$500 in cash prizes will be up for grabs in a free handicapping contest Saturday February 17th at the Ponies & Pints OTB in downtown Richmond (110 N. 18th Street). Fair Grounds hosts their Louisiana Derby Preview Day card and Laurel hosts their annual President Day weekend program, filled with stakes races.
Fans will get a chance to select a horse in 8 contest races (from those two tracks). They will receive a mythical $2 win/place bet on each of those selections. The contestants that accumulate the five highest bankrolls will share in the $500 prize pool as follows:
1st – $250; 2nd – $125; 3rd – $60; 4th – $40; 5th – $25
Here is a lineup of the 8 contest races:
For racing fans, or first timers new to the game, here is some advice former National Handicapping Championship winner Ray Arsenault gives to new players who participate in handicapping contests:
Quick Hits Advice: “My main thing is first time new surface or change: the horse has been running with everything the same and now they put blinkers on or geld him, dirt to turf or turf to dirt or stretching out. Surface change is the big one, I find.”
Is your philosophy different if you go to the track for a regular day versus playing in a contest? “I probably bet the same way as I play in a contest. I won’t bet a favorite out of my own pocket. Most contests I won’t bet a favorite, unless it’s a mandatory where I think he can’t lose. But I’m always trying to beat the favorite. So I don’t have a lot of winning days, but when I do, I do well.”
“I probably don’t bet a horse out of my pocket unless he’s 4-1, 5-1 or higher. I say to myself somedays that I wish I bet the favorites. In the Pegasus contest I could have done real well if I bet the favorites. Instead I tried to beat them. I put them in exactas and multi-race wagers. But on a win bet, I don’t usually bet them.”