Archives for January 31, 2019

Bryan Wagner, Trey Stiles Selected For NHC Hall of Fame

Wagner, Stiles Selected For NHC Hall of FameLAS VEGAS, NV (January 31, 2019) – Bryan Wagner, a 14-time National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) qualifier, and David “Trey” Stiles, who has qualified for every NHC since 2003, have been selected for induction into the NHC Hall of Fame, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today.

Wagner and Stiles represent the fifth class of NHC Hall of Fame inductees and will be recognized during the NHC Champions Dinner on Sunday evening at the conclusion of the 20th NTRA NHC Presented by Racetrack Television Network, STATS Race Lens™ and Treasure Island Las Vegas, set for Friday to Sunday at Treasure Island. Since its launch in 2014, the NHC Hall of Fame has inducted two impact figures each season, making Wagner and Stiles the Hall’s ninth and tenth members.

The Wagner name is already part of NHC lore. The husband of 2001 NHC Champion and 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Judy Wagner, Bryan Wagner earned the distinction of 2009 NHC Tour Champion and earned more than $100,000 at the annual NHC finals in Las Vegas. In addition to their handicapping proficiency at other NHC-sanctioned contests, Bryan and Judy Wagner were among the Tour’s most popular figures. Bryan Wagner, who died in August of 2018, was particularly known for his gentlemanly ways and was described in a Rolling Stone feature as holding court “like a John Grisham character.”

“I am thrilled to hear Bryan is being voted into the Hall of Fame,” Judy Wagner said. “Bryan was almost a lifelong handicapper. It started when he learned to sneak into Fair Grounds in New Orleans as a young teenager. He had an unbelievable mathematical/analytical mind that was a perfect fit for handicapping.

“When the NHC Tour kidnapped him a few years ago he accepted the challenge and fought long and hard to achieve his goal of winning the Tour. Although he had many memorable handicapping experiences winning the Tour is near the top. This honor of Hall of Fame is another that I am sure would be at the top.”

Stiles, an attorney in Houston, TX, began visiting the racetrack in his teens at Delta Downs and has gone on to become one of the most recognizable faces on the NHC Tour.

A self-taught handicapper, Stiles played in his first handicapping contest in 2001 and began his record-setting streak at the NHC with a win at a contest at Retama Park in his native Texas in 2002. His knowledge serves both himself and other horseplayers well as he is also a NHC Mentor, teaching new Tour members the ins and outs and strategies involved with contest play.

“It’s a pretty amazing group so it’s quite an honor,” Stiles said of his Hall of Fame induction, adding that his first NHC experience lit the fire for his 16-year run. “I would say it would be my first time (at NHC that stands out), not because I did my best, but I enjoyed it so much that it made me want to get back there. It was such a cool experience. It hooked me and it made me want to learn and I’ve done that.”

Wagner and Stiles join Steve Crist (2016), Mike Mayo (2015), Chris Larmey (2018), Ron Rippey (2015), Paul Shurman (2017), Judy Wagner (2016), Steve Wolfson, Sr. (2017), Steve Wolfson, Jr. (2018) as Hall of Fame inductees. The honorees are chosen by the NTRA in consultation with the NHC Players’ Committee.

The main criteria for the NHC Hall of Fame are as follows:

· Competed in NHC-sanctioned tournaments;

· Played consistently well over an extended period of time;

· Gained the respect of peers;

· And, contributed to the overall growth and success of NHC tournament play, with indelible positive and lasting results.

10 Facts You might not know about Horse Racing in Australia

#7 There have been many great trainers in British Flat racing over the years, but nobody has dominated quite like Tommy Smith did in Australia. For 32 years he won every single Trainers’ Premiership, from 1953 until 1985, earning 282 Group 1 wins along the way. He died in 1998, but his legacy lives on in the $2.5 million TJ Smith Stakes ran at Randwick in the Autumn. He is the father of 2013 Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Gai Waterhouse.

#8 Vegas Showgirl is well known in the world of bloodstock as the dam of Winx, but the queen of Australian racing isn’t the only Group winner the 16-year-old has produced. El Divino was born in October 2013, two years after Winx, and has gone on to compete in a number of Group races in Australia. In April 2016, he was a dead-heat winner alongside the Godolphin-owned Astern in the Group 3 Widden Kindergarten Stakes at Randwick.

#9 Very few horses have the distinction of claiming victory over Winx, but First Seal has the honour of boasting four occasions in which she bettered the world’s joint-best turf horse. Wins in two Group 2s and the Group 1 Coolmore Flight Stakes all came at the superstar’s expense, before a hoof injury placed First Seal on the sidelines. When she returned to battle Winx once again, the narrative was very different. The wondermare bested her by four and three quarter lengths in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes, before First Seal finished more than 13 lengths behind her rival in the Doncaster Mile. They never faced off again, and First Seal was retired in …