01/30/2016 10:14PM

Paul Matties outperforms brother to win National Handicapping Championship


The 17th Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship is in the books. Paul Matties of Ballston Spa, N.Y., topped a field of 629 entries to win the $800,000 first-place prize and an Eclipse Award as Horseplayer of the Year at Treasure Island Las Vegas.

The NHC offered record overall cash and prizes totaling $2,778,760, including the money awarded for the NHC Tour.

Matties’s  brother, Duke, finished fourth, and for a long time it looked like the brothers might hit the exacta in the contest. Their father, Chick Matties, a contest-playing veteran himself, was as pleased as could be after the tournament.

“It’s better than winning myself,” he said, “and they really deserve it because there’s nobody that works any harder than they do at the game.”

 Paul Matties, 46, amassed a winning score of  $399.50 over the three-day tournament from 53 mythical $2 win and place bets – 18 each on Thursday and Friday, 10 in Saturday morning’s semifinal round, and seven in the dramatic Final Table contest exclusive to the overall top 10.

Matties first assumed the lead during the semifinals round with a $47 winner, R B Rainbow Dash, in the sixth race from Tampa Bay Downs. Coupled with the $17.20 place money, the $59.20 added to his bankroll boosted Matties from third to first.

 “I was down to two horses and my brother Duke and I watched the replay three times and I switched from the six to the seven,” he said.

 Matties maintained his lead throughout the Final Table round. In the seven mandatory races at the end he cashed in two of them – Risetotheoccasion ($17.60 to win, $5.40 to place) in Oaklawn’s seventh and Sevens ($8.40 to place) in Gulfstream Park’s 12th. 

“Horseplayers always think they’re smarter and better than everybody else so to beat all the smartest people in the world, what an honor,”  Matties said.

 Paul Matties is the older of the Matties brothers by three years. They have another brother, Gregg Matties, a trainer in New York.

 “My brother Duke’s the greatest,” Paul Matties said. “He was rooting for me more than he was rooting for himself the whole time. I’ve never seen him so nervous.”

Matties likes to say he took his first steps at the Great Barrington Fair meet in western Massachusetts. He’s the father of three sons, one of whom, Wynn, is autistic. 

“Nothing has been more satisfying than to witness and help my oldest son to become one of the kindest and sweetest people you would ever want to meet,” he said.

 Matties has made handicapping his career, first calculating speed figures for Andy Beyer Associates and later as a professional player. By virtue of his victory, Matties also automatically earns an exemption into next year’s NHC finals.

 Roger Cettina of Rumson, N.J., finished second with $389.10, good for $250,000, as well as a $25,000 bonus and berth into next year’s NHC as the highest finisher among the 2015 NHC Tour top 20. Cettina takes a big jump up the career earnings list at the NHC – he now owns two second-place finishes at racing’s most prestigious contest.”

“I went for the win the whole time. I absolutely did,” he said. “I didn’t even look at the sheet to see what each position paid. I didn’t even know I got 250 for second until my friend Frank told me.”

Cettina also won $25,000 for the top 20 tournament, based  on his 14th place finish on the NHC Tour. As he was after his heartbreaking defeat in 2013, Cettina looked at the glass and saw it half full. “It’s 275 more than I came in with,” he said, “And I’ll be back.”

Cettina was followed by 36-year-old Charlie Davis of Tennessee ($340.60 final bankroll; $125,000 prize) in third with Duke Matties ($337.30; $100,000) fourth. 

“I’m thrilled for him,” said Duke Matties, referring to his brother. “Every time I thought I could catch him then he hit something else. I wasn’t playing for second or third, I was playing for first.”

Stanley Bavlish was attempting to become the first two-time NHC winner but checked in ninth. The 2001 NHC hero Brian Troop’s eighth-place finish last year remains the highest ever by a former champion.

 In the NHC Future Wager offered by Treasure Island, Matties closed at 25-1, returning $52 on a $2 wager.

 The NHC 17 finals awarded cash prizes to the top 63 finishers (the top 10 percent overall) from a total purse of $2,304,760. An additional $50,000 went to the top 20 in Saturday’s Consolation Tournament. Including $250,000 paid out to top finishers in the year-long NHC Tour, a $100 TI casino chip for every entrant, NHC Tour travel awards, RTN subscriptions and the $10,000 charity tournament prize, plus $30,000 worth of Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entries, the aggregate value of payouts this weekend in NHC cash and prizes totaled a record $2,778,760.

2016 NHC final top 10

1 Paul Matties $399.50 $800,000 (and Eclipse Award for Horseplayer of the Year)
2 Roger Cettina $389.10 $250,000
3 Charlie Davis $340.60 $125,000
4 Duke Matties $337.30 $100,000
5 David Gutfreund $331.80 $75,000
6 Joe Perry $319.40 $65,000
7 Peter Deys $307.80 $59,000
8 Ernie Powers $304.90 $54,000
9 Stanley Bavlish $284.20 $52,000
10 Mark Richards $283.20 $50,000


Duke Matties More than 1 year ago
Congrats to my brother Paul for an extraordinary performance in the NHC Takes a lot to impress me but what he did this weekend was incredible. Congrats to all who made the final table and in fact everyone that made it to The NHC.Cant wait for next year. See everyone there
Steve Kendall More than 1 year ago
Ok First off all I said was that they were probably on a team just like everybody else there, that this is a team tournament as seen on TV in show horseplayers. To the guy saying they had the same pick at Final table, yeah it was probably a 20to1 shot in 5 horse field and everyone had the same pick because with 3 races left everyone picks the longest shot because they are chasing money, not handicapping. I guess it is the tourneys format fault for allowing people to collaborate on their picks and I just don't see it as a true handicapping contest. How many times are you at the track and say I am $80 behind this guy so I have to pick 20 to 1's, that's not handicapping that's money chasing. You want a real handicapping tourney why not go without a leaderboard then you have no idea what place you are in or what longshot puts you back in play towards the top of leaderboard. Imagine a Final table where nobody knows who is in front or behind, and then let the real Handicapping begin. Or go total isolation, Big Brother, Jury Duty style where you have to stay in your room and make selections with no contact from outside world and you have to do everything yourself. Now you can still cheat your way there with all your entries and partnerships but when you are there it's all you. To me it's just WACK and not a true championship.
Duke Matties More than 1 year ago
cant believe im going to waste my time again to answer this nonsense again, but why don't u look at what the race was that we had the same horse before u reply and stop making yourself look like the fool u arel.I will help u.look at saturday oaklawn race7(12 horses) please don't reply again unless u agree to my challenge 25 dime side bet u and me in suite at santa anita any track running that day that they take wagers on 1000 a race of our own money 20 races keep your bankroll no cell phone no other person in suite put up or shut up
Steve Kendall More than 1 year ago
I don't believe I have to waste my time again also on this matter. Look I am not out looking for a match-up or stating I am better than anyone else. Don't need to compare myself I already know where I stack up in tournaments. If any of you were in xp showdown years ago, then you were looking at my name for awhile, until Belmont moved post up and I missed the race. Just saying those tourney formats are not true handicapping, it's scoreboard watching and multi-entries. Why does everyone have to know everybody's scores, it's watch the scoreboard, bet accordingly. A good tourney format would be to have BLIND scoring and you keep your own score. You get your name called if you advance, and when you get to final table nobody knows anybody's score. Now that's exciting and REAL handicapping. Good day to you sir
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
I'm sure Duke would be willing to amend his challenge to include no leaderboard. Prove that you're not just a "last word" type by either a) agreeing to it or b) vacating this thread. A response other than these two will say a lot about your character.
Steve Kendall More than 1 year ago
Hey Peter , I said just about everything I feel l about your multi-entries scoreboard watcher tournaments they are pure garbage. Watching scoreboard, co mingling entries with your partners as seen on TV. A real tournament would be Blind Scoring where you don't know who has what amount and then real handicapping comes into play. I'm not looking for a match as stated before. The only person I need to compare myself to is myself. Just don't know how these silly tournaments when you buy 10 entries for yourself makes you handicapper of the year, or receives the attention that they do. They are silly and WACK, with what you see on television, try the BCBC contest is a little more real than this tourney. Now go and hang out with your mediocre, awful, tv commentator friend Bernier.
Steve Kendall More than 1 year ago
I have already been through this with you before on multi entries, and I know it's in your book it doesn't guarantee anything but it doesn't hurt either when you score points every race of the first four of nine races, putting you in contention for the last races. Maybe if the pp page was up first I wouldn't have to read your garbage articles because I try not to, but just happened to read this one, and saw the comment they were trying to beat each other. So I commented, from what I seen go on TV, and what I have experienced in computer tourneys. Nice article also on Gregg being banned from Belmont for wagers being made by family members. Shady the whole tournament scene is all shady. BCBC final tourney is a real tourney. Good day to you Peter I have said all there is to say on the matter. I'll post and thread whatever I want also. Sorry to wedge everyone's undergarments.
jtim11 More than 1 year ago
I love when all people everywhere,comment. smart,dumb,delusional,or psychotic. That way I can know what to value and what to laugh at. As far as the world class performances from Paul and Duke, players should congratulate and then take the performances and use it as motivational fuel to work harder ,in the handicapping foundations you value to be a winning player, and maybe just maybe, compete at the highest level in this sport. And the next time when you try to sully, a jordan esk madison square garden "double nickel" type championship performance. use that time more wisely and put in the blood and treasure it takes to elevate to rare air. Because the MJ who was at TI this weekend in the form of DM has not only been thru battles, but he's been thru wars in this handicapping game. and as history has shown us since medieval times, warriors win wars, and complainers perish on the battle field. JT
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
At this point I'm forced to comment yet again on this matter. Why is it in today's online world if anyone has a differing opinion than others, folks tend to get over defensive and jump to conclusions not only untrue, but not even connected to reality. First off, if any of you knew me, you'd know that I know what i'm talking about. Not only have I been involved in this sport my entire life, I've succeeded. I was born in 1963 and because of my Father I've been involved since birth. It doesn't really matter who I am, the point is I never said anything bad about the winner's of this tournament. Some have suggested that I"m jealous. Of what? I wasn't in any tournaments, let alone this one, and someone of course would be a winner. Why in the world would I be jealous? Someone would win....so, I'm jealous of whoever? That's just silly. I gave props to the winner. More power to him. I just know how the game is played and all I did was agree with a comment. And guess what? It's the truth. That's why so many got so upset. Oh, that's right I don't know what I'm doing. Yet, the one summer I did a track a favor and volunteered to be the track handicapper....in that 3 month time period ON camera , DOCUMENTED on film and by many I selected all 9 winners on the card....and i did it twice......Oh, and for you chalk players one of the horses paid 23.00. Yes, no big deal you say. Well you do it on camera. Oh, that summer was Big Brown's Belmont and my pick for that race was Da Tara, because that day Belmont had a speed favoring rail and I thought he was the only speed in the race. I guess I'm an idiot. Ha. Ok, that race was lucky, I'll admit it. But, truth is I do know what I'm doing. Am I the best. Who knows. I think so...LOL. But, you probably think you are. LOL. Welcome to horse racing. So, I apologize if I hurt any of your liberal feelings.....NOT. I notice the only one with guts enough to challenge me was John. And I accepted and he and I will have fun, one on one. Now, do I think he has a shot....well, no I don't....but, truth is who knows....it is horse racing...LOL. But, it'll be fun to see. We'll let you all know. So, congrats to the winners. Win or lose, I do love this sport. I can tell you you'd be surprised how bad the so called experts are in this sport. All you have to do is read some of these articles or watch TVG to see these guys are all losing players. So, comment all you want. Disagree with the truth if you want. You can disagree with me or anyone. But, this I know the best players out there most of you don't know.
Duke Matties More than 1 year ago
U agreed to something u have no idea was true or false U want to comment on anything about this tournament get the facts first Stop pretending to be somebody
Dahorsecapper More than 1 year ago
I challenged you on April 8th , 2015 on this very site in Peter's article ( Why I Will Never Wish a Handicapper Good Luck ) to join the Ntra tour, go on Bcbcqualify.com, Drfqualify.com and more. You did not. You keep on saying your a pro, you picked some winners at Yavapi Down's etc. Your a nobody in the contest world so stop pretending your the best and writing that nobody know's who the best handicappers are . Your a loud mouth who sits upstairs at Turf Paradise and that is your claim to fame so far. Join the tour ( it's only $ 50 and your a winner so you can afford it ) and start playing and lets see your name at the top of the standings. BCBC qualify has a feeder this weekend for $21 . Lets see what you got. Otherwise respect these great handicappers and stop saying they have no clue. Your the one who has no clue.
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
Are you so naive to think that handicapping a smaller track means it's easier to sweep the card? You are a joke.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
First off you never challenged me. You might be talking about the other Frank on here, who by the way, I always disagree with. 2nd off...it's true...it was at Yavapai Downs...which is funny, because the guy below on here thinks that's funny. This I don't understand. Does handicapping at a lower level track mean it's easier to pick winners or harder? LOL. I'd say the latter , but who knows. True I live in Arizona. But, I don't claim to have fame. I don't want it. And for Duke above,........I never said these guys have no clue...that's just silly. Truth is Dahorsecrapper.....if you know enough about me that I'm in Arizona...then you know who I am and that I do know what I'm talking about. I've thought about tournaments in the past, but the truth is what I do is successful in the horse racing world. I don't need to change what works. Truth is because I've been blessed, I've never felt the need to change it. And I won't. No need to.
Mark Mcguire More than 1 year ago
I grew up in the early 70's there was not internet ,therefore if you wanted to draw attention to yourself ,you couldn't just make some outlandish statement in a blog. You, had to be more creative back then there was a big craze running around naked in public. They called this streaking....... I was non competitive this weekend .I watched countless hours of relays & strained my eyes over pp's till the wee hour in the morning ..maybe that's why I was in awe of those 10 handicappers at the final table, just like when I was as a kid watching M.j.take over every bulls game .It was a pleasure to watch & I for one am proud to have been a part of the tournament.. P.S....Pete could you please tell Steve & frank ..they can put there clothes back on .!!!!!
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
rberto64 More than 1 year ago
I heard these guys are a part of rebate shop is that legal is this true
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
Rebate shops are legal, yes.
Joe Koury More than 1 year ago
A huge CONGRATULATIONS to Paul, Roger, Charlie, Duke, Dave, Joe, Peter, Ernie, Stanley and Mark!! I have had the great pleasure of getting to know most these great players over the years. To a man, they work very hard to develop their edge, just as many of us do to compete in the parimutuel pools every day. For anyone to suggest that this contest could be won by virtue of nefarious inside information is ludicrous. Look at the scores. This contest isn't won by virtue of hitting a few races at 1 or 2 tracks. To amass $400 on 53 races at 7 tracks requires hitting on average 10 winners at a $40 payoff. Considering only 13 horses over the 3 days even paid $40, it suggests that it required even more winners at a lower average payoff. My point is, the final table finishers got there through hard work, great handicapping, skillful contest play, and, yes, putting themselves in a position to get lucky. Clearly, some are not willing to work as hard to compete at the top level and are jealous of those that do. Thankfully, they continue to participate at the windows. Congratulations again Paul. I couldn't be happier for your success. Joe Koury
Dahorsecapper More than 1 year ago
Congrats to all who competed and the winner Paul Matties and tour year long winner Kinchen. Ignore a nobody like Frank Reach and others. They can't pick a winner . ive asked Frank Reach to join the tour for 1 year now and play on nhcqualify, bcbcqualify, horsetourneys and more. He won't because he does not have the guts or the skill.
Steve Kendall More than 1 year ago
Don't blame him cause it's crud ..... check post 3 down ripoffs cheaters
John Nichols More than 1 year ago
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
First off , you never asked any such thing. 2nd off, put up or shut up.
John Nichols More than 1 year ago
How about this weekend at GP and I asked in apost further down
John Nichols More than 1 year ago
I asked Steve in the Nick Tammaro post below and recieved nothing
NTamm1215 More than 1 year ago
The stench of jealousy far surpasses any other. Incredible work by Paul and Duke. Fortunately, the insults and buffoonery of the cyber experts will have no effect on them or this tremendous accomplishment. Keep on keepin' on trolls...
Steve Kendall More than 1 year ago
Not jealousy just stating facts Nick Tammabro ... your selections are horrible also don't know how you got that job. Oh wait let me guess your daddy works for someone or got you your job picking nags. Keep on keepin on Bro!!! with your lame selections
Steve Kendall More than 1 year ago
Only thing jealous of is a fair tournament where it's one against one that's all ... Not 5 or 10 entries against my one that's all
John Nichols More than 1 year ago
Head to head me in locked and loaded on Derby wars this Saturday for 799 then?
eric_bialek More than 1 year ago
Reading these comments make me think that there will be a lot of head to head games coming up. Winning the NHC and other tournaments requires much more than inside information, it requires skill, smart betting, and having an edge over others. The Matties brothers do the work required to give themselves that edge and win tournaments and at the windows. Congrats to Paul, the Matties clan, and Marvin!