Troop Wins National Handicapping Tourney

Canadian Brian Troop won the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping tournament.

Canadian Brian Troop, 61, won the 11th annual Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship Jan. 30 with the third-highest score in the tournament’s history. The resident of Barrie, Ontario, collected $266 from 30 mythical $2 win-and-place wagers over two days and won the $500,000 first prize. Historically, the tournament’s highest scores belong to Steve Wolfson Jr., whose winning bets in 2005 totaled $279.60, and Richard Goodall, who collected $272.30 in 2008.

Troop is an accountant who earned his trip to NHC XI at the Turfway Park tournament on Dec. 6. He finished fourth in the Turfway Park tournament that awarded three spots but was moved up when two of the players ahead of him had already qualified through other events. During the championship, Troop put up a tournament Day 1 record score of $232.60 on Jan 29, then held off a field of 300 other handicappers competing at Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas. He managed to maintain his lead on Day 2 despite having just one winner and one place horse Jan 30.

“I was lucky a lot of short prices came in,” Troop said. “I feel like I backed into it.”

Robert Gregory, 53, of Durango, Colo., who qualified online at, made a run at the leader and finished with a score of $249.80 to win the second-place prize of $150,000. Tim Simmons, 55, of Lexington, Ky., who qualified at, was third at $249.20 to collect $100,000 plus another $5,000 for having the top Day 2 score of $181.80. Brian Herrity, 53, of Mankato, Minn., (qualified in the Breeders’ Cup tournament at Santa Anita) was fourth at $240.80 to take home $40,000 as well as another $1,000 for having third-highest score on the second day. Elaine Kowaleski, 57, of Farmingdale, N.J., (qualified at was fifth at $237.80. That score was good for $25,000 plus $2,500 for having the second day’s second-highest score.

The NHC XI finals paid out to the top 30 finishers from a total purse of $947,850. Including $190,000 awarded to top finishers of the year-long NHC Tour, the aggregate payouts this weekend to contestants totaled $1,137,850.

Troop also automatically earns an exemption into next year’s finals. NHC XII will be held again at Red Rock on January 28-29, 2011.