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

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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.

Last to First in the Kentucky Downs Turf Challenge Tournament

Colonial Downs Names Turf Course After SecretariatFRANKLIN, Ky. (Monday, Sept. 13, 2021) — Kenny Mollicone, a 47-year-old real-estate developer from Somerset, Mass., is the 2021 National Turf Handicapping Champion, having won the six-day online Kentucky Downs Turf Handicapping Challenge at the FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs.

Mollicone finished with an aggregate total of $5,783.90 Sunday after playing in all three of the individual two-day, live-money competitions. That gave him a comfortable $1,163.90 advantage over runner-up Christy Moore, who finished on top in the second contest.

As the King of the Turf, Mollicone earned $20,000 in prize money and the BetMakers King of the Turf Trophy. He earned a seat and prize pack to the 2022 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas in late January by virtue of his second place in the second contest.

If Mollicone was a horse, his race-chart trouble line would read “left at the gate, rallied, won under wraps.”

Santa Anita to return to Hillside Turf course and run 6 1/2 furlongs down the hill in October.

Mollicone tapped out in the first two-day contest staged Sept. 5-6, finishing with a $0 score as Gary Gristick won the competition with a $2,500 bankroll. Undeterred, he finished second at $3,778.40 behind Moore’s winning bankroll of $4,620 in the second tournament Sept. 8-9 and seventh with $2,005.50 Saturday and Sunday in the final leg won by Ed Deicke at $7,392. Contest players were required to bet a minimum amount of money on a minimum of five races each day.

“I was going to bet Kentucky Downs anyway,” Mollicone said by phone Monday. “To be honest, I really didn’t concentrate on the tournament. I usually bet $200, $300, $500 a race. I liked a horse or two, so I screwed around and the horses didn’t win, so I was done (with the first tournament). Some people do so much a race and manage their money. Me, I’m just like if I take a shot and win, great; if not, hey, I’ll do the next tournament. Kind of like that’s what happened.

“Like, I did OK for the tournaments, but I did great betting on my own…. I entered the contest figuring if I like a horse, I’ll take a shot. If he does well and I win, I got money and I keep playing. If not, then I just keep betting on my regular account.”

Mollicone says he played some horses whose double-digit odds seemed too high, but he couldn’t generally remember their names. One name he clearly recalls, however, is Arklow, who got bottled up in traffic in midstretch before getting through late and coming up a neck shy of Imperador in Saturday’s $1 million, Grade 2 Calumet Farm Turf Cup.

“He got blocked, should have won the race for fun,” he said. “He wins that race, I probably win that tournament. I had big doubles going in to him and big doubles going out with him. That’s what kind of killed me. Then (Sunday), I just did what I had to do. I didn’t like anything on the card.”

He said he calculated that he had enough bankroll to win the overall title and quit playing after Sunday’s seventh race — his handicapping there proving correct.

Mollicone is a fan of the competition’s format.

“It kept it interesting,” he said. “I knew I didn’t do well on the first one, but I kind of liked a couple of horses in the second one; it kept me involved. I thought it was great, the way they set up it and the way they did the overall so you’re going to play all three. Whoever came up with it, I think it’s a great idea. It keeps you wanting to do it.

“A couple of guys who beat me (in the third leg), they didn’t do the other tournaments and they didn’t get the $20,000. Shame on them. You’re going to bet Kentucky Downs anyway. It’s great racing. You’ve got great horses. I think the more the people find out about it, especially with the bonus at the end, you’re going to find more people playing next year. Guys are going to kick themselves in the butt for not playing the whole thing.”

Mollicone calls his late father, Bob, the best handicapper he’s ever known. He says the first thing he learned how to read was the Daily Racing Form and went Suffolk Downs and the off-track betting at Rhode Island casinos with his dad, the two also traveling around the country to play contests.

“I love betting turf races,” he said. “It’s a more exciting race, a more true race. And I just love the set up (at Kentucky Downs). They’re going uphill, downhill. I just love it. You look forward to it. I’ve always done well at Kentucky Downs. You get horses who pay $25, $30 that you think should pay $8 or $10. Great racing and great value.”

Tournament Director Brian Skirka called the 2021 Kentucky Downs King of the Turf Handicapping Challenge “a massive success.”

“We had over 400 combined entries over the three contests and awarded over $171,000 in prizes,” he said. “I’d like to thank all the players who participated and Kentucky Downs for putting on six days of world-class turf racing. In just two years, these Kentucky Downs contests have proven themselves to be some of the most-challenging and most-lucrative in the country. I look forward to working with the Kentucky Downs team to grow them even more in the future.”

source: Kentucky Downs

The 2021 NHC Tour Begins Today

NTRA NHC logoLexington, Ky. (January 25, 2021) – The 2021 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Tour officially begins this Friday, January 29 with a $75 online qualifier to be held on HorsePlayers.com, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today.
Friday’s contest will be the first NHC qualifier to offer 2021 NHC Tour points awarded to Tour members who finish in the top 10 percent of officially-sanctioned NHC contests and among the first contests to offer berths to the $3,000,000-estimated 2022 NTRA National Horseplayers Championship to be held at Bally’s Las Vegas January 28-30, 2022. The officially declared Tour points leader will be eligible for a $5 million bonus should he or she win the 2022 NHC.
The 2021 NHC Tour, which offers an additional $365,000 in prize money, runs through January 9, 2022 and is expected to offer hundreds of online and onsite opportunities to compete for an NHC berth. The top 75 individual point leaders on the overall year-end Tour Leader Board, who have not already qualified through an official on-track or online contest, will automatically qualify into the 2022 NHC. Horseplayers cannot buy an entry into the NHC; they must earn a berth in qualifying contests held throughout the year.

How to Participate in the 2021 National Horseplayers Championship

Tour membership of $50 must be paid prior to participating in an online or on-track NHC qualifier to be eligible to win a berth in the NHC. 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.

2020 NHC Tour and Qualifying Opportunities Coming to a Close

NTRA NHC logoLexington, Ky. (January 13, 2021) – Highly-coveted berths to the $3 million-estimated National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas remain up for grabs as the 2020-21 NHC Tour season winds down with online and on-track contests offered over the next two weekends and berths tied directly to season-long participation are determined by end-of-season Tour points totals.
Only six contests remain in the 2020-21 Tour season with events scheduled for Friday-Sunday on each of the next two weekends. In addition to the six remaining NHC contests, “feeder” contests offering complimentary berths into to the main qualifiers are available every day for as little as $18 per entry.
A total of $300,000 in Tour prize money will be awarded to the top 15 finishers in the NHC Tour, based on the official 2020 NHC Tour rules. The newly-crowned NHC Tour Champion will win $100,000 and be eligible to compete for a $5 million bonus at the 2021 NHC.
The top 75 individual overall points leaders, who have not already qualified for the 2021 NHC through an officially-sanctioned NHC on-track or online contest at the end of the Tour season on January 23, will automatically qualify into the 2021 NHC. In addition, $15,000 will be paid out to the overall, official Tour Points Leaders, as of January 23, who are first-time NHC Tour members (e.g., “Rookies”).
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 NHC, presented by Racetrack Television Network, Caesars Entertainment and Bally’s Las Vegas, will be contested August 27-29 at Bally’s. 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.
Details on the Tour-ending NHC qualifiers are below:
Friday, January 15
Horseplayers.com
Prizes: 2 NHC berths and 2020 Tour Points + travel package guaranteed
Entry Fee: $75
Saturday, January 16
Horseplayers.com
Prizes: 2 NHC berths and 2020 Tour Points + travel package guaranteed
Entry Fee: $165
Canterbury Park
Prizes: 1 NHC berth (no 2020 Tour Points) + travel package guaranteed
Entry Fee: $100
Sunday, January 17
Horseplayers.com
Prizes: 1 NHC berth per 21 entries guaranteed (Tour points if 2 berths awarded) + travel package
Entry Fee: $500
Friday, January 22
Horseplayers.com
Prizes: 2 NHC berths and 2020 Tour Points + travel package guaranteed
Entry Fee: $75
Details posted soon on Horseplayers.com
Saturday, January 23
Horseplayers.com
Prizes: 2 NHC berths and 2020 Tour Points + travel package guaranteed
Entry Fee: $100
Details posted soon on Horseplayer.com.
Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship
Prizes: Up to 5 NHC berths awarded (player’s choice 2021 or 2022) and 2020 Tour Points + travel package
Entry Fee: $6,000 ($5,000 bankroll + $1,000 entry fee)
One must be a current NHC Tour member to be eligible to win NHC entries. To sign up for the NHC Tour, go to www.ntra.com/membership. For more information on the NHC and NHC Tour, visit www.nhctour.com/nhc or contact Michele Ravencraft at mravencraft@ntra.com.
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.

Big Bucks at Stakes in the 2020 NHC in Vegas

Hear AGOS Founder Rich Nilsen on the NHC Monster Podcast

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (February 6, 2020) – An estimated field of nearly 700 entries will compete for a record prize pool of some $2.95 million – and horse racing’s official title of “Horseplayer of the Year” – at this weekend’s 21st NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Presented by Racetrack Television Network, Caesars Entertainment and Bally’s. The three-day tournament, Friday to Sunday at Bally’s Las Vegas, will offer a first-place prize of $800,000. Including complimentary travel and hotel, cash and awards total some $3.8 million.

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 Semi-final round will fill out the Draft Kings Final Table. Bankrolls amassed during Day 1, Day 2 and the Semi-final round will roll over to the Final Table, with the 10 finalists settling the NHC score in seven “mandatory” assigned races.

nhc final table vegasPlayers who do not make the Semi-final cut will still compete on Day 3, in a separate $50,000 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.

“The NHC is a true celebration of the horseplayer—the individuals who fuel every aspect of the sport and business of Thoroughbred racing,” said NTRA Chief Operating Officer and NHC Tournament Director, Keith Chamblin. “We thank the many organizations who hosted NHC qualifiers throughout 2019 as well as our presenting sponsors and partners.”

At the Races with Steve Byk will broadcast live on SiriusXM satellite radio (Sirius 219; XM 201) from Bally’s and online at www.stevebyk.com daily, Thursday to Monday, with NHC coverage slated for 2-8 p.m. ET (11 a.m.-5 p.m. PT) Friday-Sunday. Additional news and exclusive content will be shared on Twitter via the official NTRA account, @NTRA.

Defending NHC champion Scott Coles – who last month was honored with an Eclipse Award as the 2019 “Horseplayer of the Year”– heads this year’s field, which is comprised of an estimated 556 individuals (pending the outcome of Thursday’s Last Chance Contest). There are 148 rookies, representing some 25 percent of the field. There are 119 dual qualifiers going into Thursday’s Last Chance Contest at the Bally’s Event Center.

As the 2019 NHC winner, Coles received an automatic berth into this year’s tournament to defend the title he won last February when he prevailed in his first time playing in the NHC. Coles amassed a winning score of $367 over the three-day tournament from 53 mythical $2 Win and Place bets en route to becoming the tournament’s youngest ever winner at age 34. He will seek to become the first-ever two-time winner of the NHC, as will 10 other past winners that have qualified. The other qualifying champions are: Chris Littlemore (2018), Ray Arsenault (2017), Paul Matties, Jr. (2016), Jim Benes (2013), Michael Beychok (2012), Brian Troop (2010), Richard Goodall (2008), and Stanley Bavlish (2007), Jamie Michaelson, Jr. (2005) and Stephen Wolfson, Jr. (2003).

Top 100 Players in NHC Scoring History

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

As the winner of the 2019 NHC Tour, David Snyder won $110,000 and an NHC berth. He also is eligible for a $5 million bonus if he goes on to win at the 2020 NHC finals.

Brad Anderson, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC), is eligible for a $3 million BCBC/NHC Bonus if he takes down the NHC title.

In its 21st 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.

NHC players qualified via contests hosted by 45 racetracks, casino race books, handicapping contest websites, Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) outlets, simulcast distribution networks, horse owner associations and other Thoroughbred racing organizations. The NHC2020 qualifier hosts were:

Aqueduct, Arlington Park, At the Races with Steve Byk, Bally’s Las Vegas, Belmont Park, Breeders’ Cup, Canterbury Park, Capital OTB, Century Bets, Colonial Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds, Fonner Park, Gulfstream Park, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Harrah’s Hoosier Park, Hawthorne Race Course, Hollywood Casino at Penn National, Horseplayers.com, HorseTourneys.com, Indiana Grand, Keeneland, Laurel Park, Little Red Feather Racing, Lone Star Park, Los Alamitos Race Course, Meadowlands, Mohegan Sun, Monmouth Park, New Zealand Racing, NYRA Bets, S. Florida HBPA, Sam Houston Race Park, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Bets, STATS Race Lens, Saratoga Race Course, Tampa Bay Downs, The BIG One, Treasure Island, TVG, Woodbine Entertainment Group and Xpressbet.com.

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 – 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.

On Saturday, the NTRA also will host an invitation-only online tournament, the 6th Annual Runhappy/NTRA NHC Charity Challenge presented by Tito’s Handmade Vodka. A field of approximately 60 will compete for the $5,000 charitable prize with $2,500 set to be donated in the winner’s name to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and the other $2,500 going to the winner’s charity of choice.

Draft Kings is the exclusive sponsor of the NHC Final Table. Official Partners of the 2020 NHC include STATS Race LensTVG, Daily Racing Form, Insurance Office of America (IOA), and NYRA Bets.

Veteran Touranment Player Streiff Scores at Del Mar

Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Mark Streiff of Mission Viejo, CA scored big in race 9 of the Del Mar Fall Challenge to vault to the lead. Streiff, back to back winner in the Fall Challenge, won an assortment of last race wagers including exacta, trifecta and finished a double. Mike Rosenthal from Las Vegas finished a close second with a final bankroll of $18,014.

In addition to Streiff’s $18,705 in bankroll winnings, he receives $25,000 in cash and a $10,000 BCBC entry. Rosenthal earns an $8,000 entry to the 2020 Del Mar Summer Challenge and $10,000 cash prize. Day one leader Roger McDow, first until the very last race, finished third. McDow also receives a Del Mar Summer entry, $3,000 cash in addition to the $2,500 bonus as day one winner.

Del Mar Fall Challenge Format

The Challenge buy-in was $5,000 with $3,500 going to the player bankroll and $1,500 to the prize pool.

Fourth and fifth place finishers Brandon Moran and Don Chung receive entries to the $2.8 million 2020 National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas.
2019 FINAL PLACINGS
PLACE NAME FINAL BANKROLL
1 Mark Streiff $18,705.50
2 Mike Rosenthal 2 $18,014.40
3 Roger McDow $14,307.50
4 Brandon Moran 2 $12,852
5 Don Chung $10,199
6 Gene Cahalan $9,450.60

Stich Wins Again. 28yo Handicapper Takes Down Record Field at Monmouth Park

AGOS Founder Also Qualifies at Pick Your Prize Challenge Tournament

Patrick Stich of Chicago, IL turned his $1,000 starting bankroll into $6,150 to win Monmouth Park’s fourth annual $2,000 Pick Your Prize Handicapping Challenge on Saturday, June 1.

Stich bested a record field of 222 entries made up of players from 30 states and Canada.

Rich Nilsen qualifies for the 16th time

For finishing first, Stich received an automatic $14,000 and two picks from the Pick Your Prize board. In total, the board was composed of 22 NHC seats – the most of any online or on-track contest in history – as well as six full Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seats and $86,000 in cash prizes. With his two picks, Stich selected the top cash prize of $12,000 and well as the prize of BCBC+$3,500. Including his bankroll, Stich walked away with $35,650 plus a seat in the $10,000 BCBC.

Early in the day, Stich started strong by hitting a $200 fourth race exacta at Gulfstream for $1,640. A $50 fifth race exacta at Gulfstream earned Stich another $2,475. A $600 win bet in the 11th race at Gulfstream had Stich with $5,050 going into the Monmouth Park finale – the final contest race. A winning $200 cold exacta returned $1,300 and landed Stich the title.

Saturday’s second-place finisher was Tim Yohler of Fishers, IN who finished with a bankroll of $5,843.60.

All Pick Your Prize players were required to bet at least $100 on a total of 10 races from Monmouth Park, Belmont and Gulfstream. At least five of those races needed to be Monmouth Park races. Bets could only be win, place, show, exacta or any combination thereof.

All players kept their final bankrolls. The Top 5 finishers received a guaranteed cash prize. The Top 7 finishers all received two picks from the prize board in order of finish. Finishers 8 through 27 received one pick.

Following is the full list of results from Saturday’s $2,000 Pick Your Prize Handicapping Challenge:

Finish Name Bankroll Prize
1st Patrick Stich $6,150 $29,500+BCBC
2nd Tim Yohler $5,843.60 $14,000+BCBC+NHC
3rd Ross Szlasa $5,253 $13,000+BCBC
4th Frank Fosbre $5,201.60 $10,000+BCBC
5th Mark Streiff $4,848.50 $5,000+BCBC+NHC
6th Rich Pawlowski $4,545.40 $2,000+NHC+BCBC
7th Andrew Gredesky $4,208 $5,500+NHC
8th Gary Wright $4,031 NHC
9th Nick Noce $3,788 NHC
10th Scott Carson $3,678 $4,000
11th Frank Gryboski $3,620 $3,000
12th Stephen McNatton $3,412.50 NHC
13th Tim Hughes $3,410.50 NHC
14th David Wolff $3,377.95 NHC
15th John Vail $3,207.50 NHC
16th Joe Regan $3,053 NHC
17th Roger Cettina $3,000.80 NHC
18th Sally Goodall $2,993.20 NHC
19th David Wolff $2,940 $3,000 (in lieu of a 2nd NHC seat)
20th Scott Carson $2,876 NHC
21st John Fisher $2,735 NHC
22nd Mike Mulvihill $2,724 NHC
23rd Rich Nilsen $2,667.25 NHC
24th Don Chung $2,604 NHC
25th Jose Raphael $2,466 NHC
26th Jeff Bussan $2,429.55 NHC

Nick Fazzolari Wins New Sunday Contest

For the first time, Monmouth Park also hosted a $300 NHC Qualifier on Sunday, June 2. The winner of that contest was Nick Fazzolari of Colts Neck, NJ who used a late all-in in the finale at Belmont to catapult to the lead and best the field of 179 entries. Fazzolari will be headed to the NHC along with second-place finisher Rich Pesce and third-place finisher Mark Odorisio.

Monmouth Park’s next handicapping contest is a $300 Monmouth/Woodbine event ($150 entry fee, $150 bankroll) on Saturday, June 29, which will award three NHC seats . Woodbine’s historic Queen’s Plate will be carded on June 29.

$10,000 Summer Challenge from Racetrack Television Network (RTN)

NTRA NHC logoRTN $10,000 Summer Challenge

The RTN $10,000 Summer Challenge will be a bonus challenge that consists of NHC Tour points accumulated over a 3-month period on HorsePlayers.com. The challenge will kick-off on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27 with a $125 HorsePlayers.com contest and conclude on Saturday, August 31. The top three finishers of the challenge will be awarded $10,000 in cash prizes (1st- $5,000, 2nd- $3,000, 3rd- $1,000).

RTN is offering new subscribers five free days of video live streaming and unlimited race replays. To register for your five free days go to www.rtn.tv and enter promo code TRYRTN. There will be an additional $1,000 bonus awarded to the highest finisher who is a current RTN subscriber or a new subscriber who registers for the five free day promotion.

In addition to the RTN $10,000 Summer Challenge prize, this year’s NHC Tour prize pool will award $325,000 in cash prizes to the overall NHC Tour Leader Board finishers and $15,000 to first-time NHC Tour members. The winner of the 2019 NHC Tour will be eligible for a $5 million bonus if he or she were to win the 2020 NHC.

You must be a NHC Tour member to compete for NHC Tour prizes and to be eligible to participate in the NHC in Las Vegas. There are three more free NHC Tour contests in 2019. These contests are set for June 1, August 2-3, and September 28. For more information on NHC Tour membership go to www.nhctour.com.

About Racetrack Television Network
Racetrack Television Network (“RTN”) is an 80-channel subscription package that caters to horsemen, bettors and racing fans worldwide by delivering every simulcast from North American and select international tracks to televisions, computers, and mobile devices (including iPhones, iPads, Android phones and Android tablets). The television package is available via satellite provider DISH Network, while the online and mobile packages are available directly from RTN at www.rtn.tv. RTN offers the largest simulcast menu in the pari-mutuel industry-either commercially or residentially.

About the National Horseplayers Championship
In its 21st 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. The 2020 NHC will be held at Ballys, Las Vegas February 6-9, 2020. For more information on the NHC, visit NTRA.com/nhc.

What Wager won this year’s Keeneland’s Grade One Gamble?

Faron McCubbins Closes with a Rush to Capture Keeneland’s Grade One GambleFaron McCubbin Wins Another Big Tournament

Overcoming inclement weather and late changes to the contest landscape, Faron McCubbins of Mount Washington, KY hammered the 9th race at Keeneland with an $800 exacta on 8-10 that paid $28,560, resulting in an incredible final bankroll of $31,560 that bested 180 other contestants in the Grade One Gamble. For his efforts Faron takes home $35,000 in prize money, a fully paid Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge berth at Santa Anita worth $10,000, and an entry into the 2020 National Horseplayers Championship at Bally’s Las Vegas.

The day began with steady rain that caused all races to be taken off the turf; multiple scratches resulted in decimated fields. Contest management added 3 races from Gulfstream and 2 races from Aqueduct to the contest menu, and the changes resulted in a very competitive contest that was decided at the wire.

Long- time leader Dan Slattery of Bethesda, MD, who cashed for $19,000 on Gulfstream’s 4th race, was passed late by the huge play of McCubbins, but took home his bankroll of $18,449.80 plus $18,000, a fully paid BCBC spot and an NHC entry.