06/04/2015 2:34PM

Fornatale: NHC qualifiers in Central, South America


The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced a partnership Thursday with the Latin American Racing Channel to hold National Handicapping Championship qualifiers in Central and South America beginning this year. The deal gives the LARC exclusive rights to award NHC berths throughout Latin America and was announced by NTRA president and chief executive Alex Waldrop during his opening address at the Pan American Conference in New York City.

“We are delighted to partner with LARC to expand the reach of the NHC into Latin America,” said Waldrop. “LARC is a highly regarded and well-respected industry leader at the forefront of international simulcasting between the Americas.”

The contests will begin in the second half of 2015 and will be the first onsite NHC qualifiers ever held outside the United States and Canada.

“LARC is delighted to become a part of the richest and most prestigious handicapping tournament in the world,” said LARC president Horacio Esposito.

“We look forward to using NHC qualifying tournaments as a way to promote the growth and expansion of simulcasting between the Americas.”

In its 17th year, the NHC is the richest and most important handicapping tournament in the world. The winner each year is honored with an Eclipse Award for Handicapper of the Year.

There is no way to buy in to the NHC; participants must win their way in through a qualifying contest. Qualifying tournaments are held by racetracks, casino race books, offtrack betting facilities and handicapping websites, including NHCQualify.com, the official qualifying site of the NHC.

The 2015 NHC featured record participation and record prize money and awards totaling $2.68 million, including the awards for competitors who play on the NHC Tour, a yearlong series of qualifying events. The 2016 NHC prize pool is expected to be in line with or exceed that of 2015. The NHC will be held Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 28-30, at Treasure Island in Las Vegas.