by Tod Marks
This spring, jump-racing enthusiasts can play an exciting contest on their phones that offers cash prizes at each of 10 National Steeplechase Association meets.
Player driven contests have become wildly popular among fans of football and baseball, but until now, followers of American steeplechasing have pretty much been left out of the mix. That’s about to change. Beginning April 15 – and running for six consecutive weeks – both experienced handicappers and those who want to feel more connected to the sport will be able to compete for $2,000 in cash prizes at each of 10 meets thanks to a new partnership between the National Steeplechase Association and StableDuel. StableDuel is a gaming platform that offers fun, entertaining, and easy-to-play promotional contests that let fans engage with the sports they enjoy and heighten their rooting interests. These contests are free to play, and you don’t have to attend the races to get in on the action.
The 10 participating meets include Tryon Block House and My Lady’s Manor (April 15); the Grand National and Middleburg (April 22); Foxfield (April 29); Virginia Gold Cup (May 6); Winterthur (May 7); Iroquois and Willowdale (May 13); and Radnor (May 20).
If you’re familiar with fantasy football, you’ll be at home with StableDuel. And if you’re a newcomer, it won’t take long to catch on.
Here’s how the game works. After downloading the StableDuel App (via https://stableduel.com/download) to your iPhone or Android device, you create an account and begin to build your stable. When you set up your account, you’ll need to provide your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, zip code, and date of birth (the game is open to those 18 and older). You’ll also be asked to make up a name for your stable. From there, you “start a new game,” select the “track,” enter “free game,” and select your stable.
For each meet, players start with a virtual bankroll of $50,000 to spend on 10 horses entered on the card. The value of each horse depends on the morning-line odds (set by the NSA). The better the horse – or lower the odds – the higher the value. For example, a horse that’s listed at 2-1 would be valued at $9,000, whereas a 8-1 longshot would be worth $3,000. Thus, it forces players to be judicious in staying within the salary cap and prevents anyone from amassing a powerhouse stable consisting exclusively of top talent. StableDuel provides handicapping tips through unique past-performance information available on the app. Each game will be loaded Thursday prior to the event at which time players can click on each horse to access their racing history.
Players receive points for their horses’ performances, and the ‘stables’ with the most points at the end of the day receive real money payouts. Prizes are paid out through the app directly into the winners’ bank accounts, and contestants will be notified if they’ve won. Each meet carries a top prize of $500, but money will be paid out on a sliding scale to the top 25 who accumulate the most points.
To support the game, the NSA will be featuring on its web site, www.nationalsteeplechase.com, a weekly half-hour handicapping show on Fridays hosted by personality Megan Connolly. The show will remain available on the web site following the broadcast. In addition, all of the spring meets will be live streamed without charge on the NSA site, with a video archive uploaded soon after the races.
“StableDuel offers the NSA and our participating race meets an opportunity to expand our fan base with a unique and interesting connection to the competition on the racecourse,” NSA President Al Griffin said. “Combined with our new weekly handicapping show hosted by Megan Connolly, the free live stream of all NSA races, and our focus on social media, steeplechase racing in America should reach and entertain a huge new audience. We are very excited about this partnership with StableDuel and anxiously await the results.”
This isn’t the first time StableDuel and NSA have joined forces. The promotional contest had a test run last season at the Foxfield Races in Virginia. “We began a partnership with StableDuel in fall 2022 to provide a more hands-on experience for each attendee to learn the names of the horses, jockeys, trainers, owners, and stables to more meaningfully interact with the race day experience,” said Kelsey Cox, the meet’s executive director. “Foxfield is enthusiastic about the continued partnership after a great first year. Attendees are more familiar with the platform and are excited to see their Foxfield stable, while continuing to engage with other NSA race meets this spring.”
About StableDuel. StableDuel is horse racing’s most exciting game and offers a peerless social gaming platform for new and traditional fans. StableDuel is committed to the long-term popularity and sustainable advancement of horse racing through its innovative and socially inclusive community.
About the NSA. The National Steeplechase Association is the regulatory body for steeplechase racing in America, and is headquartered in Elkton, Md.