NHC Finals to Add Third Day of Competition

NHC Tour players will be able to earn two entries into the NHC finals.

When top tournament handicappers gather for the National Handicapping Championship finals in January 2014, they will encounter a new format that will add a third day of competition.

The championship will expand from two days to three days. Only top scoring players will advance to the third day of the competition and the field will be whittled again during the third day to create a "final table" atmosphere similar to poker tournaments.

The additional day at the finals highlights rule changes released Feb. 5 by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association for the 2013 Daily Racing Form National Handicapping Championship Tour and its championship event. The tour culminates with the championship event, which in 2013 was at Treasure Island Las Vegas. The release did not announce the site of the 2014 finals.

Among the changes for the 2013 Tour is an increase from 10 to a record 20 in the number of NHC berths to be given out via free, online qualifying tournaments restricted to NHC Tour members. Also, the top 150 Tour points leaders at year's end (up from 100 in 2012) will be guaranteed entry into the 2014 NHC. Once again in next January's NHC Finals, the season-ending NHC Tour points leader will be eligible for a $2 million bonus should he or she capture the 2014 NHC. 


NHC Tour prize money this year will be at least $175,000, including a total of $25,000 in mid-year payouts to the top eight in the standings as of July 31. End-of-year payouts will total $150,000, with points based on a member's top six scores. Again in 2013, bonuses will be paid to those players who win multiple NHC qualifying tournaments. A $3,000 bonus will be paid for a second qualifying tournament victory. An additional $4,000 bonus will be paid for a third win. And an additional $5,000 bonus will be awarded for a fourth win.


Membership in the 2013 NHC Tour requires a one-time membership fee of $50 and is mandatory in order for top finishers of sanctioned NHC qualifying events to be eligible to compete in the January 2014 NHC Finals. The NHC Tour membership must be in place prior to the start of any given qualifying tournament in order for one to qualify for the NHC Finals at that qualifying tournament.

NHC Tour membership is also mandatory in order to earn an entry into the NHC Finals, won this year by Jim Benes of Countryside, Ill. Her received a $750,000 grand prize and an Eclipse Award as Handicapper of the Year.


Another NHC "first" in 2014 will be the opportunity for players to qualify for two entries in the tournament that is again expected to give away $750,000 to the winner and more than $1.5 million overall.


All those not making it into the day 3 final will be entered in a free, consolation tournament. The complete rules for the 2014 NHC Final are expected to be announced within the next 30-45 days.


The complete rules are posted at http://www.ntra.com/en/nhc/official-rules/.