*but probably not for the NHC
That's right. I didn't qualify for the 2012 NHC, but I did qualify for a play-in contest to the 2012 NHC via Horseplayersqualify.com.
Here's how it went down. After being pretty much resigned to my fate of not qualifying for the 2012 NHC because I failed to qualify in the first 11 3/4 months of 2011, I received an e-mail from William H. at NJHorseplayer.com that mentioned he would be participating in today's contest, which I had been unaware of. I wasn't crazy about the specs, i.e. 1/3 takeout and seemingly a wild-goose chase to Vegas, but given the low $50 ante and with me nursing a Christmas cold and half a box of wine to kick, I figured I'd give it a whirl and sign up.
I didn't spend much time on the PPs, but the planets aligned for my tried-and-true short-cut angles. Trainer recency landed me on American Blend at 5SA ($23 to win, $9.40 to place) and Voce de Leone in 9GP ($10.80, $5), while an odds-movement pattern pointed me to Gorgelicious in 7GP ($10.60 to place). Throw in a few logical chalks (What a Rush in 2SA, Bernster in 3SA, Tiz a Theme in 11GP), and I had enough notional bankroll to finish in 6th place of 240 contestants.
So along with the five folks who finished ahead of me and the two who finished right behind me, I won a free entry to the Treasure Island play-in on Wednesday Jan. 25 ($500 value), plus a $500 travel voucher to Sin City.
I'm not sure what the specs are for the play-in, but given the fairly steep $500 ante I'm assuming it'll come with a reasonable chance to qualify, perhaps 1/15 or somesuch. I'll plan to go to Vegas on Tues Jan. 24 and return late-night Wed. Jan. 25; I'll try to fly Southwest (no change fees), so on the off chance that I qualify I'll stick around for the NHC, which is Fri Jan. 27-Sat Jan. 28.
I kind of feel like a middling college team heading into its conference tourney on a hot (or at least warm) streak, hoping to win at least a couple more games to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
I probably won't qualify, but it will be fun.