Back by popular demand, the fun and free-to-play Derby Handicap Contest returns for a third running with some changes, but the overall goal stays the same: with a little luck and perception, be the best at selecting the top contenders on the road to the first Saturday in May!
How to Play:
Each week, select ONE horse from the field on which to play a fictional $2 Win/Place/Show bet, with accrued earnings being collectively added up with the top three highest earners capturing a prize at the end of the eleven week stretch. All picks are due via Jotform 20 minutes before the scheduled post time of the race. You may edit your pick up until that deadline. You do not have to play every week to win, but it’s a lot easier to win if you do!
You may also select a backup horse in the event your first choice is scratched for whatever reason; if you do not, your pick automatically becomes the post-time favorite. Example:
You select Cairo Prince to win the Holy Bull. He finishes 2nd, which cashes your place and show bet for the week. He returns $3.20 to place and $2.40 to show, giving you $5.60 for the week.
If you submit nothing for the week, you will forfeit any earnings i.e. I do not automatically make your choice the post-time favorite. All earnings from all players will be tracked via a leaderboard published on the Contest tab.
Handicapping Contest Schedule (all Saturdays):
- Week 1: January 25 - Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park
- Week 2: February 1 - Withers Stakes at Aqueduct
- Week 3: February 8 - Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita
- Week 4: February 15 - El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate
- Week 5: February 22 - Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds
- "Away" gap of one week
- Week 6: March 8 - Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs
- Week 7: March 15 - Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park
- Week 8: March 22 - Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park
- Week 9: March 29 - Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park
- Week 10: April 5 - Wood Memorial at Aqueduct
- Tiebreaker race: April 12 - Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland
I’m afraid I’ll forget to send in picks/what is Jotform?
Mark your calendar! Write on your hand! Or, track the tag #derby handicap on Tumblr to see updates and reminders to submit your picks!
Jotform is an easy-to-use online submission form that is much more reliable than sending asks on Tumblr or emails, and all submissions are time-stamped to prevent funny business. I will provide a link every week when post positions for the contest race are announced where you can submit your picks.
- Contest participation is restricted to Tumblr accounts who are following this blog. No alternate accounts may be used and only one weekly submission is allowed per individual. Participants and winners will be checked.
- Open to international players! Penguins in Antarctica with computers are welcome!
- Submissions are due 20 minutes before post time, late entries accepted at my discretion (i.e. if I’m at my computer at the time). Try not to be late though. Rawr.
- I retain the right to ban/cancel any participants and or weekly submissions if I suspect foul play, cheating, etc. It will ultimately be at my discretion to not award prizes to any individuals on this basis or any other unsportsmanlike activity including but not limited to outlandish braggery, privately messaging others regarding picks, etc. In short, this is my damn contest and my damn money going into it, like hell I’m giving it to a butthead.
What can I win?
Prizes are not 100% set in stone at this stage, but are always worth your while and consist of horse racing memorabilia and related items. This year we’ll be trying something different with the top 3 earners taking home themed “prize boxes,” with first place getting first choice, second place getting second choice, etc. Stay tuned for an update when I have all prizes confirmed.
How do I win?
Luck, a bit of study, and some strategy couldn’t hurt. Past contest winners often got the victory by way of nabbing just one— maybe two— longshots, so don’t feel like you have to play it safe! Check out the morning line odds before submitting to see what the likely odds will be for a given horse. Also, read up on some handicapping analyses! Tumblr is home to several handicappers who enjoy sharing their picks, including this blog which will post an analysis every week before the contest race.
Checking out Equibase.com past performances and reading the thoughts of hardened handicappers might give you some ideas too. (Though I will say, the pros are rarely right every week of the Kentucky Derby trail).