12/17/2012 6:02PM

Jeff Sotman, helped get handicapping championship started, dies at 50


Jeff Sotman, a former general manager of HorsePlayer Magazine who helped administer and promote the National Handicapping Championship in its formative years, died on Nov. 28, according to family and friends. Sotman was 50.

In the late 1990s, Sotman, an avid handicapper who was an alumnus of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, began developing ontrack and online handicapping tournaments, leading to his involvement with the National Handicapping Championship, which was first held in 1998. The establishment of the national tournament has raised the profile and ubiquity of handicapping tournaments around the country.

"Jeff was a driven individual who succeeded in making multiple successful contributions to the horseracing industry," said Tom Quigley, the owner of HorsePlayer magazine, in a statement. "He never shied from controversy or debate, but those who knew him best will quickly recall his passion, spirit, collegiality and sense of humor. Thousands of others, meanwhile, remember him for his indelible mark on handicapping tournaments and, specifically, the most successful handicapping tournament in the world."

Sotman is survived by his mother, two brothers, and two sisters.