About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 14-time qualifier to the National Handicapping Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He recently won a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is also a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program. He is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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2018 NYRA Handicapping Tournament Schedule

Highlighted by the third annual Belmont Stakes Challenge, The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has released the 2018 schedule for handicapping challenges at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course.

Each handicapping contest offers horseplayers the opportunity to win live money wagered in addition to the prize pool. Each NYRA handicapping challenge will also offer the opportunity qualify for a seat to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge in November and the National Horseplayers Championship in February 2019.

In addition to registering online at NYRA.com, horseplayers can also directly qualify into each NYRA handicapping challenge through qualifiers hosted at DRF.com and Horsetourneys.com.

Aqueduct Racetrack Winter/Spring meet
* Saturday, March 10, Gotham Challenge: $500 Entry Fee, one seat to the 2018 Belmont Stakes Challenge, two seats to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship. Guaranteed minimum 1st place prize of $5,000.

* Saturday, April 7, Wood Memorial Challenge: $500 Entry Fee, one seat to the 2018 Belmont Stakes Challenge, two seats to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship. Guaranteed minimum 1st place prize of $5,000.

Belmont Park
* Friday, June 8, and Saturday, June 9 Belmont Stakes Challenge: $10,000 Entry Fee, one seat to the 2019 Belmont Stakes Challenge, two seats to 2018 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, 4 seats to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championships. 100 percent of the prize money will be returned to players after deducting the cost of seats. Wagering will take place on all live races from Belmont Park on Friday, June 8 and will conclude on Saturday, June 9 with the Belmont Stakes.

* Saturday, July 7, Stars & Stripes Challenge: $500 Entry Fee, one seat to the 2019 Belmont Stakes Challenge, 2 seats to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship. Guaranteed minimum 1st place prize of $5,000.

Saratoga canopy walk throughSaratoga Race Course
* Friday, August 10, Saratoga Challenge: $1,000 Entry Fee, one seat to the 2019 Belmont Stakes Challenge, three seats to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship. Guaranteed minimum 1st place of $15,000.

* Saturday, August 11, Fourstardave Challenge: $2,000 Entry Fee, one seat to the 2019 Belmont Stakes Challenge, five seats to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship. Guaranteed minimum 1st place prize of $25,000.


Aqueduct Racetrack Fall Meet
* Saturday, November 17, Aqueduct Challenge: $1,000 Entry Fee, one seat to the 2019 Belmont Stakes Challenge and six seats to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship. Guaranteed minimum 1st place prize of $10,000.

For more information including full rules and regulations for each 2018 NYRA handicapping challenge, please visit nyra.com/challenge.

Strong 2018 Canterbury Park Meet on Tap

Press Release

Canterbury Park racing officials announced a thoroughbred stakes schedule for the 2018 season with 35 races worth $2.375 million, including three new races and increased purses for nine existing stakes. The Shakopee, Minn. track’s richest race, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, will be run Saturday, June 23 along with four other stakes totaling $500,000 in stakes purses alone. The six stakes races that make up the Minnesota Festival of Champions will also be worth a half-million dollars. Scheduled for Sept. 2, each race sees a $15,000 purse increase. The Sprint, Distaff Sprint, Classic, and Distaff Classic all have purses of $75,000 and the Northern Lights Futurity and Debutante increase to $100,000.

“We will be offering the richest stakes schedule in Canterbury Park history, with two days offering half a million dollars in stakes purses, and more total purse money than ever before,” company president Randy Sampson said. Racing officials expect that total purses will increase to $15 million or nearly $1.2 million more than the 2017 season.

New to the schedule are the $45,000 Minnesota Made Sprint and Minnesota Made Distaff Sprint on July 20 and the $100,000 Canterbury Turf Express, run Aug. 24. The Minnesota Oaks and Minnesota Derby, whose history pre-dates Canterbury, each will offer a record purse of $100,000.

A 2012 cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement reached with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, owners and operators of nearby Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, will supplement purses by $7.28 million in the coming race season. The agreement extends through 2022 with more than $83 million going toward purse supplements and joint marketing of the two properties and the region known as RiverSouth-Land of Big Fun.

“The SMSC agreement was intended to improve racing at Canterbury on the whole, but also specifically to encourage and reward those that breed horses in Minnesota and those that race those state-breds here,” Sampson said. “We saw breeding increase when the agreement was announced and stabilize with the quality of horses improving along with the purses. The two horses with the highest purse earnings in the 31-year history of Canterbury both raced as recently as last season and both were bred in Minnesota.”

The first condition book will be available February 2. Stall applications are due March 26 and are available at www.canterburypark.com .

The 70-day live racing season begins May 4 and runs through Sept. 15.

$616,553 Rainbow Six Carryover at Gulfstream Park today

Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018

Press Release

The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 10th consecutive program Sunday at Gulfstream Park, producing a $616,553 carryover jackpot for Wednesday’sprogram.

Gulfstream Park paddockMultiple winning tickets Sunday were each worth $418.36.

There will also be a Super Hi 5 carryover Wednesday of $3,594.14.

The Rainbow 6 was last hit Jan. 28, when the mandatory payout of a North American record $19.779 million pool produced multiple winning tickets worth $15,566.

The carryover jackpot is only paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool. However, on days when a mandatory payout is scheduled, the entire pool is shared by those holding tickets with the most winners.

The Rainbow 6 carryover heading into Sunday’s six-race sequence (Races 7-12) stood at $506,538.61, generating a handle of $458,480.

Brazilian Jockey Scores World Record Win 12,844

jockey riding a horse raceJorge Ricardo Nabs World Record for Rider Wins

For years, Brazilian jockey Jorge Ricardo battled for one of the least heard-of, yet toughest titles in sport — most horse races won — and on Monday he got there with a 12,844th victory. The win in the rain at Rio de Janeiro’s Hipodromo race track equalled the extraordinary world record held by Ricardo’s career-long Canadian… [Read more…]

2018 National Horseplayers Championship Begins Today in Vegas

Nearly $3 Million, ‘Horseplayer of the Year’ Eclipse Award on the Line at NHC 19

A record estimated field of 700 entries will compete for the largest purse in handicapping tournament history – projected at more than $2.96 million in cash and awards – and horse racing’s official title of “Horseplayer of the Year” – at this weekend’s 19th NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Presented by Racetrack Television Network, STATS Race Lens™ and Treasure Island Las Vegas. The three-day tournament, Friday to Sunday at Treasure Island, will offer a first-place prize of $800,000.

“This year’s total NHC prize money will be about double what it was only five years ago, in 2014,” said NTRA Chief Operating Officer and NHC Tournament Director Keith Chamblin. “We are very grateful to so many horseplayers and participating organizations throughout the industry for their help making the NHC a singular event that represents the ultimate prize for horseplayers.”

The NHC field will be reduced to the top 10 percent of players after the first two days. The highest 10 cumulative scores after the Semifinal round will fill out the Final Table. Bankrolls amassed during Day 1, Day 2 and the Semifinal round will roll over to the Final Table, with the 10 finalists settling the NHC score in seven “mandatory” assigned races.

Players who do not make the Semifinal cut will still compete on Day 3, in a separate Consolation tournament.

A full scoreboard will be updated regularly at https://www.ntra.com/nhc, where fans and players can also find each day’s contest race menu and news updates.

Noel Michaels, author of Handicapping Contest Handbook: A Horseplayer’s Guide to Handicapping Tournaments, will host live video coverage daily, Friday to Sunday, from 5-8 p.m. ET (2-5 p.m. PT) on the NTRA Facebook page (www.facebook.com/1NTRA). Programming will include interviews with NHC personalities, handicapping and previews of mandatory races, and live coverage of Sunday’s Final Table. Additional news and exclusive content will be shared on Twitter via the official NTRA account, @NTRA.

nhc final table vegasAt the Races with Steve Byk will broadcast live on SiriusXM satellite radio (Sirius 219; XM 206; Online 964) from Treasure Island during the show’s regular hours, 9 a.m.-Noon ET (6-9 a.m. PT), on Friday morning, and online at www.stevebyk.com daily, Friday to Sunday, Noon-5:30 p.m. ET (9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. PT). Next Monday’s regular 9 a.m.-Noon ET (6-9 a.m. PT) show will feature an extended NHC recap.

Defending NHC champion Ray Arsenault – who last month was honored with an Eclipse Award as “Horseplayer of the Year”– heads this year’s record field, which is comprised of 570 individual players (130 are dual qualifiers playing the maximum two entries).

As the 2017 NHC winner, Arsenault, of Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, near Toronto, received an automatic berth into this year’s tournament to defend the title he won last January when he bested 653 other entries.

Arsenault won by amassing a mythical bankroll of $407.70 from a total of 53 Win-and-Place wagers pared from a mind-melting menu of more than 150 races run at eight different tracks. Arsenault will seek to become the first-ever two-time winner of the NHC, as will 11 other past winners that have qualified. The other qualifying champions: Paul Matties (2016), John O’Neil (2015), Jose Arias (2014), Michael Beychok (2012), John Doyle (2011), Brian Troop (2010), John Conte (2009), Richard Goodall (2008), Stanley Bavlish (2007), Steve Wolfson Jr. (2003), and Judy Wagner (2001).

Several players will compete for major bonuses tied to earlier accomplishments:

The winner of the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) is eligible for a $3 million BCBC/NHC Bonus. San Francisco resident Nisan Gabbay, a 40-year-old software developer and owner of a tech startup, earned $350,000 for winning the BCBC at Del Mar in November with a final live bankroll of $176,000. First prize at the NHC is $800,000, meaning that successful completion of the BCBC-NHC double would be worth $4.326 million.


Buddies Brad & Howard at the 2015 NHC

As the winner of the 2017 NHC Tour, Mike Ferrozzo won $100,000 and an NHC berth. Should he go on to win this year’s NHC, he will receive a $2 million bonus in addition to the NHC grand prize of $800,000.

Hawthorne sponsors million-dollar bonuses for their Holiday Extravaganza champions. John Ukleja won the Dec. 29 contest and Paul Langley won on Dec. 30. Both are eligible for a $1 million bonus should they go on to win the NHC.

Ed Peters is eligible for a $500,000 bonus should he win the NHC as the top qualifier out of The BIG One at Laurel Park in September.

In its 19th year, the NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), previously known as the National Handicapping Championship before a revamping of the brand in 2017, is the most important tournament of the year for horseplayers and is the culmination of a year-long series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments.

NHC players qualified via contests hosted by 40 racetracks, casino race books, handicapping contest websites, Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) outlets, simulcast distribution networks, horse owner associations and other Thoroughbred racing organizations. The NHC 19 qualifier hosts were Aqueduct, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, BetPTC.com, Breeders’ Cup, Canterbury Park, Century Bets, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Ellis Park, Equestricon, Gulfstream Park, Hawthorne Race Course, Hollywood Casino at Penn, HorsePlayers.com, HorseTourneys.com, Indiana Grand, Keeneland, Laurel Park, Lone Star Park, Los Alamitos Race Course, Louisiana Downs, Meadowlands, Mohegan Sun, Monmouth Park, National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club, Public Handicapper, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Bets, Saratoga Race Course, Surfside Race Place, Tampa Bay Downs, The BIG One, Thoroughbred Owners of California, Treasure Island, TVG, Woodbine Entertainment Group, and Wynn Las Vegas.

The tournament format for the NHC is meant to be the best possible test of overall handicapping ability. Players attempt to earn the highest possible bankroll based on mythical $2 Win-and-Place wagers. Assigned “mandatory” races – eight per day on Day 1 and Day 2 and seven at the Final Table – are selected by NTRA Director of Media & Industry Relations Jim Mulvihill, Treasure Island Director of Race and Sports Tony Nevill, Monmouth Park Marketing Manager and Contest Director Brian Skirka, and Equibase National Racing Analyst Ellis Starr.

Mandatory races will be announced at least 36 hours prior to each contest day (Wednesday evening for Friday, Thursday evening for Saturday, Friday evening for Sunday) on Twitter (@NTRA) and NTRA.com.

The remaining 10 races on Day 1 and Day 2 and all 10 plays in the Semifinal round will be optional wagers on races at one of eight designated NHC tournament tracks: Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Oaklawn Park, Santa Anita Park and Tampa Bay Downs.

Treasure Island will play host to the NHC in its second-floor ballroom for the seventh straight year.

On Saturday, the NTRA also will host an invitation-only online tournament, the Tito’s $10,000 Charity Challenge. A field of about 40 celebrities and racing personalities will compete to have $10,000 donated in their names to three different causes – the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, official charity of the NHC ($5,000); a nonprofit of the winner’s choosing ($2,500); and a nonprofit to be determined by Tito’s ($2,500).

About the NHC
In its 19th year, 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.

JPMorgan Chase to Accept ADW Deposits

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Tuesday, February 6, 2018) – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today announced that JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest bank in the United States and the largest credit card issuer in the U.S. with more than 80 million active credit cardholder accounts, has begun approving credit card deposit transactions with U.S. licensed and regulated advance deposit wagering companies (ADWs).

The decision by Chase to accept its cardholders’ account funding transactions with ADWs approved to use the industry’s 7802 merchant category code is expected to have a significant and positive impact on overall U.S. pari-mutuel handle, particularly advance deposit wagering, which already is the fastest growing segment of the U.S. pari-mutuel wagering market. It also could lead to acceptance of these types of transactions by other leading credit card issuing banks that have not allowed their Visa or MasterCard customers to use their cards to fund licensed and regulated ADW accounts.

“This is a major victory for our industry and one that would not have come about without the efforts of Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) and his staff,” said NTRA President and Chief Executive Officer Alex Waldrop.

Said Barr, who serves on the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee and is Co-Chairman of the Congressional Horse Caucus: “I am delighted that this latest move by Chase will have a positive economic impact on Thoroughbred racing and breeding in Kentucky and across the nation. I have appreciated working with the NTRA and Chase to make this development possible and look forward to continuing our efforts on behalf of Kentucky’s signature equine industry.”

Who will try for the 2018 Kentucky Derby? The Early Nominations

2013 KY Derby contender VerrazanoBreeders’ Cup Juvenile champion Good Magic headlines a lineup of 360 3-year-old Thoroughbreds nominated early for this year’s Triple Crown series, which begins with the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5. A son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and trained by Chad Brown, Good Magic won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile by… [Read more…]

Douvan and Altior Are Back for Cheltenham Festival 2018

CHELTENHAM, England – Douvan, a top steeplechaser under trainer Willie Mullins, will run again this season. After taking a break from the previous seasons to recover from its defeat, Douvan will finally race at the prestigious Cheltenham Festival 2018. Douvan’s top competitor and trainer Nicky Henderson’s returnee, Altior, will also gallop this year.

Trainer Willie Mullins and the owner of the 8-year old Thoroughbred, Rich Ricci have high hopes that Douvan would make its appearance at Cheltenham’s major horse racing events on March 14–15, 2018. It is months after the bay gelding superstar sustained pelvic injuries from its defeated run at the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci said Douvan’s lameness went reoccurring and they didn’t know if it was due to one of the Thoroughbred’s past injuries. Accordingly, the vets told them to brush-off Douvan in all upcoming events. Thus the Thoroughbred was ruled out at the Tingle Creek Chase.

But fate has its ways of changing things as Douvan is becoming healthy just like before. The 8-year-old steeplechaser underwent hiatus to take on a conservative approach to his recovery. Ready your bets because this Cheltenham Festival 2018 will be Douvan’s comeback.

Douvan will have two or three critical bits to do before Cheltenham Festival 2018, probably away, at one of the racecourses in Ireland. It wouldn’t be a big racecourse gallop, and of course, there is always the Leopardstown jumping thing they do two weeks before the big event at Cheltenham.

Douvan had an excellent track record before the unfortunate incident. It had nine wins out of ten chases, five wins out of six hurdles, and fourteen wins out of sixteen rules races. Douvan’s total winnings for each of the three categories are £370,575, £148,956, and £519,531 respectively.

Douvan first appeared at a hurdle race in 2014 at Saint-Malo, France, where it finished second place. It also joined and won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival in 2015.The horse was then transferred to the steeplechase category and won all six races and the Arkle Challenge Trophy as well.

Douvan is not the only one returning to the race, because Altior, a 7-year-old Irish-bred Thoroughbred, is also coming back for this event. Altior is a gelding bred of Nicky Henderson in Berkshire, Ireland, with High Chaparral as its sire and Monte Solaro as its dam. It was acquired later by Patricia Pugh in an auction.

Altior’s debut race was at Market Rasen racecourse in a National Hunt Flat. Altior won and continued to show its outstanding speed and agility in many novice hurdle races at the Chepstow racecourse. Altior also joined the Supreme Novice’s Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival and bagged the first place. Like Douvan, Altiorwon the Arkle Challenge Trophy Novice’s Chase at Cheltenham Festival several times.

It won 12 out of its 14 races; however, Altiorwas ruled out at the Tingle Creek Chase after it experienced breathing problem. Its larynx did not open properly, and so it underwent surgery. The six-time Arkle victor took the last season of the year to recover. But Altior is now ready to race again at the Cheltenham Festival.

Cheltenham Festival 2018 is a United Kingdom-based National Hunt Racing event. It takes place at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, in March and is particularly famous for Irish guests since it also happens on Saint Patrick’s Day. The festival has prize money, second to the Grand National horse race in England. It runs four days. As of counting, there are already more than millions of pounds gambled over the week.

Although there is a 50-50 chance of Douvan’s comeback to the racetrack at the Cheltenham Festival 2018, the horse is on the list as an official runner along with Altior. Other listed contenders are Yanworth, Native River, Annie Power, Vautour, and Faugheen. Another interesting runner in this race is Special Tiara, the winner of Champion Chase to which Douvan lost.

Queen Mother Champion Chase requires horses more than five years of age. It is a Grade 1 steeplechase race under the National Hunt Racing category. It is the highlight of the second day of Cheltenham Festival 2018. Altior and Douvan are expected to headline the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase among 30 other entries.

The Cheltenham Festival 2018 betting season has started on various online betting sites as the listed runners are getting ready to perform their best for the event. There are high hopes for the past winners of the festival that are back to race again. Being updated on the runners for this season can help you make the choice of placing of your bets. With this, you may check out Cheltenham Festival expert betting tips for more updates on bookmakers and runners.

Female jockeys just as good as men, says UK study

jockey riding a horse raceCNN – Female jockeys just as good as male counterparts, study finds Irish Mirror Study shows that female jockeys are equal to their male counterparts RTE.ie Full coverage

Source: Female jockeys just as good as men, says UK study

Mubtaahij to Get Dubai World Cup Prep in San Pasqual

Mubtaahij will get his audition for the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1) in the $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.

Source: Mubtaahij to Get Dubai World Cup Prep in San Pasqual