01/29/2011 5:14PM

NHC standings tighten after first three mandatory races on final day

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LAS VEGAS – The leader board has tightened up considerably at the 12th annual Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship at the Red Rock Resort.

Entering the day, Thomas Anderson of Burnsville, Minn., was leading with a score of $182 from the 15 mythical $2 win-and-place wagers that the 301 contestants in the $1.05 million tournament made Friday, and Ron Geary of Louisville, Ky., was in second place at $171.60 with a $63 gap to third place and the rest of the field.

However, in the scoring update after the day's third of eight mandatory races (the sixth race at Aqueduct), neither of the top two contestants had scored a point yet while Rickey Hurd of Lexington, Ky., had moved into third place at $166.90. Hurd, who qualified for the finals at Keeneland, was all the way back in 70th place after Day 1 of the two-day event with a score of $56.80.

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Prices are capped at $42 to win and $22 to place for scoring purposes ($64 max possible) and after the most recent scoring update there are now 15 players within a cap horse of the lead after Geary was the only one that close entering the day.

Geary, the owner of Ellis Park, qualified at Fairplex Park in September while Anderson qualified for his first NHC appearance at his home track of Canterbury Park in August.

The 301 contestants are competing for the $500,000 first-place prize and title of 2010 Handicapper of the Year. In all, the top 30 spots will cash.