Races Announced For This Saturday’s (Feb. 17) FREE Handicapping Contest At Ponies & Pints OTB

$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

Ponies & Pints is a spacious restaurant that can handle large crowds on big race days. The OTB has 40 TVs and over 40 craft beers on tap.

Here is a lineup of the 8 contest races:

1                                 $100,000 Miracle Wood Stakes                  Laurel, Race 6
2                                 $100,000 Maryland Racing Media Stks.  Laurel, Race 7
3                                 $100,000 Wide Country Stakes                  Laurel, Race 8
4                                 $150,000 Mineshaft Handicap                    Fair Grounds, Race 5
5                                 $250,000 General George Stakes               Laurel, Race 9
6                                 $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Stakes              Laurel, Race 10
7                                 $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes            Fair Grounds, Race 7
8                                 $150,000 Fair Grounds Handicap               Fair Grounds, Race 8

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.”