Archives for February 5, 2021

Goodall Claims the NHC Tour Title in Photo Finish over Donnelly

NTRA NHC logoLEXINGTON, Ky. (February 5, 2021) – Sally Goodall’s name was already synonymous with success on the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Tour.

In the 22 years the NHC tournament has been in existence, Goodall has qualified to vie for Horseplayer of the Year honors a record 19 times. Whenever she enters a Las Vegas ballroom alongside her fellow handicappers, she is recognized as one of the most skilled members of the community.

After years of being heralded as one of the top players on the NHC Tour, Goodall has the ultimate bragging right to accompany her reputation. Bolstered by three online contest wins in the first half of 2020, the resident of Las Vegas was able to earn 22,330 points to claim her first career NHC Tour title in a razor-tight finish over runner-up Dylan Donnelly.

Only 54 points separated the top two finishers on the Tour with Donnelly notching 22,276 points following a season that saw him prevail in five online contests. Goodall’s strength early in 2020 – she was dual qualified for the 2021 NHC by March – and yearlong consistency allowed the NHC veteran to take home the $100,000 first-place prize, a 2022 NHC seat, and the chance to play for an additional $5 million in bonuses at the 2021 NHC to be held at Bally’s Las Vegas on August 27-29.

In securing the 2020 NHC Tour title, Goodall earned one of the few remaining NHC accolades her household was missing. Her husband, Richard, won the 2008 NHC title and was inducted into the NHC Hall of Fame last February. The couple proudly states they plan most of their year around the annual Las Vegas-based tournament, a diligence Sally Goodall demonstrated better than ever this past season.

“We focus on NHC contests every day,” Sally Goodall said. “Since I met my husband, he took me to the racetrack and we play the horses for fun. He has mentored me and taught me very well how to bet on horses for the contests. We have fun and we’ve gotten lucky too.”

Sally Goodall’s luck was accompanied by a good deal of skill in 2020. In addition to her three contest wins, she posted five other top-10 finishes, earning precious points in a year when every bit mattered.

The margin from first to fifth on the NHC Tour leaderboard was separated by only 1,246 points. Just behind Donnelly was third-place finisher Thomas Blosser, who finished with 21,335 points, while Brett Wiener (21,199) and David Wolff (21,084) were fourth and fifth, respectively. Total prize money for the Tour was $300,000 with $50,000 going to the runner-up, $25,000 to third, $20,000 to fourth, and $17,500 to fifth.

Overall NHC Tour standings are determined by totaling a player’s top seven scores from eligible qualifying contests.

In her 18 prior trips to the NHC tournament, Sally Goodall has cashed once for $24,000 when she finished 12th overall in 2017. She has now been dual qualified in seven of the last eight years and can once again take aim at getting her handicapping prowess to translate to a spot in the NHC Final Table.

“The contests are fun to do. It’s different the strategy than betting live,” Goodall said. “I do like breeding, and (I’ll look at) jockeys and trainer combinations. But I just enjoy meeting the people at the NHC. Everyone knows me, I know them, and it’s like a family reunion. It’s good to achieve the goals, and (my husband and I) both did.”

The top NHC Tour Rookie for 2020 was Kris Andaur, who earned 13,052 points. Andaur, a resident of League City, TX, will be honored with the Jim Nace Award at the NHC awards dinner.

The top five rookies receive a total of $15,000 with $5,000 going to first, $4,000 to second-place, $3,000 for third-place, $2,000 for fourth-place, and $1,000 for fifth-place.

To sign up for the NHC Tour, go to www.ntra.com/membership. For more information on the NHC Tour benefits and to view the official rules go to www.nhctour.com. A schedule of 2021 Tour events will be updated regularly at https://www.ntra.com/nhc/nhc-events/.

About the NHC

The NHC is the most important tournament of the year for horseplayers and is the culmination of a year-long series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments conducted by racetracks, casino race books, off-track betting facilities and horse racing and handicapping websites, each of which sends its top qualifiers to the national finals. There are no bye-ins to the NHC. Each year, the NHC winner joins other human and equine champions as an honoree at the Eclipse Awards. For more information on the NHC, visit NTRA.com/nhc.