The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced that registration for the newly-created National Handicapping Championship Tour, a year-long bonus series offering additional prize money and qualifying berths to the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship, will open Feb. 15 at www.ntra.com/nhctour.
The NHC Tour will be open only to officially registered contestants and will be based on performances at NHC qualifying events throughout the year. Official rules for the NHC Tour are available at www.ntra.com/nhctour.
To become eligible for the NHC Tour, participants must pay an annual $125 registration fee. Tour members then receive NHC tour points for top finishes in qualifying events held during the year. Only a player’s five best scores during the year will be counted in the tabulation. At the end of the year’s qualifying events, the overall point leader will receive a bonus of $100,000, with $50,000 for second, and $25,000 for third.
There will be cash awards to the top 50 players on the tour. Should the overall NHC Tour winner go on to capture first place in the NHC finals, he or she will receive a $2 million bonus.
In addition to cash prizes, the top three NHC Tour point leaders will receive automatic entry into that January’s NHC finals in Las Vegas. If any of the top three end-of-year finishers have already qualified for the NHC, the next place finisher who has not previously qualified will receive the automatic entry until all three spots have been filled.
All registered NHC Tour competitors will also be automatically entered in a free online tourney March 1 offering three qualifying berths to the NHC.
Additional benefits for NHC Tour members include automatic enrollment in the Horseplayers’ Coalition. Now in the formative stages, the Coalition will focus on seeking legislative and regulatory solutions to tax and business issues that impact pari-mutuel racetracks and their customers and provide grass roots support for the NTRA’s lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill.
“The NHC Tour is the latest step in the explosive growth of the National Handicapping Championship over its first nine years,” said Keith Chamblin, senior vice president for the NTRA. “The Tour is designed to reward our sport’s most avid tournament players and also provide an avenue for drawing casual fans further into our game.”