01/05/2017 11:53AM

McIntyre, two others aim for seven-figure NHC bonuses


It’s official. Cheryl McIntyre is the 2016 National Handicapping Tour champion. For her efforts, she will receive $75,000 and a chance at a $2 million bonus should she go on to win the NHC. She also gets an additional $10,000 for finishing among the top five in the second half of the tour.

McIntyre had a great year in tournament play, both live and online. For the tour, a player's six best scores count for the overall total, and McIntyre racked up points at Laurel, Woodbine, and Keeneland. Two of her three online scores came in NHCQualify events via DRF Tournaments, including her Dec. 17 win where she pretty much salted the title away.

The last weekend saw a flurry of activity on the leaderboard. In the end, Rick Broth claimed second place, and the $20,000 that goes with it. One-time leader Tony Zhou dipped to third but still takes home $15,000. Big scores on the final weekend of play also vaulted Kevin Costello ($10,000) and Joe Pettit ($7,500), the handicapping haberdasher, into the top five. The overall tour pays down to 20th. The top 40 finishers on the tour will compete in a contest-within-a-contest at the NHC where the winner will take home an additional $25,000.

Full standings can be accessed at https://www.ntra.com/nhc/leaders/.

Four other players aside from McIntyre won $10,000 for finishing in the top five of the second half of the tour season: Samuel Alipio, Kevin Costello, Tony Zhou and Bob Gilbert. Gilbert cashed $16,000 overall on the strength of a huge late run. He got the $5,000 for the second half, $5,000 for finishing 10th overall, and an additional $6,000 for the Cyberstars contest.

The Cyberstars event awarded points for the players who did best in NHCQualify online events. The overall winner there was George Chute, who takes home $10,000 plus a shot a $1 million bonus should he win the NHC itself. Between Chute, McIntyre, and Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge winner Joe Appelbaum (playing for a $3 million bonus), there will be three players amongst the approximately 650 at the NHC competing for seven-figure bonuses.

Pettit ($4,000) and Costello ($3,000) also cashed in the Cyberstars contest, along with Kevin Engelhard ($2,000).

Pete Dressens ($5,000) won the rookie tour, with Dan Zaretsky ($4,000), Richard Trobaugh ($3,000), Corey Hodskins ($2,000), and Steve Gould ($1,000) finishing in behind after the completion of the audit.

In the final bit of tour news, 41 players qualified for the NHC by finishing in the top 150 in the overall standings without having qualified directly. Kerry Bassore finished best of this group, in 23rd place overall. The full list of names can be tracked down via the leaderboard link above.

Weekend qualifiers

DRF Tournaments is running a double-header of qualifiers this weekend. Saturday’s event costs $300 and there will be one winning package for every 38 entries. Sunday’s contest costs $190 and there will be one winning package for every 60 entries. Up to four seats will be awarded each day and winners will also receive $1,000 in travel and a four-night hotel stay at Treasure island. Go to tournaments.drf.com to sign up.

Santa Anita is also hosting a live-bankroll tournament this weekend with a $500 buy-in. Players have a chance to win cash and seats to either this year’s NHC or get a jump to qualify for next year’s event. For more information, go to www.santaanita.com and click on “handicapping tournament.”

BCBC qualifying is back

The ever-popular two-stage qualifying format for the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge is back on DRF Tournaments. On Sunday, players can put up $100, finish in the top 10 percent, and advance to the finals on Sunday, Jan. 22, when up to eight $10,000 BCBC seats will be awarded. There will also be feeders for the Sunday event held on DRF Tournaments, starting for as little as $11. Start your journey to the $1 million BCBC this weekend, only at tournaments.drf.com.