The NTRA National Horseplayers Championship Tour (NHC Tour) has announced a new record prize pool of $400,000, new sponsors and a new brand for its 10th annual event, the yearlong bonus series of handicapping tournaments offering additional prize money and qualifying berths to the NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas.
The $400,000 tour prize pool for 2017 represents a 27 percent increase from the $315,000 offered last year. The NHC Tour champion will win $100,000 (up from $75,000), with $50,000 to the runner-up, $25,000 to the third-place finisher, $17,500 to fourth, and $10,000 to fifth. The top 20 finishers on the NHC Tour will win prize money, with sixth through 20th place paying on a declining scale from $9,000 to $2,000. Those who qualify from the NHC Tour events will convene for the 19th annual NHC on Feb. 9-11, 2018, held at the newly-expanded Treasure Island Las Vegas Casino and Resort on the Las Vegas Strip.
“The record prize money for the NHC Tour is a reflection of what continues to be unabated growth and interest in the NHC and the NHC Tour,” said Alex Waldrop, president and chief executive of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA). NTRA is the founder, owner, and operator of the NHC and the NHC Tour.
NHC Tour membership is mandatory to be eligible to qualify for the NHC. Membership includes free entry into five online “members only” contests offering a record 25 NHC berths, an increase of five from last year’s free online qualifiers. The online contests are set for April 8, May 13, June 10, July 30, and Sept. 2.
In addition, the top five finishers in separate “First Half” (through July 30) and “Second Half” (July 30 to Jan. 6) LUXAIR JETS Leaderboards will each be awarded berths to the next Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. A separate LUXAIR JETS Rookie Leaderboard for players who join the NHC Tour for the first time in 2017 will offer $35,000 in prize money, including $5,000 to the winner.
Online registration for the NHC Tour is available at the NTRA’s membership portal at https://www.ntra.com/membership. A host of NHC qualifiers offering NHC Tour points are already underway, including two contests this weekend on HorseTourneys.com. A tentative schedule of contests for the 2017 calendar year will be announced next week.
The NHC and the NHC Tour also welcome Equibase Company as the new official data provider for 2017. Equibase’s new interactive past performance product, STATS Race Lens, will be a presenting sponsor of the NHC. The NHC’s new official title is the NTRA National Horseplayers Championship Presented by Racetrack Television Network, STATS Race Lens, and Treasure Island Las Vegas.
“Equibase Company is the perfect partner for a pursuit that attracts many of the country’s most dedicated horseplayers,” Waldrop said. “Every past performance product on the market is generated with Equibase data and STATS Race Lens represents a revolutionary way of interpreting that information.”
NHC Tour members interested in trying STATS Race Lens for the first time can purchase a one-month subscription and get two additional months at no cost by using promo code SRLQ129NHC at http://www.equibase.com/.
Another new sponsor is Lexington, Ky.-based luxury charter service LUXAIR JETS, who has acquired the naming rights for all NHC and NHC Tour leaderboards. All LUXAIR JETS Leaderboards are first posted and updated on the official NHC website and also emailed to horseplayers.
While the familiar acronyms NHC and NHC Tour remain, the two events’ official names are updated to the NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (from the NTRA National Handicapping Championship) and the NTRA National Horseplayers Championship Tour (from the NTRA National Handicapping Championship Tour). New logos are also introduced for 2017.
The NHC will be held in Treasure Island’s state-of-the-art convention hall, which during the three-day extravaganza is transformed into the world’s largest race book. Treasure Island will host the NHC for a record seventh time.
Earlier this year, the team from America’s Best Racing shadowed Chris Fallica at the 18th annual NHC at Treasure Island.