TwinSpires $2,500 NHC Qualifier Feeder: TwinSpires rolls out new $10 win bet tournaments

October 4th, 2023

Outside of working at a racetrack, to me, there’s no better experience as a handicapper than going to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). TwinSpires announced a new tournament offering two seats, the TwinSpires $5,000 NHC Qualifier. Whether you are already taking swings in other qualifiers or are curious what it is all about, here are the details — along with a look back to the first of seven feeders, which took place Saturday, Sept. 30.


The NHC is like the World Series of Poker — it’s the most prestigious handicapping event of the year, it takes place in Vegas, and the winner clears close to $1 million. There's one big difference that I take pride in — you can’t just show up with $10,000 to get a seat. You have to win a tournament to get in. When you do, they pay for your flight and four nights on the Strip. This year’s NHC will be held March 15-17, 2024.

The NHC format is a mythical $2 win/place bet on your selection, and you score points equivalent to the payout, which rewards backing longshots. In TwinSpires' $2,500 NHC Qualifier Feeder tournaments, it doesn't matter the odds of the horse you like — it’s all about who you like to win.

If your strong suit as a handicapper is picking winners, then this is the tournament for you.

The Format for TwinSpires $2,500 NHC Qualifier Feeder 

In order to play in TwinSpires' $5,000 NHC Qualifier on Nov. 25, first you need to finish in the top 10% of one of the seven feeder tournaments. The first TwinSpires $2,500 NHC Qualifier Feeder took place last Saturday, Sept. 30, but there are seven total, and your next two chances are Saturday, Oct. 7 and Sunday, Oct. 8.

The feeder tournaments cover an entire card. Last Saturday it was Churchill Downs. This Saturday it is Keeneland, and on Sunday, it's Woodbine.

The vast majority of NHC qualifying tournaments have either a mythical $2 win/place or live money format. Before each race, you select one horse by betting $10 (or more) on it to win. For anyone who has opted in, TwinSpires recognizes your first win bet of $10 (or more) in the race as your selection.

If your horse wins, you get 100 points. If your horse finishes second, you get 50 points; third, you get 25 points. Out of the money … nada.

TwinSpires’ feeders are live tournaments, meaning that you can make your selection prior to each race, or if you have a pretty nice little day planned hitting up Bed, Bath, and Beyond and won’t be able to pay close attention, you can simply put all your bets in at the beginning of the day. Either way. Just remember it’s the first win bet you make in that race that counts.

Finish in the top 10%, and you get a spot in November’s TwinSpires $5,000 NHC Qualifier. Finish in the top 10 and win your share of $2,500. All you have to do is pick more horses who finish in the money than your competition, with scoring emphasis placed on picking winners.

Saturday’s Results

Knowing what score you need to hit to win is the foundation of a good tournament strategy. Here are the top 10 scores from Feeder #1, which took place last Saturday.

  • 1 Michael T. NY 725
  • 1 Paul V. OH 725
  • 3 Cody S. KY 700
  • 4 Brian S. CT 675
  • 4 Dave H. MN 675
  • 4 David F. IL 675
  • 4 Lisa R. CA 675
  • 4 Noel P. OH 675
  • 9 Chris L. NE 650
  • 9 Dennis V. CA 650
  • 9 George T. MD 650
  • 9 Matt H. KY 650
  • 9 Matthew S. KY 650
  • 9 Ronald K. AZ 650
  • 9 Ryan M. MN 650
  • 9 Vernon W. LA 650
  • 9 William S. FL 650

How’d they do it? Well, it was a chalky card, which fits to a sound strategy for this tournament’s format. (Look for my piece this weekend discussing tournament strategy for Feeders #2 and #3.)

If you picked the post-time favorite in each race, your final score was 675, as the public’s top choice won six of 11 races (600 points), finished second in one (50 points), third in another (25 points), and out of the money in the other two races. You’d have won a spot in November’s Qualifier, where the top two win a seat at the NHC. You’d have cleared your parimutuel share from your $10 win bet on the six races where your top pick won. And depending on how the tiebreaker shook out, you’d have won an extra $250. Not too shabby.

Go Get It

Have a TwinSpires account or been meaning to open one? You’ll need one to participate. And you’ll need to opt in to play on Oct. 7 or Oct. 8, 2023 for your chance to participate in the TwinSpires $5,000 NHC Qualifier.

If three days of handicapping in a Vegas ballroom filled with hundreds of handicappers pouring over races trying to win upwards of $1 million while surrounded by giant screens showing tracks from across the country, betting windows, and bars lining the walls sounds fun to you, go get it.