LAS VEGAS, Nevada (February 4, 2020) – Roger Cettina, the only player to finish second twice in the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), and 2008 NHC champion Richard Goodall have been selected for induction into the NHC Hall of Fame, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today.
Goodall and Cettina represent the sixth class of NHC Hall of Fame inductees and will be recognized during the NHC Champions Dinner on Sunday evening at the conclusion of the 21st NTRA National Horseplayers Championship Presented by Racetrack Television Network, Caesars Entertainment and Bally’s, set for February 7-9 at Bally’s Las Vegas. Since its launch in 2014, the NHC Hall of Fame has inducted two impact figures each season, making Goodall and Cettina the Hall’s eleventh and twelve members.
Known as one of the most consistent players on the NHC Tour, Cettina has flirted with the tournament’s ultimate prize – including his runner-up outing in 2013 where he came up just $1.20 short behind NHC winner Jim Benes. The Rumson, N.J. native has cashed three times at the NHC while accumulating $460,300 in earnings and has finished in the top 20 of the NHC Tour in three of the last five years.
“It’s pretty exciting actually. I was surprised,” Cettina, who also finished second in the 2016 NHC, said of his Hall of Fame selection. “I knew I was nominated because a couple people I know actually voted. But it’s a great honor. It really is.”
The 53-year-old Cettina estimates he’s been handicapping “since I was 19 or 20” and often takes the time-consuming approach of pouring over ever race at every track in search of the best value plays. Like many who have found the NHC Tour, Cettina has come to view the circuit both as a mental challenge and social haven – and can regularly be found working the contests alongside good friend Frank Sorenson, himself a nine-time NHC qualifier.
“You can meet a lot of great people. It’s a good scene, it really is,” said Cettina, who will be playing the NHC for the 11th time this year. “The first contest that really appeared was down at Delaware Park many, many years ago. That’s the first one I went to and I just really got hooked on it.”
Handicapping has also been part of Goodall’s routine for decades, a skillset the retired attorney flaunted in 2008 when he captured the NHC title by a record-setting margin of victory of $78. In addition to the distinction of being a former champion, Goodall is also half of one of the great power couples in NHC history. His wife, Sally, is an 18-time NHC qualifier and the duo proudly makes the NHC their annual focal point.
“It’s validating,” Goodall said of being voted into the Hall of Fame. “My wife and I have made this the centerpiece basically of our travel plans for the last 20 years and we’ve just had a wonderful ride. Winning was of course wonderful and awesome and this is sort of the cherry on top of the cake. It’s great. We really do plan our entire life around it. Basically if I had one word to sum it all up, it would be fun.”
When Goodall captured the ninth edition NHC in runaway fashion, he actually scored the first of what would be two life-altering triumphs that season.
“One thing that people sometimes forget is the year I won in 2008, on that Friday I finished second. But what I also did on that Friday was miss my cancer treatment,” said the Las Vegas resident, who will be playing the NHC for the 17th time this week. “I missed my radiation treatment for cancer. So I won two battles that year – proving once again that handicappers are crazy.
“For us, it’s much more than a contest. It’s like a social event. To be honest, the contest – I won’t say it’s secondary, but the social side of it is at least equal. So we just enjoy it. There is no other way to say it. We just enjoy the whole process.”
Cettina and Goodall join Bryan Wagner and Trey Stiles (2019), Chris Larmey and Steve Wolfson Jr. (2018), Paul Shurman and Steve Wolfson, Sr. (2017), Steve Crist and Judy Wagner (2016), and Mike Mayo and Ron Rippey (2015) as Hall of Fame inductees. The honorees are chosen by the NHC Players Committee, past NHC and NHC Tour winners and tournament directors from racetracks that host NHC qualifiers.
The main criteria for the NHC Hall of Fame are as follows:
· Competed in NHC-sanctioned tournaments;
· Played consistently well over an extended period of time;
· Gained the respect of peers;
· And, contributed to the overall growth and success of NHC tournament play, with indelible positive and lasting results.
Draft Kings is the exclusive sponsor of the NHC Final Table. Official Partners of the 2020 NHC include Daily Racing Form, TVG, Insurance Office of America (IOA), and NYRA Bets.
To sign up for the NHC Tour, go to www.ntra.com/membership.