$3,500 Del Mar Opening Day Tournament










Racing action will be as ‘Cool as Ever’ at Del Mar when their summer race meet starts on Wednesday, July 17, and DerbyWars is as anxious as anyone to get the beach party started.

Kicking off the Del Mar meet will be a special $3,500 tournament comprised of races 3-10. Featured amongst those races will be split divisions of the Oceanside Stakes, the second of which is led by Den’s Legacy, a veteran of the Kentucky Derby trail from earlier this year and graded stakes winner over the turf.

The winner will receive a $2,000 first prize. Second place received $1,000 and third place garners a $500 prize. The tournament will be limited to 41 players. The entry fee is $97 or a $97 Token. Entries will officially close shortly after 6pm EDT but the contest may fill in advance of that deadline.


New Players Welcome!

DerbyWars is horse racing’s premier digital contest platform, offering the best contest choices and simplest, friendliest contest environment!

Players can register for DerbyWars at www.DerbyWars.com. First time depositors can receive a cash bonus. For more details on DerbyWars NHC Qualifiers or any DerbyWars related inquiries, please email the DerbyWars support staff at support@derbywars.com.


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Garett Skiba Scurries to Victory in $10,000 Saturday Tournament



Thank goodness for Arlington Park!

That is probably what Garett Skiba went to bed thinking, dreamt about, and woke up on Sunday morning feeling after his four bankroll busters at the Chicago track buoyed him to a win the $10,000 Saturday Tournament.

“Arlington Park is not a favorite track, despite my proximity,” Skiba confessed. “I just happen to really enjoy both [Arlington] Million Day and [Arlington] Million Preview Day.”

SkibaScorecard3Skiba could have won the tournament based solely on the strength of his scores in the four Arlington Park races in the tournament. His horses included:

  • Ausus ($26.20) in the Modesty Handicap
  • Infinite Magic ($37.20) in the American Derby
  • Temeraine (18.00), the runner-up in the Arlington Handicap
  • Pataky Kid ($22.60) in the Coach Jimi Lee Stakes


“My best bet, who just missed, was Temeraine in the Arlington Handicap, who went off at 29-1,” noted Skiba. “His last, on Kentucky Oaks day was a Graded Stakes caliber $100k optional claimer with the likes of Big Blue Kitten and Rahystrada. He had no chance in that race given the fractions.  While he didn’t win the Arlington Handicap, I still earned capped place money.”

10kGameCardHe also annexed a chalky Belmont Park winner (Bill of Rights, $15.60) to bring his tournament total to $119.60 after the contest’s eighth race. He could afford to blank the last four races and still retain $38.20 margin of victory – a tournament rout by any measurement.

In addition to the $5,000 first prize from the weekend’s big game, Skiba also padded his bank account with by taking an $800 Head-to-Head matchup at Belmont Park, proving his handicapping prowess extends well outside the borders of his home city of Chicago. In what was surely a contentious match, a paltry bankroll of $17.50 was all that was needed after eight races to secure victory.

“I find Head-to-Head matches one of the most enjoyable types of tournaments,” said Skiba. “Playing a Head-to-Head match is a great way to have a vested interest in each race in an entire card without having to put your bankroll at risk…”

Consolation prizes for the $10,000 Saturday Tournament were hotly contested with Pete Manzo just edging out Tom Anderson for the second place spot by 10¢. That ten cent different meant that Manzo picked up the $2,000 second place prize while Anderson went home with the $1,250 third place prize. The contest paid down to fifth place.

Skiba has been a DerbyWars player since March of 2012 and enjoys the wide variety of game offerings and the easy to use interface.

“My biggest recommendation is to keep good records of the types of games in which you excel,” advises Skiba. “There are a lot of sites out there for tournament players, but none with the full menu of games offered by DerbyWars.”

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$10,000 Saturday Tournament Tops DerbyWars™ Weekend Action


Next week is when racing moves into top gear with Saratoga and Del Mar kicking off their summer meets; DerbyWars tournament action is in full swing this weekend to bridge the gap.

Topping the weekend tournament schedule is the $10,000 Saturday Tournament featuring racing action from Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Betfair Hollywood Park and Colonial Downs. The first place prize will be $5,000 and the contest pays down to fifth place. Entries for the contest officially close at 5:15pm EDT but the tournament is expected reach its capacity of 67 players well before that time; the entry fee is $175.

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The headlining tournament will feature top racing action from across the country including:

  • The Man O’War Stakes (GI) from Belmont Park.
  • The American Oaks (GI) and A Gleam Handicap (GII) from Betfair Hollywood Park.
  • The Virginia Derby (GII) and Virginia Oaks (GIII) from Colonial Downs.
  • The Arlington Handicap (GIII), Modesty (GIII) and American Derby (GIII) from Arlington Park.

The last ‘Super-Qualifier’ will take place on Friday evening. Players can compete in the qualifying contest to vie for 10 of seats to the $10,000 Saturday Tournament. The entry fee for the ‘Super-Qualifier’ is $35 and is limited to 58 participants; entries officially close at 5:30pm but capacity may be reached before that time.

Qualifying tournaments for the $10,000 Saturday Tournament will continue into early Saturday afternoon and will be posted on the homepage game board.



DerbyWars NHC Prequalifiers

As the first DerbyWars NHC Qualifier on August 3 draws nearer, this weekend will feature three more prequalifying events awarding seats into the that contest. Two prequalifying events have reached the maximum number of allowed entries. One prequalifying event was added late Friday evening and will feature 24 players with a $47 entry fee.

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The first three prequalifiers to secure seats in the August 3 DerbyWars NHC Qualifier were Tom Anderson (“Yagli”), Matt Milligan (“TracksideJive”) and Bill Downes (“BillyD”). The latter two are competing in both prequalifiers this weekend, looking to secure seats in the August 10 DerbyWars NHC Qualifier.

New chances to prequalify for DerbyWars NHC Qualifiers will return next week. They will be posted on the homepage game board and will be announced via email, Twitter & Facebook. Be sure to join our e-newsletter list and social networks to be the first to know!

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Graded Stakes Survivor

Saturday’s sensational smorgasbord of stakes races will be strung together in a $600 Graded Stakes Survivor Tournament. The goal will be to select horses to successfully finish ‘on-the-board’ in each of the seven designated graded stakes races to advance to the next round. The last player(s) standing will win the $600 kitty.

The contest features a low entry fee of just $9 and is perfect for all players, especially those which may be new to DerbyWars or are considering the first leap from ‘points’ games to ‘cash’ games. Eighty players will vie for survival through the seven race contest.

The graded stakes comprising this weekend’s $600 Graded Stakes Survivor are as follows (in chronological order from post time):

  • Man O’War (GI) from Belmont Park
  • Modesty (GIII) from Arlington Park
  • Hollywood Juvenile (GIII) from Betfair Hollywood Park
  • American Derby (GIII) from Arlington Park
  • Arlington Handicap (GIII) from Arlington Park
  • A Gleam Handicap (GII) from Betfair Hollywood Park
  • American Oaks (GI) from Betfair Hollywood Park



New Players Welcome!

DerbyWars is horse racing’s premier digital contest platform, offering the best contest choices and simplest, friendliest contest environment!

Players can register for DerbyWars at www.DerbyWars.com. First time depositors can receive a cash bonus. For more details on DerbyWars NHC Qualifiers or any DerbyWars related inquiries, please email the DerbyWars support staff at support@derbywars.com.

Get $20 FREE on DerbyWars today!


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DerbyWars™ Fires Up Lockdown Tournaments

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DerbyWars is excited to launch Lockdown, the latest addition to an already teeming tournament schedule on the digital handicapping contest platform.

Unlike traditional tournaments, a contest designated as a Lockdown tournament will require players to submit all selections – for every race in the contest – prior to the start of the first race of the tournament. Once selections have been closed, there will be no opportunity for players to change selections for any reason.

For full rules for Lockdown format tournaments, scroll to the bottom of this post.

“We have already heard great excitement from many players regarding the rollout of Lockdown,” said Mark Midland, CEO and Co-founder of DerbyWars. “DerbyWars continues to offer contest players of all levels the most choices and the simplest, friendliest environment. Lockdown will be a terrific addition to our daily tournament lineup.”

The new Lockdown format will cajole players to try new strategies. Without the benefit of race-by-race adjustments, players will need to account for the unknown well ahead of time. Also, players will not have the benefit of making hedging their bets throughout the contest based on the bankrolls of their competitors.

“Frankly, I like the Lockdown format better. It exposes better handicappers,” explained Tom Anderson, also known as ‘@Yagli’ in DerbyWars contests. “It prevents people from throwing Hail Mary’s and shows if people can actually handicap their way to a longshot.”

Players may also appreciate the notion of being able to submit selections prior to the start of a Lockdown tournament and then leaving their computer or mobile device during the races without being at a perceived disadvantage. Since no player will be allowed to make changes during a live contest, there will be no disadvantage to submitting selections and then disengaging from that tournament, whether to go to work, spend time with the family, or simply to play multiple live contests on DerbyWars.

Players not keen on the new format needn’t worry. The Lockdown tournament format is meant as an addition to existing tournament offerings – not a replacement for them. The traditional Bullet- and Survivor-style contests enjoyed by DerbyWars players for years will continue unabated.

Lockdown tournaments will be designated on the game board by an orange ribbon cascading across the upper right-hand corner of the game summary, as pictured below. The name of the tournament will also include the word Lockdown in the title.



DerbyWars wants to know what you think! Let us know! Send us an email at support@derbywars.com.

Also, DerbyWars would like to know what your new strategies for Lockdown tournaments are. We will be trolling the chats and reaching out to winners to find out. So play in some Lockdown tournaments, get a feel for it, and let us know what you think a winning formula is by emailing us at support@derbywars.com.



Lockdown – Tournament format operates uniformly as “Bullet” and “Survivor” formats but requires contest players to submit ALL contest selections prior to the close of entries and start of contest.

  • Players must submit horse selections for ALL contest races prior to the published post time for the first race of any Lockdown format tournament.
  • Players will not be allowed to make any changes, for any reason, to tournament selections after contest has closed and tournament has commenced.
  • In the event of a scratch of primary selection, players will be given alternate selection. In the event of a scratch of alternate selection, players will be given the post time favorite. Late program changes shall NOT constitute reason to make changes to tournament selections.
  • If a player fails to submit a selection for any race of a Lockdown format tournament prior to the start of the tournament, player will not be given an alternate selection.  The post-time favorite will not be given as a default selection if no selection is made.
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Bill Downes, Matt Milligan Earn Berths to First DerbyWars™ NHC Qualifier


Bill Downes

The first of two Sunday NHC Prequalifiers kicked off at just before 1pm on DerbyWars. By 1:30pm, Bill Downes had put his 23 foes on notice that a sizeable bankroll would be needed to take him down in this prequalifying event.

After hitting the first three contest races, Downes had accrued $50.80 into his mythical bankroll, and amount sometimes sufficient to win entire contests of similar composition. But the point at which he likely broke the spirit of his competitors came in the seventh race of the contest when his selection, a horse named Michael P, emerged victorious in Monmouth’s 4th race and added an additional $46.40 to Downes’ already swelled account. Combined with a pair of ancillary chalky scores, Downes had amassed an enviable $111.80, nearly $30 clear of the second place finisher.

Downes now moves onto the first of five DerbyWars NHC Qualifiers, set to take place on Saturday, August 3. DerbyWars will host NHC Qualifiers each Saturday during the month of August. Should Downes parlay his past weekend’s victory to a seat in next year’s NHC, it will mark the ninth time he has participating in the championship handicapping event.

“I have cashed twice in the NHC with my best finish being 15th place the year Rippy won [2006],” noted Downes. “I am still looking to qualify for next year. My schedule restricts my on-site tournament play now, so I have been focusing online.”

Downes has been a member of the DerbyWars community since the earliest days of the site and has been a frequent handicapping contest player for many years. Like most contest aficionados, Downes relies heavily on his own brand of strategy.

“You have to map out your strategy; you can’t just do it haphazardly,” advised Downes. “Take a look at the entire layout and find a way to get to a certain number. It used to be that you could win a tournament with two or two and a half times your starting bankroll. But you can’t just play favorites all the time.”

Downes grew up in Chicago and became infatuated with horse racing after watching John Henry win the 1981 Arlington Million. He got his first job in the racing industry doing notes for the southern California circuit, where he sometimes practiced calling races from the press box. He considers the late Luke Kruytbosch as instrumental in encouraging him to pursue the field of race-calling professionally.

Downes is the new track announcer at Indiana Downs. He has called races at Arapahoe Park, Beulah Park, River Downs, Presque Isle Downs and Ellis Park.



Matt Milligan

Left in the wake of Bill Downes tour-de-force in the early NHC Prequalifier was Matt Milligan, who put together an entirely respectable bankroll of over $80 in the first contest only to finish fourth in the field of 24 handicappers.

Not to be discouraged, Milligan doubled down in the late NHC Prequalifier which demanded a $100 entry fee but featured a smaller field of eleven players vying for a DerbyWars NHC Qualifier spot. Perhaps to the chagrin of many, including Milligan, the field included Bill Downes, who had routed many of the players earlier in the day.

The later tournament took on a decidedly chalkier feel than the earlier contest, with only one winner from twelve races going off at odds of more than 6-1. Seeing as few of the eleven players had much appetite for chalk, Milligan’s comparably paltry bankroll of $56.80 – significantly less than the bankroll he had accrued in the prior game using only ten races – was enough to claim victory and a seat at the table in the first DerbyWars NHC qualifying event on August 3.

“I like the format. With 11 people, everyone has a legitimate shot,” explained Milligan. “You can string together five or six decently priced horses and have enough to even hold off one cap horse [a horse which pays out the maximum payout a race will allow, which is $32 to win and $18 to place, or $50 total].”

Milligan was introduced to horse racing through his wife, a native of Louisville, Ky. He would play races with his wife’s family, especially during Kentucky Derby week and at the Kentucky Oaks. His interest really started to take off after he selected Funny Cide in a family pot shortly before the NY-bred gelding would go on to win the Run for the Roses.

Joining Twitter was also a watershed moment for Milligan’s growing passion for horse racing.

“Twitter turned this moderate racing fan into a racing nut!” exclaimed Milligan. “All of the sudden I was surrounded by knowledgeable people. I was no longer on an island. I could educate myself.”

Milligan signed up for the NHC Tour three years ago, mostly for the free contests. He qualified for the NHC last year and not “has the bug” to get back there next year. He is a big fan of the DerbyWars NHC Qualifying format, which he finds affordable and finds offers better odds.

“When I try to qualify for the NHC, I will play exclusively with DerbyWars and skip the others,” said Milligan. “DerbyWars offers WAY the best bang for the buck.”

For sage tournament advice from Milligan, follow him on Twitter @tracksidejive.

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Tim Catlett Rolls to $5,000 High Roller Payday

As with many of the larger tournaments on DerbyWars, players had several chances to qualify for an entry into Sunday’s $5,000 High Roller Tournament by successfully participating in less expensive games in hopes of securing an entry into the larger contest. This facilitates the chance for any DerbyWars player to have a fighting chance of winning even the largest sums of money offered on the tournament site.

One such qualifier, held early Sunday afternoon, propelled two players into the top two spots of the $5,000 High Roller Tournament, including eventual winner Tim Catlett (@tcat), who would take the $4,000 top prize.

The qualifier would see the end result reversed, with Jason Hill (@humanzee) besting his rival in the preliminary round by accumulating a bankroll of $74.60. Catlett’s initial haul of $59 was second best, but enough for the both of them to secure tokens into the big game later in the afternoon.

The tables would be turned, however, when the real money was on the line, due in no small part to Catlett’s procurement of ‘cap horse’ Golden Cheetah in the seventh contest race. Hill would have no such cap horses for the entirety of the game, and then would settle for second, roughly $16 behind the victor.

Catlett started playing DerbyWars about six months after the launch of the site and estimates he has been playing continuously for almost two years.

“It’s like a big puzzle that you try to figure out,” noted Catlett. “You have to look for prices and you can’t just play favorites. You can win or lose with bombs. Only play favorites if you cannot land on anything else.”

Catlett is a resident of Hedgesville, WV, roughly 100 miles outside of Washington D.C. His closest track is Charles Town, although that facility does not offer onsite handicapping contests.

He became interest in horse racing at age 11 when he came home from a baseball game and happened to catch the Belmont Stakes – and watched the Big Red horse win by 31 lengths. That Big Red horse, of course, was Secretariat.

Like several DerbyWars players, Catlett plans on coming to Louisville for next year’s Kentucky Derby. We’re excited to meet you in person at the DerbyWars headquarters, Tim!

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Mark McGuire Spends 4th of July at Sports Grill, Wins $20,000 Tournament


Americans across the country looked forward to taking off work last Thursday, July 4, to celebrate our nation’s independence and spend the day doing something enjoyable. For Mark McGuire of Newbury Park, California, it was an opportunity to close down the sports bar he owns and focus on taking down DerbyWars’ $20,000 4th of July Tournament.

“A bunch of my friends were going to Hollywood Park for the day,” said McGuire. “I probably could have gone with them and still played, but I would have been distracted. So I stayed at my sports bar and really focused on the tournament.”