How many times qualified: 2
Name: Matthew Bickey Date of Birth: 1970 Occupation: Land Developer/Industrial Sales/Sometime Filmmaker Residence: Beckley, West Virginia Qualifying Site: Kentucky Downs 1. How did you first get into horse racing? I began college at Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky in 1988-89. I fell in love with Keeneland at first sight, on the very first Transylvania Stakes Day, and really got into the sport thanks to the great rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer. I had an uncle who was an astute handicapper and he is the one that really got me started being serious about the game. And of course, my brother George got very into horse racing about the same time I did, so it has been something we have shared for the better part of 20 years now. 2. How many times (and in which years) have you previously qualified for the DRF/NTRA NHC? This is my first time qualifying for the NHC, although I have been on the bubble in several tournaments. It was nice to secure a berth finally. 3. Where did you finish & what was your favorite NHC experience? N/A 4. What is your best finish in a handicapping tournament, and your largest tournament payout? I have won a number of online tournaments. I have twice finished in the top 10 at Keeneland’s summer and winter tournaments (sadly, now discontinued) and have now had top 5 finishes three times at Kentucky Downs. My largest payout has been in the $6,000 range. 5. What wager created the largest payout for you? Please elaborate on the circumstances. I hope this doesn’t jinx it, but I have hit the superfecta in the Breeder’s Cup Mile in each of the last five years. The biggest of those wins came in 2014 when my key horses, Karokontie and Summer Front, managed to snag first and fourth, respectively, keying a $9,300 dime super score. I also had the $330 exacta six times. I have been lucky enough to score several five-figure Pick 3 and Pick 4 scores over the years. 6. What is your most memorable horse racing experience? The first one that leaps to mind is a time I took my wife to Colonial Downs and we watched Paddy O’Prado win the Colonial Turf Cup. He had keyed a nice score for us in the Kentucky Derby that year, and it was something special to see him up close. He was all tricked-out and dappled and he just had such an otherworldly quality. It was awe-inspiring to be so near him, especially just after he won. It still makes me sad to think about his career ending prematurely. Even though it turned out to be American Pharoah’s year, I felt the same way about Carpe Diem after my brother George and I witnessed him winning the Tampa Bay Derby in 2015. Horse racing is always tied to family memories for me. It is wonderful in that way. 7. Do you have any hobbies, experiences or past accomplishments that others might find unique or interesting? I followed my father into his businesses, but before that happened, my father really empowered me to do things I loved. I studied literature and philosophy in college, minored in music, and then went on to get an advanced degree in film. I don’t get to use any of those skills as much lately as I would like, but every now and then I make a short film. It is my hope that one day my brother George, who is an actor and a very good one, and I can take off and make a feature film. We have a great many ideas. I’m sure horse racing will be involved somehow. 8. Does anyone else in your family share your enthusiasm as a horseplayer? Absolutely! My aforementioned brother George is one of the best horse players I know. He qualified for the 2010 NHC. The strange thing is we have very different methodologies. I am more of a hybrid player. I love to paper handicap first, looking for specific things that a computer can miss, and then integrate some things from a program called Betmix, as well as a couple of things from Brisnet’s All-Ways software. George is more of what I would call a visceral handicapper. He can stare into the form and find things I would never think of, take a look at the horse on track, and then nail a cap horse. Whenever it happens that we both land on the same horses, I bet them harder! My wife is also interested in handicapping and plyas with me on some NHC events, and once our kids are grown, I can see us roaming around the country playing tournaments on the weekends. Only one of my children has asked me to teach them about handicapping just yet...and it is my 10-year old daughter, Lucy. So, we all better watch out in another decade or so. 9. What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of? Without a doubt, it is my family. I have four children that inspire me everyday, and although I think I have been hard on them at times, I am proud of the people they are. We live in a cynical world, and just about the scariest thing I can think of is parenting because it evolves as they grow. My wife and I have always aimed to raise smart, positive, honest and, most-importantly, kind children. So far, things have been going well! 10. What would you do with the NHC grand prize if you won? Well, I would probably go make a film or two with my brother. Some college funds would be funded, as would some after-care programs for jockeys and horses. And I would probably play the Breeder’s Cup Mile superfecta on the $2 base for the next few years.