Defending champion Brian Troop heads a record field of 305 horseplayers who will gather at Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas Jan. 28-29 to vie for the title of “Handicapper of the Year” and first-place prize of $500,000 in the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championships.
Total estimated prize money of $1,119,000 will be adjusted Jan. 26 after a last-chance tournament is held. The total is a record for the NHC, now in its 12th year; the first contest in 2000 carried total prize money of $200,000.
“We are delighted to return to Red Rock in Las Vegas for what has become the most anticipated tournament in the world among horseplayers,” NTRA senior vice president Keith Chamblin said. “This year’s field of 305 is our biggest ever, which means this year’s NHC will be not only the richest but the most competitive in the event’s history.”
As the 2010 contest winner, Troop, of Barrie, Ontario, Canada received a special exemption into the tournament to defend the title he won last January when he defeated 301 other horseplayers in the two-day competition. The 62-year-old accountant won by amassing a mythical bankroll of $266 from 30 $2 win and place wagers picked from a menu of more than 130 races at seven different tracks.
Troop will look to become the first ever two-time winner of the NHC, but he will face five other past champions who qualified for the finals this year: Judy Wagner, Steve Wolfson Jr., Ron Rippey, Stanley Bavlish, and Richard Goodall.