$4.5M Awaits at 25th NHC

March 7, 2024

Nearly $4.5 Million in Cash and Prizes Awarded at 25th National Horseplayers Championship

$800,000 grand prize and Eclipse Award as Horseplayer of the Year to be awarded from field of more than 750 Entries

NTRA Press Release

LEXINGTON, Ky.—The 25th National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) presented by Caesars Entertainment, Horseshoe Las Vegas, and Racetrack Television Network (RTN) kicks off Friday, March 15, running through Sunday, March 17, at the Horseshoe Las Vegas. The field of an estimated 750 entries will yield one ultimate winner, who will go home with $800,000 and an Eclipse Award as the Horseplayer of the Year. 

The NHC, the world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping contest, features more than 600 top horseplayers (including approximately 150 individuals with two entries) will be awarded nearly $4.5 million in cash and prizes at the conclusion of the contest. 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. All qualifiers will receive a complimentary four-night stay at the Horseshoe Las Vegas and travel reimbursements which total more than $1 million. The complete field and total prize breakdown will be finalized following the Last Chance/First Chance Contest, held Thursday, March 14 on the eve of the NHC.

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, Crown’s Way Racing, and Race Lens.

New to the 25th NHC will be a Final Table livestream, co-hosted by Steve Byk and Rick Hammerle, that will be streamed on NTRA’s X (formerly Twitter), YouTube, and Website for the final seven races of the Championship. Interested spectators will have the ability to watch and listen to the action unfurling all weekend long at the NHC. Rachel McLaughlin, Racing Analyst at Horseshoe Indianapolis, will be providing coverage throughout the weekend on all NTRA social media platforms. 

NHC Las Vegas. (Photo courtesy of NHC) 
NHC Las Vegas. (Photo courtesy of NHC) 

Additionally, At the Races with Steve Byk will broadcast live on SiriusXM satellite radio (Sirius 219; XM 201) from the Horseshoe Las Vegas and online at www.stevebyk.com daily, from 9a.m.-12 p.m. ET/6-9 a.m. PT on Friday and Monday, with bonus NHC coverage at www.SteveByk.com/listen-live-SiriusXM slated for 2-8 p.m. ET/11 a.m.-5 p.m. PT) next Friday-Sunday. America’s Best Racing and Hawthorne Race Course will also be streaming live from the event. 

Of the 24 years of past champions, at least 13 will be returning to attempt to become the first repeat winner of the NHC – Steve Wolfson, Jr. (2003), James Michelson, Jr. (2005), Stanley Bavlish (2007), Michael Beychok (2012), Jim Benes (2013), John O’Neil (2015), Paul Matties, Jr (2016), Ray Arsenault (2017), Chris Littlemore (2018), Scott Coles (2019), Justin Mustari (2021), David Harrison (2022), Paul Calia (2023). While many NHC veterans will be returning, there will also be many fresh faces this year with 100 rookies competing pending the results of Thursday’s Last Chance/First Chance Contest at the Horseshoe Las Vegas.

All of the participants qualified via contests hosted by 33 racetracks, casino race books, handicapping contest websites, Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) platforms, simulcast distribution networks, horse owner associations, media outlets, and other Thoroughbred racing organizations. Outlets that held qualifiers to the 2024 NHC included At the Races with Steve Byk, Breeders’ Cup, Canterbury Park, Delaware Park, Del Mar, FanDuel TV, Florida Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Gulfstream Park, Hawthorne, Horseplayers.com, Horsetourneys.com, Horseshoe Indianapolis, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Laurel Park, Little Red Feather, Lone Star Park, Los Alamitos, Monmouth Park, NTRA, Race Lens, Remington Park, Sam Houston Race Park, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Bets, Sport of Kings, Tampa Bay Downs, Thoroughbred Owners of California, Treasure Island, TwinSpires, Woodbine, and Xpressbet. 

The tournament format for the NHC is meant to be the best possible test of picking winners. Players attempt to earn the highest possible bankroll based on mythical $2 Win/Place wagers. Assigned “mandatory” races – six per day on Day 1, eight per day on Day 2, and seven at the Final Table – are announced at least 24 hours prior to each contest day via direct e-mail to players and publicly on Twitter (@NTRA) and NTRA.com. 

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 Semifinal round on Sunday morning will fill out the Final Table. Bankrolls amassed during Day 1, Day 2 and the Semifinals round will roll over to the Final Table, with the 10 finalists settling the NHC score in seven “mandatory” assigned races.

Also new to the 25th NHC program will be the Silver Sunday Contest, available to all individuals competing in the tournament with no entry fee. Every individual will receive a maximum of one entry and will have to place mythical Win/Place bets throughout Sunday, March 17 on ten optional and seven mandatory races (the seven mandatory races will coincide with the NHC Final Table). The top 25 highest bankrolls, including ties, will receive a share of $100,000 in prize money. The top five highest finishers will win an entry into the 2025 NHC and the top 10 percent will receive on track 2024 NHC Tour points. A “First Five” free-to-play online contest will be available to non-NHC participants and will offer five berths to the 2025 NHC. Full contest rules can be found on ntra.com.

All information on the 25th NHC can be found at www.ntra.com/nhc including the 2024 full schedule of events, the 2024 Official Rules, and more. To sign up for the 2024 NHC Tour and win your way to next year’s NHC visit to www.ntra.com/membership.

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