01/30/2010 12:00AM

Troop maintaining NHC lead

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LAS VEGAS No news is good news for Brian Troop.

An hour has passed since the last scoring update with none of the contestants within striking distance of the leader of the 11th annual Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship making any significant moves.

Troop, 61, of Barrie, Ontario, remains at $248.80 after the fourth mandatory race of the day, the seventh at Gulfstream. Russell Weber of Amityville, N.Y., who had $216.20 after the second mandatory race of the day had only increased his score to $223.60 while Robert Gregory of Durango, Colo., who was at $200.80 is now up to $211.20.

The field of 300 horseplayers, who earned their spots in the NHC XI final through a series of qualifying tournaments, make 15 mythical $2 win-and-place wagers on each day of the two-day tournament. Eight of the races each day are mandatory and the other seven are player s choice. The contest tracks are Aqueduct, Laurel, Gulfstream, Fair Grounds, Oaklawn, Golden Gate, and Santa Anita. However, Laurel and Oaklawn canceled racing Saturday and Aqueduct only ran three races before canceling well.

Troop entered the day at $232.60 as he shattered the Day 1 record of $190 set by Gwyn Houston of Fallston, Md., way back in NHC II.

Troop earned his seat to NHC XI at Turfway Park on Dec. 6 when he finished in fourth place. He earned an invitation to the NHC because two players ahead of him had already qualified. Ricky Hurd of Lexington, Ky., who was fifth after Day 1 also qualified in that same Turfway tourney.

Weber made the field at NHCqualify.com and Gregory made it through TwinSpires.com.