LEXINGTON, KY (Friday, February 5, 2016) – The online road to the 2017 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC), presented by Racetrack Television Network and Treasure Island Las Vegas, officially kicks off Saturday when a guaranteed four NHC seats will be offered on NHCqualify.com, the official online qualifying site of the NHC. Saturday’s tournament will be the first online contest of the year to award NHC Tour points and the first to link directly to a new awards pool and a $1 million bonus tied to tournament play on NHCqualify.com in 2016.

The NHC Tour member accumulating the highest number of NHC Tour Points in 2016 via NHCqualify.com will receive $10,000 and be eligible to receive a $1 million bonus if she or he also wins NHC 18 in January 2017. In addition, any first time NHC Tour member will be eligible for a $10,000 bonus awarded to the “NHC Cyber Rookie of the Year.” The NHC Cyber Rookie of the Year will be the first-time Tour member who accumulates the highest number of NHC Tour points via NHCqualify.com.

Individuals must join the 2016 NHC Tour at www.ntra.com/membership/ to be eligible to win a spot to the NHC and to eligible for the bonus and awards pool.

The online road to the 2017 NHC begins just days after Paul Matties, 46, of Ballston Spa, N.Y., topped a field of 629 entries to win the $800,000 first-place prize and an Eclipse Award as Horseplayer of the Year at last weekend’s 17th annual NHC. The 2016  NHC and DRF NHC Tour offered record overall cash and prizes totaling $2,778,760.

About NHC

In its 18th 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 Racetrack Television Network and Treasure Island Las Vegas.

About the NTRA

The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development. The NTRA owns and manages the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, NTRA.com, the Eclipse Awards, the National Handicapping Championship, NTRA Advantage, a corporate partner sales and sponsorship program, and HORSE PAC, a federal political action committee. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on NTRA.com, Twitter (@ntra) and Facebook (facebook.com/1NTRA).