Public Handicapper Wins NTRA Contest

Edited press release
Ron Rippey, who handicaps the Meadowlands and other tracks for the Newark Star-Ledger, captured the $540,000 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship, a two-day competition at Bally's Las Vegas which concluded on Saturday.

He won this year's national final and top prize of $250,000 with contest earnings of $237.20, an $8.60 winning margin. Rippey hit a 17-1 shot named Alluring Bel in the 10th race at Santa Anita, last race of the tournament, to vault into the lead of the 224-person competition.

Rippey, 61, of Wayne, N.J., a public handicapper for 43 years, he has been on the Star-Ledger sports department staff for the last 27 years. Rippey earned his way into the national tournament by finishing second in a qualifying event at Autotote/Sports Haven on Sept. 24. He was sitting in 28th place after the first day.

"This is a lesson for people to never give up," Rippey said. "I made a lot of mistakes yesterday and today, but I was able to survive. I'm a strong finisher. I don't like to be out on the lead. The hardest thing in the world is to be in front."

The runner-up was Mark Lowe (Tampa Bay Downs), the first-day co-leader, who tallied $228.60. Lowe earned $100,000 for his second-place finish.

Mel Moser (Stampede Park) was third with $227.60, earning $50,000. Louis Licata (Thistledown, $219.70) and Cheryl Britt (Turf Paradise, $219.30) were fourth and fifth, and won $25,000 and $15,000, respectively.

1) Ron Rippey, Autotote Sports Haven, $237.20, $250,000
2) Mark Lowe, Tampa Bay Downs, $228.60, $100,000
3) Mel Moser, Stampede Park, $227.60, $50,000
4) Louis Licata, Thistledown, $219.70, $25,000
5) Cheryl Britt, Turf Paradise Team #2, $219.30, $15,000
6) Tom Zipp, Hawthorne Team #1, $213.30, $6,000
7) Paul Yavorski, Meadowlands, $213.00, $6,000
8) Bob Bandzwolek, Meadowlands, $209.90, $6,000
9) Richard Murray, Del Mar Team #2, $204.00, $6,000
10) Steve Valiant, Bally's Team #2, $203.70, $6,000

1) Sam Houston Race Park, $543.60, $15,000
2) Thistledown, $524.50, $0
3) Meadowlands, $490.70, $0