After a five-year run at Bally’s, the prestigious Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) got off to a wonderful start at its new home at the Red Rock Resort and Casino Jan. 25-26.
The prestigious two-day tournament concluded with Las Vegan Richard Goodall winning NHC IX and with it the $500,000 first-place prize.
Jason McCormick, Race and Sports Book Director for Red Rock said it was a busy but extremely fulfilling time at his off-strip resort.
"This past weekend up here at Red Rock we held the National Thoroughbred Racing Association championships," he said. "And we held a ”˜Last Chance Qualifier’ tournament on Wednesday with the big championships on Friday and Saturday so this past weekend has been kind of a blur. We had about 500 people in the race and sports book between Wednesday and Saturday. You couldn’t ask for anything more."
The 277 contestants in NHC IX, which was held in the race book at Red Rock, made 15 mythical $2 win-and-place bets from eight mandatory horse races and seven other races which were selected by the contestant.
The 64-year-old Goodall finished with a total score of $272.30 to win the annual event, defeating second-place finisher Don Beardsworth ($194.30) of Peoria, Ariz. by $78, the largest margin of victory in NHC history. Beardsworth took home $150,000 for his second-place finish.
Roberta Cote ($194.00) finished third and netted $100,000 in prize money in a field that included 25 women. Albert Wong ($193.90) took fourth and earned $45,000 while Harry Seaman ($188.70) finished fifth and won $30,000 when all of the racing was done.
Red Rock’s McCormick said the NHC went very smoothly for its first year there and said his staff did everything possible to accommodate the contestants and their families including reconfiguring the race book to fit everyone involved and their supporters in."It went really fantastic, it was very smooth, everything ran great and the 277 contestants that we had here, I would guess that maybe 260 or so were outside the state of Nevada so it was really the first time for a lot of those people got to walk into Red Rock and they were really blown away," McCormick said.
"A lot of those people when they would visit (Las Vegas) they were Strip guests so to stay in a locals’ hotel and to get to stay in and see this resort — they were really pleasantly surprised. We’re really looking forward to holding it again next year."
Goodall, who was participating in his fifth NHC, had the second-highest score on each day of the contest and also received an automatic berth into next year’s NHC finals.
Goodall also posted the second-highest score in NHC history behind Steve Wolfson Jr. who put up a record score of $279.60 in NHC IV.
The NHC, which annually wraps up a series of handicapping contests from around the country, paid out a total of $1 million to the top 30 finishers this year and paid another $17,700 in prizes daily.