With his triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) earlier this month, horse owner and breeder Joe Appelbaum is now eligible to take down the largest prize ever offered in the handicapping contest world – a $3 million bonus to the BCBC winner if they can also win January’s Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC).

The new $3 million NHC Tour Bonus ties together the two most prestigious handicapping contests – the $1 million BCBC and the $2.5 million (estimated) NHC, set for January 27-29, at Treasure Island Las Vegas.

Appelbaum, a 48-year-old Yale graduate based in New York City, clinched the BCBC with a $13,000 cold exacta of Arrogate over California Chrome in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, a wager that returned $64,000.

Appelbaum walked away from the BCBC with $364,000 (the $64,000 bankroll plus a $300,000 first prize) and first prize at the NHC is $800,000, meaning that successful completion of the $3 million NHC Tour double would be worth a total of $4.164 million.

“The $3 million obviously makes it that much more exciting but it would be premature to even think about that,” Appelbaum said. “I’m clear-headed enough to know the NHC is incredibly difficult to win. That’s a great, shiny prize but I just want to focus on putting myself in a position to do well and then I’ll worry about the bonus if I’m in it on Sunday.”

To learn more about Appelbaum, check out last week’s NHC Q&A on the NTRA website at http://ntra.kinsta.cloud/nhc-qa-joe-appelbaum.

Qualifying for NHC 18 continues through January in contests held on-site and online. For more information on the NHC Tour and a complete contest schedule, visit NTRA.com/nhc.

For more on the BCBC, visit www.breederscup.com/bcbc.

In its 18th year, the NHC 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 websites, each of which sends its top qualifiers to the national finals. There are no bye-ins to the NHC. 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.