week throughout the remainder of February.
Before getting too far ahead of the story, please note Tampa Bay Downs' “Super Sunday” card features a Pick-5 carryover of $26,280.43. The Pick-5 wager, which features a 50-cent minimum, will begin with the fifth race and requires bettors to correctly select the winners of races five-through-nine to score.
While money-making opportunities abound for horsemen and bettors, serious handicappers and casual fans alike can take their best shot at grabbing the brass (or silver, or gold) ring in the “Live It Up Challenge.”
There is no cost to register for the online competition, which runs through April 2. Players must register by 10:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Feb. 11 at www.liveitupchallenge.com to participate.
The Grand Prize for the “Live It Up Challenge” is a seat at the 2018 Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championship and $1,000. Second prize is $1,000 and third prize is $500.
Also, a $500 prize will be awarded to the entrant selecting the most winners over the duration of the contest.
Ray Arsenault of Thornhill, Ontario, Canada won the recently concluded DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship from 65 other qualifiers at Treasure Island Las Vegas, collecting $800,000. The second, third and fourth-place finishers collected $250,000, $125,000 and $100,000, respectively.
The DRF/NTRA finals offered prize money totaling $2,900,600.
All wagers in the Tampa Bay Downs “Live It Up Challenge” contest are mythical. Once registered, players log on each racing day and select one horse from either of that day's randomly selected “Challenge Races.” Each day's winnings are based on the win, place and show pari-mutuel payouts on a player's selection.
Each player begins the contest with a lifeline, to be used if their choice finishes out of the money. A player is eliminated from the contest when they lose all their lifelines (said player remains eligible for the “Most Winners” prize, however). Additional lifelines can be purchased upon sign-up and on Feb. 17 and March 10.
Full rules are available on the contest website.
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