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The Notebook September 19, 2013

NHC News




Name: Darwin Labordo

Sierra Madre, Calif. (a stone's throw away from Santa Anita)

Occupation: Associate Vice President - Finance and Admin. Services

Favorite Track: Santa Anita, of course

Favorite Wager: Win, Exacta, pick four

Qualifying Site: Derby Wars

How did you first get into horse racing?  When I was working on my MBA at the Anderson School of UCLA, I did a paper in the Random Walk Theory and compared picking stocks with picking winning horses. There was no statistical difference, they were both random activities. But I got fascinated with horse racing in the process.

How many times have you previously qualified for the DRF/NTRA NHC? I have qualified four consecutive years since I started participating in the qualifiers.

What is your best finish in a handicapping tournament, and what is your largest tournament payout? Two years ago I finished third in the NHC, overshadowed by all the publicity of the winner beating the runner-up by $1. I was on the airport shuttle to McCarran when the last race ran. My last race was in Santa Anita, Smoking G coming down the downhill turf course with the apprentice allowance. I was viewing the race from my iPhone with the whole bus cheering me on. 

What wager created the largest payout for you? I have won several pick fours, mostly at Santa Anita. I once hit five out of six in a pick six betting from an internet cafe in Manila, Philippines! The horse I missed on finished a close second. It could have been a significant win and I could have been on the next plane to L.A. 

What is your most memorable horse racing experience? There are many, of course.  I saw Affirmed race several times. Years later, I got to chat with Steve Cauthen, who was a guest in a tournament. Seattle Slew was awesome to watch in the flesh, John Henry and others. I once ran in to Bud Delp and Ronnie Franklin in the IHOP in Arcadia, Mike Smith behind me in the local liquor store buying a Form, Laffit Pincay in a grocery store, etc.  The little things that touch your life.

Do you have any interesting hobbies, experiences or past accomplishments that others might find unique or interesting?  I collect rare books on Western Americana, from Lewis and Clark expedition all the way to the turn of the century. The cattle industry, cowboys, outlaws, sheriffs and gunfighters fascinate me.

Does anyone else in your family share your enthusiasm as a horseplayer? Yes, my son, Thomas, and my daughter, Marlyse, are accomplished handicappers in their own right.  Their approaches are very different from mine, but I guess we all get to the same end point.

What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?  I am proud of having a loving and happy family and raising a son and two daughters that are well-grounded and pursuing successful careers.

What would you do with the NHC grand prize if you won? First, I would let out the biggest yell which could be heard from coast to coast. Then I would just savor the win, regardless of the money. I am not a compulsive or big spender, so the winnings will get invested while I figure out what to do. Family will get a share and I would donate to causes I believe in.


The final DRF NHC Tour free online contest will be held on Saturday, October 5. This free contest will award five 2014 NHC berths, including a four-night complimentary stay at Treasure Island Las Vegas and a flight reimbursement up to $400.  Registration details coming soon.

SEPTEMBER NHC CONTESTS – Sept. 21, 22, 28 & 29 - Sept. 21, 22 & 29 - Sept. 28

$100,000 First-Place Guaranteed Players Challenge - Sept. 20-21

Arlington OTB - Sept. 21-22

DRF Bets - Sept. 28 - Details coming soon.

NEW!  Santa Anita - Sept. 28

Surfside Race Place October tournaments have been canceled.


James Amedure, of Brooklyn, NY, finished first in the NHC Tour Free Online Challenge on Saturday, September 7.  James, along with Glenn Cunningham (Fishers, IN), Edward Lambert (Clark, NJ), Jerry Wisneski (East Berlin, CT) and Phil Hoedebeck (Wichita Falls, TX) earned berths into the $1.5 million Guaranteed Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship presented by Sovereign Stable and Treasure Island this past Saturday on

Click here for complete Tour point totals by event.


Click here
for the current 2013-2014 NHC Tour schedule.

Click here for an alphabetical list of current 2013 NHC qualifiers.

Click here for the overall 2013 DRF NHC Tour Leader Board.

Click here to join the 2013 DRF NHC Tour.

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