DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship

$100 winner helps propel Arsenault to top of National Handicapping Championship leader board

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$100 winner helps propel Arsenault to top of NHC leader board

Ray Arsenault of Thornhill, Ontario, leads the National Handicapping Championship after Day 2 – moving day – at Treasure Island in Las Vegas. Arsenault found four double-digit winners Saturday – including a $100 winner in Gulfstream Park’s fourth (worth the maximum $64 for contest scoring) – to vault himself atop the standings with a mythical bankroll of $289.50 entering the semifinal round of the three-day tournament. The barrage of longshots also gave Arsenault the highest Day 2 total, netting him a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seat.

Retired firefighter leads after Day 1 of National Handicapping Championship

Pat Nufrio is the leader at the 2017 National Handicapping Championship, the world’s richest handicapping contest. He finished with a $188.70 bankroll at the end of the first day of the three-day tournament at Treasure Island in Las Vegas.

Nufrio, 56, collected points in 10 of the 18 races on Day 1, cashing for more than $20 five times and further boosting his bankroll in the other five races he hit. As Day 1 leader, Nufrio earned a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge berth worth $10,000.

NHC Hall of Fame adding two very deserving names

Two names will be added to the National Handicapping Championship Hall of Fame on Sunday night in Las Vegas, and they could hardly be more deserving: Paul Shurman and Steve Wolfson Sr.

Shurman is a 15-time NHC qualifier who has finished in the top 10 on three occasions. According to an article in American Turf Monthly, Shurman has netted $220,000 in NHC play – 14th on the all-time money list – and has accrued a score of $1,583.20 throughout his NHC play, second all time behind the current betting favorite for this year’s NHC, David Gutfreund.

‘Philly Joe' takes aim at NHC for first time

It’s standard advice to never gamble against a man who has the same first name as a city. If that’s true, then the field for the 2017 National Handicapping Championship had better beware of Philly Joe.

Philly Joe, 36, born Joseph Metka, was indeed born and raised in Philadelphia. He qualified for the NHC for the first time last weekend in a DRF Tournaments contest (note: Sunday is the final opportunity to qualify online for the 2017 event).

Useful advice for first-year players in the National Handicapping Championship

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Useful advice for first-year players in National Handicapping Championship

The window to qualify for the National Handicapping Championship via DRF Tournaments is halfway gone. With the holidays over the next two weekends, opportunities to qualify before the end of the year are limited, though there is a $300 buy-in contest on Dec. 31. Horseplayers looking for action over the holidays should also note there is a full slate of feeders on Monday, the traditional opening day for Santa Anita’s winter meeting.

Nolan made right move by playing against a winning heavy favorite

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Nolan made right move by playing against a winning heavy favorite

Sean Nolan has one of the best records in the history of the National Handicapping Championship, with three top-20 finishes in the last 10 years. He has qualified 11 times overall and is on a streak of seven in a row. Last Saturday, he earned his second qualification for 2017 in a DRF Tournaments contest.

Skiba's huge exacta hit on last race wins Conquer the Crown

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Skiba's huge exacta hit on last race wins Conquer the Crown

Garett Skiba won the Conquer the Crown contest Saturday on the opening day of Gulfstream Park’s championship meet. Skiba earned a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seat plus an additional $14,500, including a BCBC travel award.

Tournaments serve as fresh challenge for Appelbaum

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Tournaments serve as fresh challenge for Appelbaum

Last weekend, New Yorker Joseph Appelbaum won the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, netting $364,000. Appelbaum, 48, runs Off the Hook Stables, a racing and breeding operation located in Ocala, Fla. Daily Racing Form caught up with him in the aftermath of his big win.

How long have you been a racing fan and how did you get into it?

I have been a fan and handicapper since I was a teenager, which, sad to say, was in the mid-80s. I had a group of college-aged friends and they would bring me to Saratoga as we were working at a summer camp close by.

Fornatale: Florida man reaches NHC for free

Daniel DePonte, a 36-year-old risk manager who lives in Jupiter, Fla., will be heading to the National Handicapping Championship for the first time come January, courtesy of the free NTRA tournament held last weekend on DRF Tournaments.

Fornatale: Girlfriend gets sick at just the right time for NHC qualifier

Luck takes many forms in horse racing, both on the racetrack and in our handicapping. Dominick Capobianco, 54, knows a little something about luck after last weekend.

The FileMaker database developer (a fancy title for a computer programmer) wasn’t supposed to be at home playing in a contest last Saturday. But due to a little luck, the longtime racing fan is now headed to the National Handicapping Championship for the first time.

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