05/09/2014 12:32PM

Fornatale: Over $2 million to be awarded at the 16th National Handicapping Championship

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The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced today that the purse for the 16th Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship will be a minimum of $1.8 million. This represents a 13 percent increase over the 2014 NHC purse of $1,590,000. Combined with the $200,000 in purses for the NHC Tour, for the first time the NHC overall will award at least $2 million in prizes. The event will be held Jan. 23-25, 2015, at Treasure Island in Las Vegas.

Current plans have the winner’s share of the purse staying at $750,000 with a plan to increase the compensation for those finishing between fourth and 20th in the overall tournament.

The three-day format will once again be in effect, with the top 50 finishers from Day 1 and Day 2 advancing to a third day of competition. The Final 50 will once again be winnowed down to a final table of 10.

No word as of yet on if the leaderboard issues from previous NHCs will be corrected – allowing instant access to scores for all participants after races have finished. A further announcement is expected on this matter later this year.

Other notable rule changes include:

◗ The top 50 entries – not individuals – as ranked by cumulative bankroll from Day 1 and Day 2 of the NHC, will advance to the Day 3 final 50 contest. Last year, individual players could only advance one entry to the final 50.

◗ The final 50 contest and consolation tournament will consist of 10 optional races (no mandatory races). Last year, there were three mandatory races and seven optional races at that stage of the contest.

◗ The final table contest will consist of seven mandatory races, an increase from last year’s five.

◗ Eligible participants may play as many as two entries in the consolation tournament. Last year, dual qualifiers who didn’t make it to the final 50 could play only one entry in the final 50.

◗ Picks at the final table will not be revealed until the horses have left the gate.

Full rules for the 2015 National Handicapping Challenge are available at www.ntra.com/en/nhc/2015-championship-official-rules.