At a press conference to announce details of their 2017 Thoroughbred racing season, representatives of Harrah’s Louisiana Downs in Bossier City announced that the track will host a NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) qualifier event on Saturday, June 17.
In case you’re not a racing fan, here’s why this is a big deal: At NHC qualifiers, handicappers (folks who like to bet on horse races) can buy-in to a contest where gamblers compete to see who can win the most money. Everyone starts out with the same bank roll amount (at the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs NHC qualifier, that amount will be $150) and everyone bets on races at the same tracks. Winners of these events gain entry into the National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas, a four-day event with $2.5 million dollars in prizes. At the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs qualifier on June 17, the top two finishers will win an expense-paid entry into the world’s most prestigious tournament for horseplayers and four days in Vegas. That’s a pretty big deal for racing fans.
“We’re going to limit our event to 100 participants, making it more appealing for someone to say ‘You know what, I’m only going to be competing against these 100 people for the two spots that are available’,” said Trent McIntosh, assistant general manager. “I think it’s going to be a great thing for us.”
Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will open registration for the NHC event on the final Tuesday in May – that’s Tuesday, May 30. The first 100 participants to register will be able to compete. Buy-in will be $150 and all handicappers will gamble with $150, making it a total cost of $300. Look for more information on how to register in live racing programs and other promotional materials around the property. It couldn’t hurt to also keep an eye on the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Facebook page.
I should also point out that live Thoroughbred racing at the Downs begins on Saturday, May 6 and runs through Sept. 27. There’ll be 84 days of live racing on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Some fun changes have been made at the track, including a regularly-scheduled appearance by popular local food truck BeauxJax Mobile Cajun Eatery, who’ll be selling food at the races every Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Track management have worked to beef up the number of horses in each race for the 2017 meet (the average race on opening weekend has 10.5 horses, which is an increase from last year) and have added some new exotic wagering options, such as a Jackpot Pick 6 with a carryover pool (meaning that, if no one wins, the pot just grows until someone does).
2017 looks poised to be a very good year at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
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