How to Play Mythical Online Horseracing Contests

How to Play Mythical Online Horseracing Contests

Anyone can play in a horseracing contest, especially online. All it takes is a few clicks to set up an account, some studying, a combination of skill and a little bit of luck, and you’ll be ready to go.

Online horseracing contests can be loads of fun, especially when you win an entry (and the bragging rights that come along with it) to the $3,000,000-est. National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas.

Here’s our guide on how to play mythical online horseracing contests with your friends and fellow horseplayers on

Step 1: Join the NHC Tour

Make sure you have joined the NHC Tour at for an annual fee of $50. You must be an NHC Tour member to be eligible to win a berth to the NHC. Go to  to join or to learn more about the NHC and NHC Tour.

Step 2: Establish an Account at

  1. You must be 21 to play.
  2. Go to Go to the right-hand upper corner of the home page and click on Sign Up. It is free to register and you don’t need to deposit any money at this time.
  3. Fill out the registration form (you will need a valid email address).
  4. When you’re ready to play in a contest you can login to your account to deposit funds for playing.

Step 3: Enter a Contest

  1. There are two Championship qualifying events you are able to participate in on the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) and the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC). This guide will be focused on the NHC. To learn more about the BCBC you can go to
  2. You will notice a menu of weekly NHC contests at varying price points and entry to prize ratios. There are “feeders” and there a “featured qualifiers”. Feeders are lower entry contests that feed into the featured qualifiers that offer entries (or sometimes referred to as seats or berths) to the NHC.
  1. There are two contest formats, “Pick & Pray” and “Live”. In Pick & Pray format contests, selections for all contest races will be locked once the first contest race in the schedule (in any chronological position) is closed. In Pick & Pray events, players must have all selections made prior to the first contest race closing and may not edit selections throughout the contest. In Live contests, selections may be changed race-by-race up until post). However, it is strongly recommended that players submit all selections prior to the first race and then go back and edit as needed, at least 2-3 minutes prior to the anticipated start of the race.
  1. When you have chosen what type of contest you would like to play you can login to your account at the top right hand corner of the home page.
  2. You may deposit funds into your account by clicking on the “Deposit” link from the home page.
  3. Proceed to the Purchase Entries page, where the available contests are displayed.
  4. Purchase entries for your desired contests. The entry fees will be deducted from your account balance.

Step 4: Making Selections

  1. Contest races are generally selected up to 48 hours prior to the scheduled contest date. The race selections will be listed on the contest description page. Contest races are selected by a member of the staff.
  2. Free Equibase Past Performances may be downloaded from the contest page.
  3. Once selections open for a particular contest, players may proceed to the “View/Make Picks” section to make picks for that contest.
  4. Selections may be made as early as the day prior to the contest. Selections will open typically between 5:00-7:00 p.m. ET the day before the contest. An email notification is sent to all players registered for a particular contest when selections open.
  5. Typical contests will have 10-15 individual race events.
  6. Mythical $2 Win/Place wagers ($2 to Win and $2 to Place) will be made on the horse a player selects in each race. Only one horse may be selected per race. If a player’s horse wins, the player collects on both the Win and Place wagers. If a player’s horse finishes in second, the player collects only on the Place wager. All wagers and payouts from the races are mythical and will be used for scoring purposes only. Payouts will be reported according to the official payouts at the host racetrack.
  7. There is a cap on both the Win and Place scores. The maximum score on a $2 Win bet is $42 (20-1 odds) and the maximum score on a $2 Place bet is $22 (10-1 odds). Again, scores are completely mythical.
  8. Players will select horses by name and official program number. As with real wagering, coupled entries serve as one betting interest for the purposes of contest play.
  9. Horse selections for all players in the contest may be viewed by clicking on the “Detail” for each player listed on the Leaderboard. Horse selections will only be displayed once a particular race is closed. Selections for all players are displayed for transparency purposes.
  10. A primary selection must be designated. If a player does not make a primary selection, no selection will be considered to have been played.
  11. Alternate selections may be designated when players make selections. In the event of a scratch of a player’s primary selection, the Alternate pick becomes the active selection. If the Alternate selection is also scratched, the player will be assigned the post-time favorite.

Step 5: Leaderboard and Prizes

  1. A designated Leaderboard is posted for each contest. The Leaderboard is updated after each race.
  2. All prize packages will be posted for each contest. NHC prize packages include a minimum of one entry to the National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas, a four-night hotel stay at Bally’s Las Vegas and a $500 travel stipend which is able to be withdrawn from your account.
  3. Breakage will be awarded when entries are sold to a contest but do not amount to award an additional NHC prize package. There is a complete explanation of breakage and parameters for awarding breakage on
  4. You may not withdraw any breakage funds as cash the balance may be used for future contest play. Cash may not be withdrawn from your account other than for an earned travel stipend.

Set Up Your Own Online Game with Friends

Bringing in new horseplayers to the contest community is one way to make contests more enjoyable. Contests are a lot of fun to play as they bring out a competitive side.

Zoom, or similar video call tools, or chat apps will take your online game with friends to the next level.

This takes a bit more effort to set up, but it’ll be worth it when you see it takes the fun to the next level.

If you do it this way, it will be virtually the same as if you were all together at the track. You’ll be able to see each other’s reactions, talk, laugh, and yell – like you’re supposed to at a live horse race.

  1. First you need to make sure you and your friends all have a account.
  2. The contest must have a minimum of nine entries. A maximum of 2 entries per player allowed.
  3. The cost is $18 per person. One featured NHC qualifier entry (a $165 value) will be awarded per every 10 entries.
  4. You will submit a request form (Click here for the form).
  5. You will receive a link to your private feeder the week of the contest.
  6. Once you set up your event, you’ll receive all the information you need to share with the people you want to invite. (Only those to whom you give this information will be able to join).
  7. The winner(s) of the feeder must join the NHC Tour to participate in the weekend NHC qualifier.


As far as the technical side of things is concerned, you should have all the tools you need to set up and play an online horseracing contest to compete to win an entry to the National Horseplayers Championship.

If you’ve never done it before, this may take some time getting used to. Give it a try and see how you like it. You may even want to play in a low entry fee feeder before you shell out $50 to join the NHC Tour.

Once you’ve played in a couple of contests, you will more than likely love it.

Other Online Contest Sites: