LAS VEGAS, Nevada (February 6, 2020) –  Defending champion Scott Coles earned an additional seat to the 21st NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Presented by Racetrack Television Network, Caesars Entertainment and Bally’s as last year’s victor finished 11th overall in Thursday’s Last Chance/First Chance qualifier, hosted by Bally’s Las Vegas.

An NHC-eve fixture, the Last Chance/First Chance Contest offered a qualifying spot to NHC2020 for the top 10 places, provided they are a current NHC Tour member. One additional qualifying spot to the NHC was awarded for every 20 entries over the first 240 entries.

Coles, who last year became the youngest ever NHC winner at age 34, earned a second seat for this weekend’s tournament by notching 120.60 points and, in the process, burned off some early defending champion nerves.

“I think (playing Last Chance/First Chance) would have actually helped me last year too because I had never played in (the tournament) before….and I didn’t know where anything was,” Coles said. “I think today, especially since we had the venue change, having already played in the venue I think that will help going into tomorrow, because now there are no nerves about knowing where things are. It’s just sitting down and playing tomorrow. And now having a second entry I think will be a huge advantage.”

Including the Last Chance/First Chance, tournament officials determined the final field size and purse distribution for this weekend’s NHC. A total number of 694 entries will compete at this weekend’s NHC which will have a record final cash and prize distribution of $2,977,500 with a first-place prize total of $800,000.

In addition to guaranteed spots to this weekend’s NHC, Thursday’s contest also offered three spots to the 2021 NHC to individuals who already had won two qualifying spots into NHC 2020. The players who earned those berths were Thomas Blosser, John Gaspar, and Bob Engelhard.

The full list of Last Chance/First Chance qualifiers are:

Mike Odorisio, Jerald Stiele, Robert McIntyre, David Chenvert, Jim Sebes, Ronald Peltz, Randy Gallo, Coles, Frank Dambra, Chris Cennamo, Frank Foss, Kerry Bassore, Brad Anderson, Robert Gianquitti, Terry Jerge, Michael Marlaire, Ken Seeman, Michael Samples, Glenn Bechtel, and Rock Tocheri.

Draft Kings is the exclusive sponsor of the NHC Final Table. Official Partners of the 2020 NHC include STATS Race Lens, TVG, Daily Racing Form, Insurance Office of America (IOA), and NYRA Bets.