National Handicapping Championship Draws Record Entries

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National Handicapping Championship Awards Nearly $3 Million

A record field of 654 total entries will compete in this years National Handicapping Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas. As the players take their seats today at Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, they’ll be battling for $2.9 million in cash and awards – with a first-place prize of $800,000.

The winner is also awarded horse racing’s official title of “Horseplayer of the Year.” Paul Matties is the defending champion.

“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.”

The 18th Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) is presented by Racetrack Television Network, and the three-day tournament is comprised of 529 individual players (125 are dual qualifiers playing the maximum two entries).

The 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.

The top 66 players will earn a cash prize, with the top 50 receiving five-figure checks and 66th taking home $5,000.

The overall estimated prize pool, including money already won by top finishers in the 2016 Daily Racing Form NHC Tour, represents a 4.4 percent increase over last year’s then-record purse of $2.78 million.

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.

A full scoreboard will be updated regularly at, where fans and players can also find each day’s contest race menu 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 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.

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