Handicappers from 19 states and Canada will be in New Haven, Connecticut this weekend to compete in Autotote's fifth annual $100,000 Sports Haven Handicapping Challenge Racing fans from across the country will converge on Sports Haven this weekend to compete in Autotote's fifth annual $100,000 Sports Haven Handicapping tournament. Participants from 19 different states and Canada are competing in the two-day event, February 3-4. Of the 340 contestants, 241 are coming from out of state, including California, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, and Missouri.First prize is $40,000. In addition to the money, the first four finishers will qualify to compete in the Daily Racing Form/ National Thoroughbred Racing Association Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas in 2002."The tournament has really grown in stature over the years," said John Ponzio, vice president/general manager of Autotote Enterprises. " This is the premier event on the East Coast and our people do a great job running the tournament. I think that's why racing fans are willing to travel to New Haven in February to compete in this contest." Last year's champion Ron Butkiewicz of West Haven, CT will be returning to defend his title. Previous champions Rick Lang (1999) and Bob Weidlich (1998) will be competing as will Bradley Teletheater Champions Dave Crupi (1999) and Ed Fountaine (1998). Other notable contestants include Jerry Bossert, New York Daily News; John DaSilva, New York Post; Bill Finley, ESPN.Com; Ed Gray, Boston Herald, Paul Moran, Newsday; Dan Nowak, new Haven Register; Sherman Cain, Manchester Journal- Inquirer; Bob Neumeir, NBC Sports; Dave Gutfreud, New York City OTB racing analyst and multiple contest winner and Mike Kipness, a professional handicapper known as the Wizard.
Under the format, contestants make ten $200 wagers each contest day on races from Aqueduct, Gulfstream and Santa Anita. The person with the most money wins the contest.