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NHC X Recaps

NHC Tour Kick-Off

By DAVE TULEY - Posted 03/07/08

On Saturday, March 1, the NTRA hosted the NHC Tour Kick-Off online tournament for those who became members of the Tour prior to the event.

As of that morning, 859 had paid the $125 to be members of the NHC Tour and 825 entered the freeroll tournament that awarded three berths in the 10th annual Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas on Jan. 23-24, 2009, plus Tour points to those who finished in the top 30.

Contestants made 10 mythical $2 win-and-place bets at ntra.com/nhctour on 10 races from Gulfstream and Santa Anita. Prices were capped at $42 to win and $22 to place.

Eric Kurzhal, 31, of South Bend, Ind., finished first with a score of $140.40. Kurzhal, who said he uses DRF and Thoroughgraph in his handicapping, tabbed Wine on the Porch in Santa Anita’s 11th race, the final race of the tournament to become an NHC qualifier for the second time after finishing 143rd this past January in NHC IX. Jamaal Barnett, 25, of Ontario, Canada, finished second with a score of $139.

Howard Hong, 43, of Phoenix, was the news of the tourney for finishing third with a score of $134.20, not because he’s the longtime TV commentator for Turf Paradise, but because he was fourth when the results were first posted. During the auditing process, it was discovered that the third-place finisher was actually a test entry that had been set up prior to the tournament to make sure things were running smoothly on the website. That is standard operating procedure, except that the test entry should have been deleted prior to the competition. Hong will be making his fifth NHC appearance.

* With qualifying events being worth a standard 3,500 NHC Tour points for winning an event, Kurzhal tied Autotote Sports Haven winner Joseph Perry atop the standings with 3,500 points apiece. Barnett is tied for third with Sam Darron, 49, of Elkton, Md., with 2,100 points; and Hong is tied for fifth with John Cappell, 60, of Westport, Conn., with 1,575 points.

Perry wins at Sports Haven, leads NHC Tour

By DAVE TULEY - Posted 03/07/08

The 12th annual Autotote Sports Haven Handicapping Challenge on Feb. 9-10 in New Haven, Conn., kicked off the qualifying tournaments for NHC X and the winner, Joseph Perry, 48, of Hamilton, N.J., took the early lead in the NHC Tour.

Official Tour entries were not taken at ntra.com/nhctour until Feb. 15, but Sports Haven participants were allowed to declare their intentions in order to earn Tour points, and 52 players did so, including Perry. In all, seven Tour members earned points

The entry fee was $300 with $50 to be used as the player’s live bankroll and $250 to the prize pool. Contestants played with $20 each day; win, place and show wagers only, with a minimum of 10 wagers each day. Wagers had to be a minimum of $2 each, one horse per race. There was also $10 in “wild card” wagers that could be played at any time either day.

Perry was at just $46.20 more than halfway through the second day when he put $44 on Clerpark in Gulfsteam’s seventh race. The winner paid $4.40 and, to borrow a poker term, Perry doubled up. After padding his bankroll, he went all-in with $105 on the appropriately named Payback in Tampa Bay Downs’ 11th race to net him $976.50. He added a $2 show bet on his final play to boosted his winning total to $980.70, which he got to keep in addition to first-place prize money of $25,200.

This was Perry’s fifth tournament win, including three at Delaware Park and one at Atlantic City Race Course, but the first time he has qualified for the NHC.

Sam Darron, 49, of Elkton, Md., finished second with a bankroll of $745.80 to earn $10,795. John Cappell, 60, of Westport, Conn., finished third with $614.60 and won $7,200. All three also earned NHC X berths, including airfare to Las Vegas and hotel accommodations.