The 18th annual National Handicapping Championship takes place this weekend at Treasure Island in Las Vegas. More than $2.5 million in prize money will be paid with $800,000 going to the champion handicapper. The event has come a long way since its origins when the grand prize was $100,000 and there were just 150 players. What was a two-day event is now three, and the prize money is life-altering with more than 500 berths and players allowed a maximum of two entries. What has not changed is that the only way to play in NHC is to win an entry through an on-track or online contest.
Canterbury Park has been sending players to this event since year one. The Dog Days of Summer Tournament has sent two players each year. Bruce Meyer finished second last September in the longest-running live bankroll contest to earn his berth and will be making his second appearance at NHC. The Dog Days winner was Mark Strieff of California. Two more berths were awarded at Canterbury in the NHC Ultimate. Charlie Davis of Seattle was the winner and Kristi Shoop of Fridley, Minn was second. A contest in June 2016 also generated two NHC players, both from Minnesota: Matt Kasowicz and Robin Burns.
Play begins Friday. On the first two days of NHC, players make 18 mythical $2 win-place bets daily. Eight of those plays are on pre-selected races determined by NHC officials and are mandatory for all players. The other races are player chosen from races at Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, Golden Gate, Gulfstream, Laurel Park, Oaklawn Park, Santa Anita, and Tampa Bay.
Price caps are set at 20-1 ($42) for win and 10-1 ($22) for place.
The top 10 percent of players move on to the Sunday championship round. Those players have 10 optional bets and the top 10 from that group go to the final table. In all cases bankrolls carry forward.
While this list may not be exhaustive, there are at least 13 players, listed below, calling Minnesota home.
Mike Ferrozzo – made the final table in 2015.