Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lottery Ticket at the Shore

My next endeavour toward attempting to qualify for the 2010 National Handicapping Championship begins this Saturday, when Monmouth Park kicks off its "Survival at the Shore" online challenge.

In "Survival", players pick a horse in each of the three races the track selects for that day -- usually, the feature and maybe two of the other races with relatively big fields. As long as at least one of your horses hit the board, you "survive" and move on to the next day, and whatever your horse(s) pay to win, place and/or show is tallied in your mythical bankroll. You get one "life preserver", or mulligan, where you can not hit the board on one day -- the second day you don't hit the board with any of your selections, you're out. The last one standing wins the contest, or if (more likely) there are multiple survivors at meet's end, the survivor with the highest bankroll goes to the Red Rock.

"Survival" is fun and free, and the winner qualifies for the NHC. However, there already 2,283 people signed up three days before the contest starts, so it's a bit of a lottery-ticket proposition and I'm certainly not packing my bags for Vegas just because I'm registered.

I've tried this contest in a few previous years. Once about 4 years ago I was one of about 300 people still alive through mid-June or so, but that was as far as I got. Other times I either forgot to make selections or finished off the board twice in the first week or two. Advancing on any given day sounds easy, but I have learned that it is surprisingly not difficult to have your three selections finish off the board.

Anyway, the first days are the biggest elimination days as people who signed up forget to make picks -- I'd guesstimate that a starting field of 2,500-3,000 gets whittled down to half that by the end of Memorial Day Weekend. I plan to remember to make picks every day this year, and of course I plan to hit the board every day, but as Mike Tyson said, everybody has a plan until they get hit.


  1. terry no plans on wining this thing but thanks to you at least i can give it a shot appreciate the heads up

  2. terry care to share your user name on this contest so we can follow along with you to see if you can survive?

  3. I'm "ZazaFreakingPachulia" (don't ask), currently tied for 976th with a bankroll of $68.40 and my lifeline intact. I equate my start to breaking from the gate OK in a long race.

    Anyone else care to share his/her username?

  4. Larry,
    i am the follower of this blog, who asked your name and have been posting as anonymous only cause i am not that computer savvy and it is the only way i know how. i have posted a couple times before as anymous also.

    my user name for survival is deuerle.

    i really mailed in the weekend and just picked off the board as i didn't even realize until yesterday that they made the brisbet pps avail for free, moving forward i will be giving it a little more analysis with the pps.

    i am shooting for vegas also without really spending real money to get there, i am entered in the next nhcqualify on belmont day, my user name there is daniel e. from jackson heights (queens, ny), finished a non-qualifying (for finals) 65th in the 4/18 contest the only one i have entered to date.

    i would encourage others to share their names for survival it would be fun to follow you guys/gals (particuliarly when i die soon!).

  5. and i meant terry when i called you larry- my bosses name is larry and he has been on my case so i had larry on my mind.