11/13/2007 12:00AM

NHC purse raised to $1 million

EmailDaily Racing Form and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association have increased the overall purse for the National Handicapping Championship to $1 million, with the winner receiving $500,000, the two organizations announced on Tuesday.

Last year, the total purse for the event - which is co-sponsored by DRF and the NTRA - was $837,000, with the winner's share at $400,000. This year's event, which will have a field of 275 contestants, will take place on Jan. 25-26 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas.

In addition to increasing the winner's share of the purse, payouts to other top finishers will be increased, and the top 30 finishers will receive a financial payout, compared with just 20 last year. Also, bonuses to the top finisher for each day of the tournament will also be increased, DRF and the NTRA said.

"This is a true milestone in the history of the National Handicapping Championship," said Keith Chamblin, the vice president of communications and industry relations for the NTRA. "The event has grown tremendously, in terms of both stature and prize money, since its inception."

First held in 2000, the National Handicapping Championship brings together the top three finishers from 90 handicapping tournaments held during the previous 12 months at racetracks, offtrack betting facilities, and casinos, and through handicapping and horse racing websites.

Also new this year, Red Rock casino will host a final qualifying contest during the week leading up to the final event, according to DRF and the NTRA. The contest will fill up the final five slots in the field, and proceeds from the entry fees will go into the purse for the National Handicapping Championship.

The championship tournament requires players to make 15 mythical $2 win and place wagers each day. All of the players must make bets in eight pre-selected races, but can scour the country for selections in the seven other races. Payoffs are capped at $42 to win and $22 to place.