“A Game of Skill” wins NHC Qualifier at DerbyWars.com

Derby Wars contest

Highly recommended contest website

So, I got in the DerbyWars.com tournament that I had been telling visitors about over the past couple of weeks. At only $25 per entry, and with the site paying out more than they were taking in, it was a great value this past Friday to play. Well, through the first 6 races of the 12 mandatory events, I was tied for dead last. My score was easily to calculate. I had zero. That’s when I went on a tear, scoring with 4 nice winners in the second half of the contest, including a big-priced winner in a turf sprint at Keeneland. I moved into first place with one race to go, a claiming race at Keeneland that ended up being won by the obvious choice and favorite. The standings up top did not change and I had held on to defeat 206 other players.

Since I am already qualified for the “Big Dance” – the $2 million National Handicapping Championship (NHC) – the main prize was given to the 2nd place finisher, some guy with the handle “Frank S.” However, in addition to the $115 cash prize I won, I earned 3,000 NHC Tour Points.  What’s that? Players who pay a $45 annual fee not only get to play in some free online contests hosted by the NTRA, but they get to compete on the “Tour.” The Tour points for the year are calculated by taking the 5 best finishes by contest players during the year.

I now have finishes of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th in 2011, which gives me over 9,000 Tour points, good enough for 8th place overall on the Tour.  The overall Tour winner gets $75,000 cash and the Tour pays out to the top five. Thanks to my win in the $25 DerbyWars.com tournament, I am now in position to possibly get in the top five. If there are more opportunities like this at DerbyWars, I will be in them.

Rich Nilsen

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is an 18-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.


  1. Congratulations and good luck getting some more points down the road to score some tour money. As someone who loves their site (maybe a bit biased winning the first Big Game Tournament on October 9), I am sure we will see each other again in some of their contests. For everyone else out there that hasn’t checked out Derby Wars, I highly encourage you to do so. I really like the countdown clock and the fast posting of results, which helps make changes in wagers easier prior to post for the next race.

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