Online Fan Education Forum Begins Feb. 21

Called Night School, the weekly forum will run for 40 weeks through Dec. 19.

An online interactive fan forum, to be made available free of charge to all National Thoroughbred Racing Association member organizations, will begin Feb. 21. 

Pioneered and developed by Horse Player NOW, Night School will be syndicated and implemented into racetrack and organization websites throughout the industry, providing a professional, consistent and unified outlet for fan education. Presenting title sponsors of the program are the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and Keeneland.

Called “Night School,” the weekly forum will be available free of charge to all NTRA member organizations.  “Night School” was developed by Horse Player NOW and is co-hosted by owners Jeremy Plonk and Joe Kristufek.

According to a release from the NTRA, the lessons are offered free and will include both novice and advance-level fan education. The 40-week season runs through Dec. 19 with 90-minute sessions taking place from 8:30-10:00 p.m. (ET) each week. The release said regular panelists will include Caton Bredar and Churchill Downs analyst Jill Byrne, along with other industry participants who  will share their insights.

Each class will include a 60-minute topical discussion, complete with an introduction video and downloadable lesson overview, and a 30-minute open forum.  Each of the lessons \ will be archived, creating an educational library via the popular Cover It Live live-blogging technology.

Racetrack and other member websites affiliated with the title sponsors will be permitted to offer the sessions on their sites at no charge. Other racing organizations already signed on to participate in the program include Churchill Downs, Arlington Park, Fair Grounds, Calder Race Course, Hawthorne Race Course, Oaklawn Park, Pimlico, Laurel and the University of Arizona Racetrack Industry Program.

“Night School is a national approach to addressing fan education through the utilization of the Internet and social media tools that did not exist a few years ago,” said Keith Chamblin, senior vice president of the NTRA.

The first five topics will be: 21st century handicapping; handicapping for class; pace handicapping; trip handicapping; and track bias. Other scheduled topics will include ownership, racehorse retirement, behind-the-scenes looks at various racetrack jobs and more.   

“Horse racing is a fascinating game, and the more you know about it from every angle, the more captivating it becomes,” said Kristufek,