08/09/2012 10:50AM

Arkansas woman wins $15,000 for leading National Handicapping Championship Tour at midpoint

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Rhonda Sylvester, a 50-year-old former airline employee from Little Rock, Ark., has been awarded $15,000 for accruing the most points halfway through the National Handicapping Championship Tour, which is sponsored by Daily Racing Form .

Sylvester has won two tournaments and placed third and fifth in two other tournaments six months into the season. She has already earned a berth in the National Handicapping Championship on Jan. 25-26 in Las Vegas.

The first half of the season concluded July 31, with a total of $50,000 being awarded to the top 10 points leaders. The second half will conclude Dec. 31. In addition to another $50,000 in awards for the second-half leaders, the full-year points leader on the tour on Dec. 31 will be awarded $75,000, and another $75,000 will be distributed to the top 20 points earners.

This is Sylvester’s first-year as a tour member, though she has accompanied her husband, Mike, to handicapping tournaments for several years.

“I’ve been very lucky and, being relatively new, have definitely been learning a lot as I go along,” Rhonda Sylvester said. “I’ve gone with Mike to many tournaments, but now that I’m participating, I realize it’s a lot more high-stress than I used to think.”