01/08/2013 6:45PM

2012 Eclipse Awards: Michael Beychok


As a part of the Eclipse Awards festivities, and to salute horseplayers throughout North America, the Eclipses will honor Michael Beychok, who won the $1 million first-place prize and title of 2012 Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association Handicapper of the Year by a single dollar at the 13th annual DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship last January at Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

The National Handicapping Championship is the pinnacle of all tournaments for horseplayers and is the culmination of a yearlong series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments conducted by racetracks, casino race books, offtrack betting facilities, and horse racing and handicapping websites. The NHC has enjoyed tremendous popularity over the past decade. The first NHC in 2000 had a total purse of $212,000. The total purse of this year's NHC 14 will be $1,750,000.

Beychok – a 49-year-old political consultant from Baton Rouge, La., and longtime friend of popular political commentator James Carville – won last year’s NHC in the most dramatic finish in the history of the event. His final score of $238.60 edged Dave Flanzbaum of Rolling Meadows, Ill., who finished with $237.60. Beychok never led the 480-person competition until the contest was over, scoring with Golden Gate Fields winner Glorious Dancer ($8.20 to win, $3.80 to place) in the event’s final race to slip past Flanzbaum by only $1. Glorious Dancer won that Golden Gate race for Beychok by just a nose. In March, Beychok claimed Glorious Dancer for $6,250 from a race at Golden Gate and later had her shipped to Louisiana, so he could ensure that the filly that changed his life would always have a good home.

“I think we take for granted what these horses do for us,” Beychok told ESPN.com. The 14th Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship presented by Sovereign Stable and Treasure Island will be held next Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25-26, at Treasure Island Hotel and Casino.

photo by: Horsephotos