R.I.P Great Man, Great Handicapper – John Roe

A top 10 finisher at the 2018 NHC, John Roe passed away over the weekend.  Here is an article about him that appeared in the Daily Racing Form:

John Roe is a fighter. And like John Henry, one of the Thoroughbreds he admires most, the bigger the challenge, the more he finds in his heart.

Of all the stories to emerge from this year’s National Horseplayers Championship, Roe’s has attracted the most attention from his fellow horseplayers. His ninth-place finish, worth $52,000, comes with a story for the ages.

Roe, 60, is a longtime race fan, and even worked on the backstretch for a few years in his native Cicero, Ill., where he grew up walking distance from both Hawthorne and Sportsman’s Park. He started playing tournaments in mid-2016, inspired by a chance meeting at Del Mar with the man known as the patron saint of rookie tournament players: John Doyle, who won the NHC at first asking back in 2011.

Soon thereafter, Roe discovered that his daughter’s boyfriend’s uncle, Nick Pavletic, was very active on the tournament scene. The two played together in one of Hawthorne’s tournaments and the hook was set in Roe. He decided to include tournaments in his horseplaying repertoire, and ended up qualifying for the NHC in another Hawthorne tourney several months later.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-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. 🙂

  2. Rest in peace Papa I come here sometimes I love you and I’ll see you again one day 🙂

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