Mark Streiff Wins Total of $102,250 as 2012 Daily Racing Form NHC Tour Champion; Becomes Eligible for $2 Million Bonus at January 25-26 NHC Finals in Las Vegas

Mark Streiff, a 56-year-old financial consultant from Mission Viejo, Calif., rode the strength of three wins and two second-place finishes to capture the 2012 crown as Daily Racing Form NHC Tour Champion and the $75,000 first-place prize that goes with it. Should Streiff capture the title later this month at the January 25-26 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) presented by Treasure Island and Sovereign Stable on January 25-26, he will receive a $2 million bonus in addition to that event’s first prize of $750,000.

In addition to the $75,000 Streiff earned for finishing atop the full-year leaderboard with 16,853 points, he won $7,250 for finishing third during the first half of the NHC Tour season and $10,000 for finishing second during the second half. And Streiff pocketed another $10,000 for being a multiple qualifying contest winner under a new NHC Tour incentive that paid repeat winners $5,000 for every win after their first (up to a maximum of three bonuses paid). His total winnings of $102,250 are the highest ever for an NHC Tour Champion.

Streiff earned NHC Tour points in 15 different qualifying tournaments during 2012, including live events at Surfside Race Place, Emerald Downs and Turfway Park. For scoring purposes, though, only a player’s top six scores count in the full-year standings. (A player’s top four scores count for half-year scoring purposes.) Christopher Larmey (13,995 points) of Kennewick, Wash., finished in second place on the full-year leaderboard, good for $15,000. Third was Mark McGuire (13,939) of Newbury Park, Calif., who won $10,000.

Prize money for the 2012 NHC Tour season totaled $295,000—more than double the 2011 total of $125,000. The top 10 finishers in the both the first-half and second-half standings received graduated cash prizes totaling $50,000 ($100,000 total for the two halves). And the top 20 players on the full-year leaderboard received cash prizes totaling $150,000, topped by Streiff’s $75,000. In addition, a total of nine $5,000 bonuses were paid to NHC Tour members in 2012 for repeat victories. 

“It was a long road,” said Streiff, who will be making his sixth career NHC appearance later this month.  “Counting multiple entries I had in certain tournaments, I played hundreds of contests during the year. The key for me was to stick with what works. Since I’m a numbers guy for a living, you would think that numbers would be my approach, but it isn’t. I’m left-handed, which means I’m right-brained and very visually-oriented. So I accentuate the watching of race replays, and I also watch post parades carefully.”

Should Streiff go on to win the NHC later this month at Treasure Island Las Vegas, he will be in line for a $2.75 million payday ($750,000 million grand prize plus $2 million bonus as NHC Tour winner).

“There will be some added pressure at Treasure Island,” said Streiff of the bonus for which he alone is eligible. “However, participating all year in the Tour—which I enjoy—helps keep me current with various connections and biases that may be in play at the NHC tracks in the Finals. Based on past history, I think if I can stay in the top 10% of the field after Day One, then I have a good chance to do very well.  If I’m not in the top 10% or top 50 players after the first day, then you can draw a line through the bonus!”

More than 4,500 NHC Tour members participated in 2012 handicapping qualifiers. Treasure Island will host a “Last Chance” qualifier on January 24 that will offer the final five berths for the January 25-26 NHC where approximately 465 contestants will compete for a first prize of $750,000 and a total estimated prize pool of $1.675 million, including cash and prizes.  (The Last Chance qualifier on January 24 will not award 2013 NHC Tour points.)

The NHC Tour is a yearlong bonus series offering additional prize money and qualifying berths to the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship. Tour members receive NHC Tour points for top finishes in NHC qualifying events held during the year. In addition to potential prize money and berths in the NHC, benefits for NHC Tour members include automatic enrollment in the Horseplayers’ Coalition. The Coalition seeks legislative and regulatory solutions to tax and business issues that impact pari-mutuel racetracks and their customers and provides grass roots support for the NTRA’s lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. Tour members also are automatically eligible to participate in NTRA Advantage, offering preferred pricing on products and services from leading suppliers, including John Deere, Sherwin-Williams, UPS, Valvoline and OfficeMax. Registration for the 2013 NHC Tour will begin shortly.

In its 14th year, the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship is the most important tournament of the year for horseplayers and is the culmination of a year-long series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments conducted by racetracks, casino race books, off-track betting facilities and horse racing and handicapping Web sites, each of which sends its top qualifiers to the national finals. Each year, the NHC winner joins other human and equine champions as an honoree at the Eclipse Awards. In addition to the founding title sponsor, the NHC is presented by Treasure Island Las Vegas and Sovereign Stable.

The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horse racing interests consisting of leading thoroughbred racetracks, owners, breeders, trainers, horseplayers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity of horse racing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on the NTRA web site, NTRA.com.

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