The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced April 13 the launch of "Beat the Handicapper," a free, eight-week contest at www.ntra.com that challenges fans to correctly handicap one designated race each week. Contestants will compete for weekly cash prizes ranging from $250 for first place to $50 for fourth place. The handicapper with the best cumulative performance over the eight weeks will receive a berth in the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship, to be held Jan. 26-27 at Bally's Las Vegas. The competition begins April 22 and continues for the next seven Saturdays, concluding Belmont Stakes Day (gr. I). A guest handicapper will make publicly posted selections for that week's designated contest race, using a $50 mythical bankroll. Competitors will also make selections using a special mock tote machine with the bet type of their choice. Should a competitor's selections return more money than those of that week's guest handicapper, a $50 bonus will be added to his or her weekly score. The first race will be the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. III) from Keeneland, and the guest handicapper will be ESPN horse racing analyst Randy Moss. "'Beat the Handicapper' incorporates several key elements of fan education and player development," said McKay Smith, director of product development for the NTRA. "For our core fans, it provides an opportunity to compete for free cash prizes and a coveted berth in the National Handicapping Championship. For our less seasoned fans, it provides all of the above, plus an easy opportunity to learn more about exotic, multi-horse wagers that--while intimidating to some--have become a staple of the wagering side of the sport."The NTRA expects to conduct another "Beat the Handicapper" competition later in 2006, leading up to the Breeders' Cup World Championships.