Jonathon Kinchen of Austin, Texas, won four National Handicapping Championship (NHC) qualifying contests in his first full year of play and earned 19,026 points overall to win the 2015 Daily Racing Form NHC Tour, which ended Sunday following a three-day tournament at Del Mar’s Surfside Race Place. As 2015 NHC Tour champion, Kinchen earned $75,000 and an automatic berth to NHC 18 in 2017.
Defending NHC Tour champion Eric Moomey of Michigan finished second with 16,626 points, followed by Joe Jarvie of Renton, Wash., with 16,418.
NHC Tour standings are determined by totaling a player’s top six scores from eligible qualifying events (including at least one live, on-site event).
Kinchen, a 33-year-old (b. July 1, 1982) realtor who has taken the contest world by storm since playing his first tournament less than two years ago, is now eligible for a $2 million bonus should he go on to win the 17th Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) Presented by Racetrack Television Network and Treasure Island Las Vegas, set for Jan. 28-30 at Treasure Island. Coupled with an $800,000 first-place prize at NHC 17, Kinchen will compete for a $2.8 million payday.
The NHC Tour victory will become official upon completion of a review period and audit concluding Friday.
Kinchen earned points in 11 separate 2015 contests, mostly online. For scoring purposes, though, only a player’s top six scores (including at least one onsite tournament) count in the full-year standings. Kinchen’s wins included online contests at NHCQualify.com (March 22; good for 3,538 points) and HorseTourneys.com (May 2, Kentucky Derby Day; 3,625) and on-site contests at Hawthorne (Aug. 15; 3,188) and Gulfstream Park (Sept. 19; 2,953).
The NHC Tour top five was rounded out by Jon Nichols (16,223 points; $10,000 prize) and Ryan Flanders (16,190; $5,400).
Prize money for the NHC Tour season totaled a record $225,000, with $175,000 going to the top 20 finishers and $50,000 to the “First-Half” leaders. The top 150 finishers on the Tour not previously qualified earned automatic berths to NHC 17.
The NHC Tour is a yearlong bonus series offering additional prize money and qualifying berths to the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship. Tour members receive NHC Tour points for top finishes in NHC qualifying events held during the year. In addition to potential prize money and berths in the NHC, benefits for NHC Tour members include automatic enrollment in the Horseplayers’ Coalition. The Coalition seeks legislative and regulatory solutions to tax and business issues that impact pari-mutuel racetracks and their customers and provides grass roots support for the NTRA’s lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. Tour members also are automatically eligible to participate in NTRA Advantage, offering preferred pricing on products and services from leading suppliers, including John Deere, Nationwide, Sherwin-Williams, UPS, and OfficeMax/Office Depot.
The 2016 NHC Tour kicks off Jan. 31 with a “First Chance” contest at Treasure Island. Tour membership is $50-$95 and participants can sign up online at www.ntra.com/membership.
To read the Daily Racing Form news story about Kinchen by Peter Thomas Fornatale click here.