11/18/2016 2:13PM

Broth takes narrow lead in NHC Tour

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There is a new leader on the National Handicapping Championship Tour. Rick Broth has taken the lead after a win in an online contest over the weekend. He currently has 18,229 points, just 97 more than Gary Gristick, who currently sits in second-place. It’s a good thing for Broth he won outright, as he needed every one of those points and the 25 percent winner’s bonus as well to take him to first.

Here’s how the Tour works: The NHC Tour is a year-long interconnected series of contests. The winner receives $75,000, plus a chance at a $2 million bonus should that player go on to win the NHC itself. Players receive Tour points for finishing in the top 10 percent of NHC qualifying events. Tour rules use a player’s best six scores – at least one of those must come at a live venue (i.e., not online). The number of Tour points awarded varies depending on the number of participants. Outright winners also the 25 percent points bonus.

Broth’s in-person score came when he won Keeneland’s April tournament. His other five scores have come online, two of which came in the free NHC online contests. Those events have outsized importance on the Tour because their giant fields mean extra points (the more players in the field, the more points awarded). But the best news of all for Broth is that his sixth score right now, the 1440 points he earned in an NHC Qualify event back in August, is so low. This means he still has plenty of room to improve his total.

A lot can happen between now and the end of the year, but Broth is a deserving favorite for NHC Tour honors. That said, the big fields expected for online qualifying events between now and the end of the year mean his pursuers are still in with a shot.

Broth, 58, resides in the suburbs of Atlanta and is the southeast regional manager for a company called Tectum, who install acoustic panels all over the world. When it comes to handicapping, he is as old school as they get. “I want to be buried with my Racing Form,” he said earlier this year after his Keeneland victory. “Guys make fun of me with their fancy computer programs while I’m walking around with my print version of the Daily Racing Form, all disorganized and carrying paper around.”

Here is a look at the current top five on the Tour:

1. Rick Broth 18,229

2. Gary Gristick 18,132

3. Joseph Johnson 17,922

4. Cheryl McIntyre 17,613

5. Kevin Engelhard 17,508

For a detailed look at the full leaderboard, go to https://www.ntra.com/nhc/leaders/