National Handicapping Championship Boasts Record Field
The 18th Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) begins today at Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Presented by Racetrack Television Network, the three-day tournament boasts a record field of 654 total entries. This years participants will compete for the largest purse in horse handicapping tournament history – $2,900,600 in cash and awards.
This year’s winner will receive a first-place prize of $800,000 and be awarded horse racing’s official title of “Horseplayer of the Year.”
The top 66 players will earn a cash prize, with the top 50 receiving five-figure checks and 66th taking home $5,000.
“We are delighted to once again host many of the pre-eminent horseplayers, and coolest people, in the world,” said NTRA Chief Operating Officer and NHC Tournament Director Keith Chamblin. “It is only through the support of so many horseplayers and participating organizations that we are able to realize another record year of growth for the NHC – by far the single largest promotional program in Thoroughbred racing.”
Defending champion Paul Matties – who last weekend was honored with an Eclipse Award as “Horseplayer of the Year”– heads the record field, which is comprised of 529 individual players (125 are dual qualifiers playing the maximum two entries).
There are no “buy-in” entries at the 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 tournament 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 NTRA.com, where fans and players can also find each day’s contest race mennu and news updates. Additional news and exclusive content will be shared on Twitter via the official NTRA account, @NTRA.
News updates also will be available throughout the contest on DRF.com. At the Races with Steve Byk will broadcast live on Sirius XM satellite radio from Treasure Island during the show’s regular hours, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. EST, Friday morning.