NHC Tournament Schedule for June 2024

June 2024 NHC Qualfier Schedule
Subject to Change

Monmouth Park

June 1 | $2000 Pick Your Prize Handicapping Challenge – Final number of entries will determine prizes (18 seats guaranteed at 200 entries). HYBRID
June 2 | $300 NHC Qualifier – 2 seats guaranteed. ONTRACK

NHC 25 yearsHorseplayers.com

June 1 | $165 – 2 seats guaranteed.
June 2 | $210 – 2 seats guaranteed.
June 7 | $75 – 2 seats guaranteed.
June 8 | $165 – 2 seats guaranteed.
June 14 | $75 – 2 seats guaranteed.
June 15 | $500 – 1 seat guaranteed.
June 16 | $125 – SPECIAL Father’s Day Contest – 5 seats guaranteed.
June 21 | $75 – 2 seats guaranteed.
June 22 | $210 – 2 seats guaranteed.
June 28 | $75 – 2 seats guaranteed.
June 30 | $125 – SPECIAL – 3 seats guaranteed.

Horseshoe Indianapolis

June 6 – August 29 | Summer at the Shoe FREE – 2 seats guaranteed. HYBRID

Horsetourneys.com

June 9 | $165 – 2 seats guaranteed.
June 15 | $165 – 2 seats guaranteed.
June 23 | $165 – 2 seats guaranteed.
June 29 | $165 – 2 seats guaranteed.

Lone Star Park

June 29 | $1000 Lone Star Summer Betting Challenge – 2 seats guaranteed. ONTRACK

Santa Anita/Xpressbet

June 8 | $1500 Belmont Stakes Challenge – 2 seats guaranteed. HYBRID
June 15 $500 Santa Anita Challenge – 2 seats guaranteed. HYBRID
June 16 │$1500 Santa Anita Closing Day Challenge – 2 seats guaranteed. HYBRID

Delaware Park

June 22│$500 Major Handicapping Tournament– 2 seats guaranteed. ONTRACK

Hawthorne

June 29 | The Hawthorne $500 Summer Contest – 2 seats guaranteed. ONTRACK
June 30 | The Hawthorne $500 Summer Contest – 3 seats guaranteed. ONTRACK

Source: NTRA

BCBC Contest Schedule as of June 2024

The most coveted and lucrative real-money bankroll handicapping contest is the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC). There are several ways to win into the $10,000 buy-in event.

This schedule is subject to change but up to date as of June, 2024. Contact information included.

6/1/2024

Monmouth Park Pick Your Prize

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

 

6/7/2024 – 6/08/2024

NYRABets Belmont Stakes Challenge

Donny Nelson Challenge@nyrainc.com

718-659-3532

6/8/2024

Santa Anita/Xpressbet-Belmont Stakes Challenge

Crystal Bartko

724-229-6249

6/30/2024

Hawthorne Invitational (Invite only)

Rhonda Sosnowski

rhondas@clubhawthorne.com

 

7/6/2024

NYRA Stars & Strips Challenge

Donny Nelson Challenge@nyrainc.com

718-659-3532

7/20/2024

Monmouth Park

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

7/27/2024-7/28/2024

Del Mar Summer Challenge

Chris Bahr

chris@dmtc.com

 

8/3/2024

Monmouth Park

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

Rich Nilsen qualifies for the 16th time

8/10/2024

NYRA Fourstardave Challenge

Donny Nelson Challenge@nyrainc.com

718-659-3532

8/11/2024

Del Mar-Little Red Feather

Chris Bahr

chris@dmtc.com

8/17/2024

Woodbine-King’s Plate Day

Klaus Ebner

Kebner@woodbine.com

8/24/2024

Monmouth Park

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

8/29/2024

Kentucky Downs

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

8/31/2024

Del Mar- Pacific Classic Betting Challenge

Chris Bahr

chris@dmtc.com

 

9/1/2024

Kentucky Downs

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

9/7/2024

Kentucky Downs

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

9/14/2024

Woodbine-Woodbine Mile Day

Klaus Ebner

Kebner@woodbine.com

9/26/2024

Canterbury Park

Jeff Maday

JMaday@canterburypark.com

10-01/02-2024-TBD

Santa Anita Opening Weekend

Crystal Bartko

724-229-6249

10/11/2024

Keeneland

Jim Goodman

10/12/2024

Keeneland

jgoodman@keeneland.com

Keeneland Contest Results for Weekend of April 12-13

Keeneland requests dates for five-day Summer Meet, including Blue Grass Stakes, in JulyA huge weekend for contest players at Keeneland and on various ADW’s kicked off Friday, April 12 with 200 entries in the on-track only Spring Challenge.  Matt Gumm of Glasgow, KY finished first with a bankroll of $4823 from an initial $250, taking home a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge berth and first place prize of $3200. Howard Kravets of Vernon Hills, IL finished 2nd with $4269, beginning a memorable weekend for the renowned podcast host.  Gregory Lewis of Columbus, OH finished 3rd, kicking off a great weekend of his own, and Peter Rogers of Summit, NJ finished 4th and 5th.  Kravets, Lewis and Rogers secured National Horseplayers Championships berths and prize money.

On Saturday, a field of 282 players contested the Grade One Gamble, a $3500 contest widely considered as one of the most prestigious events in the country.  Darren Schweiger of New York, NY crushed a $4000 exacta in the Stonestreet Lexington Stakes on his way to a final bankroll of $42,360.  Darren takes home $68,000 in prize money, a BCBC berth and an NHC berth.  2nd place finisher Clay Sanders of Memphis, TN cashed a $6500 win bet on winner Royal Majesty in the finale to attain a bankroll of $27,365.  That total was good for $34,000 in prize money, a BCBC berth and an NHC berth.

In all, 6 players punched their tickets to the NHC and BCBC; and another 4 players earned an NHC berth.  Those players include the aforementioned Gregory Lewis, who finished 3rd with a total bankroll of $23,494 and won a BCBC and 2 NHC’s this weekend; and Howard Kravets, who finished 7th with a total of $20,796, and double-qualified for the NHC this weekend.

The final standings for the Keeneland 2024 spring contest are available.

Following are the top ten finishers with prize money; top six received BCBC and NHC; 7th through 10th received NHC berths.

  1. Darren Schweiger $68,000
  2. Clay Sanders $34,000
  3. Gregory Lewis $18,000
  4. Cory Shorr $  9,000
  5. Rich Pawlowski $  6,800
  6. Dan Hartmann $  3,600
  7. Howard Kravets $  3,600
  8. Drew Keaton $  3,600
  9. Chuck Grubbs $  3,600
  10. John Fisher $  3,600

BCBC Contest Schedule as of April 2024

The most coveted and lucrative real-money bankroll handicapping contest is the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC). There are several ways to win into the $10,000 buy-in event.

This schedule is subject to change but up to date as of April, 2024. Contact information included.

 

4/12/2024-4/13/2024

Keeneland

Jim Goodman

Keeneland

jgoodman@keeneland.com

 

4/21/2024

Hawthorne- IL Derby Day

Rhonda Sosnowski

rhondas@clubhawthorne.com

5/4/2024

Santa Anita/Xpressbet -KY Derby Challenge

Crystal Bartko

724-229-6249

5/18/2024

Santa Anita/Xpressbet-Preakness Challenge

Crystal Bartko

724-229-6249

6/1/2024

Monmouth Park Pick Your Prize

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

6/7/2024 – 6/08/2024

NYRABets Belmont Stakes Challenge

Donny Nelson Challenge@nyrainc.com

718-659-3532

6/8/2024

Santa Anita/Xpressbet-Belmont Stakes Challenge

Crystal Bartko

724-229-6249

6/30/2024

Hawthorne Invitational (Invite only)

Rhonda Sosnowski

rhondas@clubhawthorne.com

7/6/2024

NYRA Stars & Strips Challenge

Donny Nelson Challenge@nyrainc.com

718-659-3532

7/20/2024

Monmouth Park

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

7/27/2024-7/28/2024

Del Mar Summer Challenge

Chris Bahr

chris@dmtc.com

8/3/2024

Monmouth Park

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

Patrick McGoey

2011 BCBC Chanp Patrick McGoey (left) alongside his brother

8/10/2024

NYRA Fourstardave Challenge

Donny Nelson Challenge@nyrainc.com

718-659-3532

8/11/2024

Del Mar-Little Red Feather

Chris Bahr

chris@dmtc.com

8/17/2024

Woodbine-King’s Plate Day

Klaus Ebner

Kebner@woodbine.com

8/24/2024

Monmouth Park

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

8/29/2024

Kentucky Downs

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

8/31/2024

Del Mar- Pacific Classic Betting Challenge

Chris Bahr

chris@dmtc.com

9/1/2024

Kentucky Downs

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

9/7/2024

Kentucky Downs

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

9/14/2024

Woodbine-Woodbine Mile Day

Klaus Ebner

Kebner@woodbine.com

9/26/2024

Canterbury Park

Jeff Maday

JMaday@canterburypark.com

10-01/02-2024-TBD

Santa Anita Opening Weekend

Crystal Bartko

724-229-6249

10/11/2024

Keeneland

Jim Goodman

10/12/2024

Keeneland

jgoodman@keeneland.com

A Trio of Great Handicappers Added to NHC Hall of Fame

Lexington, Ky., (February 29, 2024): The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Kevin ‘Duke’ Matties, Jim Meeks, and Brett Wiener have been voted by their peers for induction into the NTRA National Horseplayers Championship’s Hall of Fame. These three esteemed handicappers represent the tenth class of NHC Hall of Fame inductees and will be recognized during the NHC Champions Dinner on Sunday, March 17, 2024 at the conclusion of the 25th NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) at the Horseshoe Las Vegas.

Kevin ‘Duke’ Matties, of Laguna Beach, California, has spent half his life as a professional horseplayer and nearly one-third of his life as an annual qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship. As of 2023, Duke had qualified to the NHC 17 times and cashed checks on eight occasions. Duke, who as a teenager was a New York State Champion bowler, is part of a prominent horse racing and handicapping family that can be found in the summer in ‘the backyard’ at Saratoga Race Course. Duke’s brother, Paul, won the 2016 NHC (the same year Duke finished fourth) and is a fellow member of the NHC Hall of Fame. His brother, Gregg, won nearly 2,000 races as a Thoroughbred trainer in the northeast over a span of some 30 years. The patriarch of the Matties family, Chick, is a multiple qualifier to the NHC. Duke now calls California home, where he resides with his wife, Kimberly, daughter, Lucky, and son, Carson, who at the age of 24 already is a multiple qualifier to the NHC.

When asked what it means to him to be inducted into the NHC Hall of Fame, Duke said, “The fact that it’s voted by the players is a tremendous honor. I’m elated to be inducted into the NHC Hall of Fame.”

Jim Meeks, of Elko, Nevada, was raised on a small ranch in northeast Nevada that had no electricity, no power, no television, and no phones. He grew up reading by the light of a coal oil lamp. He describes it as an idyllic childhood. He never left his native Elko, where he is a successful businessman and served for 30 years as a Steward at the six-day race meeting at the Elko County Fairgrounds where he was Grand Marshall of the annual parade in 2015. That seems much further than the 375-mile drive to Las Vegas, where for more than a decade Meeks has routinely out-performed many of the nation’s best horseplayers. As of 2023, Meeks had three top 50 finishes at the NHC, including a second-place finish worth $250,000 in 2019. His other major scores included a victory in the 2015 Horseplayers World Series in Las Vegas.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized by your peers for something we all love so much,” Meeks said.

Brett Wiener, of Clearwater, Florida, arrived on the handicapping contest scene in 2009 when he won the first NHC online qualifier he entered. Since then, he’s won or placed in major contests held at racetracks from coast-to-coast and in Canada: They include Aqueduct, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Del Mar, Fair Grounds, Gulfstream Park, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Laurel Park, Monmouth Park, Santa Anita, Saratoga, Tampa Bay Downs, Turfway Park, and Woodbine, among others. Wiener, who also participates in the NHC Mentor program, is formidable in every conceivable contest format, including onsite and online tournaments. He and his wife, Sarah, also a highly accomplished contest player, have been annual mainstays at the National Horseplayers Championship for 15-plus years.

“The NHC, and through all of the contests throughout the years, has allowed me to meet so many great players, with like interests, that have become great lifelong friends,” Wiener said. “To be nominated, and then voted into the Hall of Fame, by those same people, is a great honor.”

Over the past 24 years, nearly 4,000 people have filled more than 10,000 NHC entries and have been awarded nearly $50,000,000 in prizes. This year the NHC will host more than 600 individuals and will award nearly $4 million in cash and prizes. This is the tenth NHC Hall of Fame class to be inducted after being voted on by their peers.

Matties, Meeks, and Wiener join 23 past Hall of Fame inductees: Jose Arias (2023) , Dennis Decauwer (2023), Jim Goodman (2023), Bill Shurman (2023), Stanley Bavlish (2022), Michael Beychok (2022), Ray Arsenault (2021), Roger Cettina (2020), Steve Crist (2016), J. Randy Gallo (2022), Richard Goodall (2020), Sally Goodall (2021), David Gutfreund (2022), Chris Larmey (2018), Paul Matties Jr. (2022), Mike Mayo (2015), Ron Rippey (2015), Paul Shurman (2017), Trey Stiles (2019), Bryan Wagner (2019), Judy Wagner (2016), Steve Wolfson Sr. (2017), and Steve Wolfson Jr. (2018).

To sign up for the NHC Tour, go to www.ntra.com/membership.

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 and is named Horseplayer of the Year. For more information on the NHC, visit NTRA.com/nhc.

ABOUT THE NTRA

The NTRA, based in Lexington, Ky. and Washington, D.C.,, is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development. For more information visit NTRA.com.

Betting on Dreams: Poetry at the 25th National Horseplayers’ Championship

In the city of lights where dreams take flight,
In the heart of the desert, under Vegas’ bright light,
Gathered in halls where fortunes are sealed,
The 25th National Horseplayers Championship revealed.

A symphony of hooves echoes in the air,
As players immerse in a game of skill and flair,
In Las Vegas, where excitement takes hold,
Where horseplayers’ tales of triumph are told.

Neon signs flicker, casting a glow,
On the eager faces, with anticipation aglow,
In the NHC arena, where knowledge is key,
Each bet, a strategic dance of strategy.

Silent whispers among the racing elite,
As they study the forms, in their quest to compete,
Charts and graphs, a horseplayer’s charted domain,
In pursuit of success, in this high-stakes terrain.

A carousel of races, each moment intense,
As the thoroughbreds thunder, a spectacle immense,
In the world of odds, where fortunes sway,
Horseplayers strategize, seeking their way.

Through the ebb and flow of the racing tide,
It is the NHC, where champions abide,
A fellowship of punters, united they stand,
Bound by the passion for the turf and the sand.

Horseshoe Las Vegas, the stage for this grand affair,
Where horseplayers converge, a community rare,
In the National Horseplayers Championship’s embrace,
They chase the elusive glory, in the horse racing race.

The roar of the crowd, the pulse of the track,
In the heart of the desert, where legends come back,
For in this arena, where skill meets chance,
The National Horseplayers Championship, a thrilling dance.

nhc final table vegas

 

~ this poem about the 25th National Horseplayers’ Championship was written and generated by artificial intelligence. It was slightly edited prior to publication.

Are you qualified? There are just over 2 months left to qualify for the 2024 National Horseplayers Championship, the 25th renewal of this popular handicapping tournament run by our friends at The NTRA. Check out the late NHC Leaderboard.

 

Have you read these tournament articles?

How Professional Handicapper Sean Boarman Won the 2023 BCBC

The Evolution of the NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC)

5 Tournament Tips to Keep You Relevant (and Sane) When Life Gets in the Way

How Professional Handicapper Sean Boarman Won the 2023 BCBC

SEAN BOARMAN DECLARED OFFICIAL WINNER OF 2023 BREEDERS’ CUP BETTING CHALLENGE
Kentucky Native Made Winning Score on Breeders’ Cup Sprint Exacta to Claim Largest Payday in Tournament History

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 2023) ― Collecting more than $120,000 in the final race of the tournament and taking down the largest winning total in event history, Kentucky native Sean Boarman has been declared the official winner of the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) presented by Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel. The announcement was made upon completion of a full audit, in accordance with BCBC rules and regulations.

The 15th annual BCBC, Thoroughbred racing’s biggest live-money tournament, drew a record 571 entries as top horseplayers wagered Nov. 3-4 on the 40th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.

The tournament players generated an all-time contest-record wagering handle of $7,759,434. Over $4.6 million of that total was wagered at Santa Anita Park, representing more than 23.6% of the total on-track handle.

In the 2023 BCBC, each player was required to fund a $2,500 buy-in and a $7,500 betting bankroll ($10,000 total).  All buy-in monies were applied to the prize pool, making the total prize pool $1,427,500. Players made real wagers (win, place, show, exacta, trifecta and daily double) with their $7,500 bankroll and kept all monies earned from their wagering.

Boarman, 43, finished with a total score of 231,238 points. Combined with his first-place prize of $411,125, he earned a grand total of $642,363, the highest total any player has achieved in BCBC history. Kevan Strom of Niskayuna, New York finished second, with 215,453 points, and with his $274,075 prize money added, he amassed a total of $489,528. Mike Mulvihill of Palatine, Illinois finished third with 173,160 points, and combined with prize money of $148,450, he earned a grand total of $321,610.

In addition to those playing at Santa Anita, players competed from satellite locations at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., and Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. Players also participated online at TVG.com ― the official wagering partner of Breeders’ Cup ― well as numerous ADW locations including HPI in Canada and domestic ADW’s Xpressbet.com, and NYRABets.com.

Boarman, born and raised in Lexington, became interested in horse racing more than 20 years ago while a student at the University of Kentucky. He still lives in Lexington with his wife and two children.

“Winning the BCBC is obviously a huge financial windfall, but it means much more than that to me,” said Boarman. “I was very confident going into the contest that I had a good strategy mapped out and to see that come to fruition against the best of the best in the BCBC is very gratifying.”  

 

How Sean Boarman Won the 2023 BCBC

Boarman’s strategy centered around putting himself into position to make a large wager on White Abarrio in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). He achieved that when he landed a $6,500 daily double wager on Inspiral (GB) capturing the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) with Goodnight Olive taking the PNC Bank Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1). That wager yielded approximately $36,000. Three races later, his win bet on White Abarrio returned $126,000, and set him up in third place overall with two races remaining.

“I knew that I did not want to risk the entire 126,000 in order to win the contest, and ultimately settled on making a $20,000 bet in the last race, the [Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup] Sprint (G1).” Boarman recalled. “I played a $16,000 exacta with Elite Power on top of Gunite and $4,000 worth of saver trifectas with Gunite third, as insurance.”

The exacta play returned $128,000, boosting his point total to more than $231,000 and securing the BCBC title.

“I am particularly proud of finding a way to make a winning wager using my handicapping opinion of the last race without risking my entire bankroll to do so,” Boarman added.

Complete tournament results are available here. Participant Vince Foglia made a place wager on his own horse, a violation of BCBC rules which was discovered during the audit. As a result, the winnings from this non-approved wager ($14,000) were deducted from the final score, which resulted in Foglia dropping from 8th place to 13th place in the final standings.

ABOUT BREEDERS’ CUP

Breeders’ Cup Limited administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races through an 80-race series hosted by 11 countries, and the U.S.-based Dirt Dozen Bonus Series. The Breeders’ Cup supports and operates under the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA), which, for the first time, establishes a national, uniform set of rules applicable to every Thoroughbred racing participant and racetrack. HISA seeks to enhance the safety of both horse and rider and to protect the integrity of the sport to the benefit of all racing participants, fans, and bettors.

The 2023 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Grade 1 Championship races, and $31 million in purses and awards, was held Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. The Championships will return to the West Coast the next two years in Del Mar, California, set to host Nov. 1-2. The 2024 Championships will be televised live by NBC Sports. Press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, BreedersCup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media.

Christian Hellmers Does This to Win the 20th Annual Del Mar Summer Challenge

del mar delmar paddock sceneChristian Hellmers, a Del Mar native, claimed the victory over 128 total entries with two massive exacta wagers in the two-day Challenge. His $32,000 score on day one and another $23,000 exacta on day two sealed the victory. Second place finisher Frank Mustari, of Des Plaines, Illinois, briefly passed Hellmers on day two but it was short lived. The winner turned the $4,000 starting bankroll into $49,241.

Hellmers wins $89,500 cash, a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) 2023 entry and a $4,000 entry to the September 2 Pacific Classic Betting Challenge (PCBC) at Del Mar or online through TVG.com. All in all, he netted $152,741 in cash and prizes.

Mustari, also participating with two entries, finished second and sixth for $37,400 in cash plus two BCBC entries and a PCBC spot.

Participants started with a $4,000 live money bankroll in the two-day Challenge offering more than $250,000 in total prizes. The top 12 finishers receive a combination of prizes including cash, six $10,000 Breeders Cup Betting Challenge entries, National Horseplayers Championship spots and entries to the Pacific Classic Betting Challenge.

Del Mar’s signature handicapping contest is presented by Yammava’ Resort and Casino at San Manuel.

View the top players’ standings for the 2023 Del Mar Summer Challenge

Source: DMTC.com

AGOS Visitors, Have you Read?

Playing Handicapping Tournaments – 5 Tips to Keep You Sane

FREE NHC Tour Contests Begin This Weekend

First of Five Free Online NHC Qualifiers Set For April 22

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 17, 2023) – The first of five free online qualifiers for the NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) is set for this Saturday April 22 on HorsePlayers.com, the official online qualifying site of the NHC. The top three finishers in the FREE NHC tour contests will earn automatic berths to the 25th Annual NHC, which is slated to be held at the Horseshoe Las Vegas next March 15-17, 2024. An additional $1,000 in HorsePlayers credits will be distributed to the next top 25 finishers of the contest.

Registration is now open.

The remainder of the free contest schedule for the 2023 NHC Tour is as follows:

· Sunday, May 14

· Saturday, July 1

· Sunday, August 27

· Sunday, October 8

Participants in the online qualifier must be a 2023 NHC Tour member to be eligible to win a qualifying spot to the NHC. Players failing to register for NHC Tour membership prior to the start of this event will forfeit their opportunity to win a qualifying package.

NTRA NHC logoEach winning prize package includes an NHC entry, a four-night stay at the Horseshoe Las Vegas, and a $500 travel reimbursement. All participants will be awarded 50 NHC Tour points and additional NHC Tour points will be awarded to the top 100 finishers.

Tour membership starts at $50 and includes entry to the year’s remaining free online qualifiers, as well as access to dozens of contests each week. To sign up for the NHC Tour, go to www.ntra.com/membership. Individuals also must be registered at HorsePlayers.com (free).

Every free online contest on HorsePlayers.com is determined by mythical Win and Place wagers on a series of mandatory races across the country with selections submitted in advance of the first designated contest race per the “Pick and Pray” format.

For more information on the NHC and NHC Tour, visit www.ntra.com/nhc.

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 and is named Horseplayer of the Year. For more information on the NHC, visit NTRA.com/nhc.

ABOUT THE NTRA

The NTRA, based in Lexington, Ky. and Washington, D.C., is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing.

NTRA National Horseplayers Championship Goes to Paul Calia

After a weekend of nail-biting handicapping prowess, Paul Calia, of Kansas City, Missouri, toppled a field of 779 entries to take home the grand prize of $800,000, in addition to finishing in 4th place, and an Eclipse Award crowning him Horseplayer of the Year. This is the first contest that Calia has ever won.

Calia amassed a winning score of $362.50 on his first entry, and $305.50 on his second entry, over the three-day tournament from 53 mythical $2 Win and Place bets – 18 on Friday, 18 on Saturday, 10 in Sunday morning’s Semifinal round, and 7 at the exciting Final Table which ultimately yielded his victory. He is the first winner to also finish in the top ten with a second entry.

“I started a little slow on Friday, thought I handicapped okay with some seconds and thirds. But Saturday I was pretty hot, and pretty much hit every long shot. It’s hard to put into words how many winners I picked on Saturday,” Calia said.

 

When asked his approach to playing two cards in the final table he said, “I don’t know how to describe it. I didn’t switch a lot of picks, I don’t let the odds affect me. I only switched about 10-15% of my picks between cards, one or two a day that’s it.”

His strategy obviously paid off. Calia will take home $800,000 for his first-place finish in addition to taking home $150,000 for his fourth-place finish. With this victory, Calia also earns an exemption into next year’s NHC and a berth to the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge worth $10,000. In lieu of winning a second BCBC entry, which he won from finishing first on day two (Saturday), he will instead take home $10,000 cash. That makes his full earnings from the weekend a whopping $960,000 and a 2024 BCBC seat valued at $10,000.

“There are three pillars to the sport of Thoroughbred racing – you have the horse and its connections, the racetracks, and the horseplayer,” said NTRA President and CEO Tom Rooney. “So, if horse racing is a three-legged stool, we aren’t anything without the horseplayer. My family’s relationship with this sport and with football all traces back to playing horses. The excitement at the NHC is vital to everything we do as an industry. This year’s NHC is bigger than ever before and I’m proud that the NTRA has this unique opportunity to showcase the best of the best in handicapping and celebrate what it means to be a horseplayer.”

 

The official Top 10 finishers of the 2023 NHC are:

1. Paul Calia (first entry), $362.50, Kansas City, MO, 2nd NHC Appearance

2. Francis Boustany, $330.30, Lafayette, LA, 7th NHC Appearance

3. Gary Fenton, $309.60, Sherman Oaks, CA, 4th NHC Appearance

4. Paul Calia (second entry), $305.50, Kansas City, MO, 2nd NHC Appearance

5. David Browning, $302.80, Lexington, KY, 3rd NHC Appearance

6. George Novick, $290, Pocono Pines, PA, 2nd NHC Appearance

7. Steven Wells (second entry), $289.40, Fordville, ND, 5th NHC Appearance

8. Joseph Paese, $288.50, Middletown, PA, 2nd NHC Appearance

9. Steven Wells (first entry), $281.60, Fordville, ND, 5th NHC Appearance

10. Steve Nemetz, $281.50, Vancouver, BC, 11th NHC Appearance

 

NTRA National Horseplayers ChampionshipThe 2022 NHC paid out the top 68 finishers. This year, the top 78 finishers will take home prize money. Total cash prizes to be offered over the three days was a record $3,115,350, a 33% increase over last year. The full prize structure can be found online.

In a separate Consolation Tournament on Sunday for players that did not reach the Semifinals round, Karen Richards of Pembroke Pines, FL, won the $10,000 top prize with a bankroll of $130.40 from 10 optional races. The Consolation Tournament started with bankrolls reset to zero. Cash prizes totaling $50,000 were awarded, from the $10,000 first prize down to $1,000 for 20th.

NHC weekend concluded with the annual Champions’ Dinner, featuring the presentation of prizes and the induction of the 2022 NHC Hall of Fame class: Jose Arias, Dennis Decauwer, Jim Goodman, and Bill Shurman.

Retired Disability Advisor for Social Security from Kansas City Takes First and Fourth for $960,000 in cash and Eclipse Award as Horseplayer of the Year

The NHC, the world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping contest, featured 779 entrants competing for more than $3.1 million in cash and prizes. All qualifiers received a complimentary four night stay at the Horseshoe Las Vegas and travel reimbursements which totaled more than $1 million.

The tournament format for the NHC is meant to be the best possible test of overall handicapping ability by picking winners. 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 announced at least 36 hours prior to each contest day via direct e-mail to players and publicly on Twitter (@NTRA) and NTRA.com.

In addition to its three presenting sponsors ― Caesars Entertainment, Horseshoe Las Vegas and RTN ― the NHC is supported by official partners Daily Racing Form, EquinEdge, Four Roses Bourbon and Race Lens.

For the complete Caesar’s Race and Sports Book NHC Leaderboard and other contest information, please visit NTRA.com. To sign up for the NHC Tour, go to www.ntra.com/membership.