When we launched our 2021 contest, it had been only five months since the 2020 edition had concluded.
As we launch this year, we’re still not sure whether last year’s winner will remain the winner.
As always in horse racing, there’s never a dull moment.
When I launched this in 2009, we were able to donate several hundred years to a racing charity.
Last year? Particpants pledged just over $2,100, bringing the total of money pledged/donated since we started this 13 years ago to about $17,000. That is an incredible testament to your generosity.
So let’s do it again! We know that there’s a lot in the racing world to be cranky about, but this isn’t one of them. Let’s raise money to benefit the horses and humans that make this sport possible–you don’t have to be an ace handicapper to have a shot at some of the prize money!
In past years, recipients have included, Take the Lead, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, the New York Racetrack Chaplaincy, Backstretch Employees Service Team, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Days’ End Horse Rescue, Our Mims, Old Friends at Cabin Creek, ReRun, Second Stride, and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue, Florida Thoroughbred Retirement and Adoptive Care and Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program
Back when we started, I pledged $50 to the charity of the winner’s choice. Quickly, pledges and donations from participants, unsolicited, followed, in impressive, generous amounts. As always, a donation is not required to play but is welcome in any amount.
Every dollar donated goes straight to the charities, and information on pledging can be found below.
Here’s how it works:
Select a fantasy stable consisting of 12 Triple Crown-nominated 3-year-old horses. Horses earn points with top-4 finishes in official Kentucky Derby qualifying races, racing in the Kentucky Derby, and a top-5 finish in the Kentucky Derby.
Points will be allocated according to the Kentucky Derby points system. Kentucky Derby starters will earn an additional 30 points each; Kentucky Derby points will be 300-120-60-30-15, respectively, for the top five finishers.
Linda divided the Triple Crown-nominated horses into three groups (select “Groups ABC” at the tab on the bottom of the page) based on current Derby points standings.
Players will choose for their stable:
- 3 Group A horses
- 4 Group B horses
- 5 Group C horses
Stables must be posted in the comments by this Saturday, February 19, by 12:00 PM ET.
After the Tampa Bay Derby on March 12, the horses will be divided into two groups (D & E, again grouped by performance criteria above) and stables will be able to add:
- 1 Group D horse
- 1 Group E horse
Round 2 of the contest will begin with the UAE Derby on March 26; supplemental horses must be selected by that day, time TBA, depending on post time in Dubai. Points earned by Group D and E horses in Round 1 will not count toward the players’ total.
A reminder post will go up the week before Round 2 begins.
The contest will conclude with the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7. The winning stable will have the most accumulated points. In the unlikely event of a tie, ties will be broken as follows:
- Highest number of Derby starters in your stable
- Highest number of points at the end of Round 1
If you finish in the top 3, you’ll be able to choose the organization(s) to which your prize money is donated. All recipient organizations must be registered 501(C)3 charities and must support the well-being of the humans or animals in Thoroughbred racing or on the backstretch.
The winner will receive 60% of pledges; the runner-up 25%; the third-place finisher 15%.
If you want to play, please post the names of the horses for your stable in the comments below (if you are a first-time or infrequent commenter here, your post will be held in moderation until I can approve it, which generally happens relatively quickly.)
If you want to pledge/contribute, please leave the amount in the comments or e-mail me at Teresa@brooklynbackstretch.com. We’d love to surpass the amount of money that we raised last year.
Linda Walker has generously donated her time to set up our spreadsheet, building on the work of Mike Dorr and Chris Rossi, who handled that part of the league for several years. Linda also maintains the spreadsheet and generally keeps track of day-to-day operations; without her, this contest would not be possible.
Good luck, have fun, and let’s do some good for the racing community.