Chris Larmey, a tireless horseplayer advocate and 12-time NHC qualifier, and Steve Wolfson Jr., the 2003 NHC winner and an 11-time qualifier, have been selected for induction to the NHC Hall of Fame, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today. The seventh and eighth members of the NHC Hall of Fame will be inducted at the NHC Champions Dinner on Sunday evening at the conclusion of the 19th NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Presented by Racetrack Television Network, STATS Race Lens™ and Treasure Island Las Vegas, set for Friday to Sunday at Treasure Island.
Larmey has devoted countless hours over the years to effecting positive change for horseplayers. In 2015, he joined 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Judy Wagner in Washington, D.C., to represent bettors as the NTRA advocated on Capitol Hill for modernization of tax regulations related to withholding and reporting of pari-mutuel winnings. Those regulations became law last September and the positive impacts were immediate and pronounced, with independent estimates suggesting that the new regulations could boost wagering by as much as $1 billion annually. A native of Kennewick, Wash., Larmey is a 12-time qualifier to the NHC. He serves as Chairman of the NHC Players’ Committee and is an active participant in the NHC Mentor Program.
“It means a lot to me,” said Larmey. “I’ve invested a lot in the NHC and I really have a passion around it. From the time I first got involved I just loved it and wanted to get more people involved and help it grow. I think this is a real bright spot for the industry. Just being part of it is special for me and I’m humbled to be associated with the other names in the Hall of Fame.”
Steve Wolfson Jr., joins 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Steve Wolfson Sr., to comprise the first father-son duo inducted into the NHC Hall of Fame. Winner of the 2003 NHC (the same year his father finished fourth) and an 11-time qualifier, the younger Wolfson is the grandson of Louis Wolfson, owner of 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed. Having grown up around Thoroughbreds, Wolfson Jr., who was 35 when he captured the NHC, remains the youngest player to win the sport’s richest and most prestigious handicapping contest. He began participating in NHC events in 2001 at Belmont Park and has played in contests since the early 1990s.
“This is a humbling honor because it’s a very humbling endeavor,” Wolfson Jr. said. “I’m not sure I’m deserving of the honor, but I’ll do my best to perform into the future, too. I’ve had two really strong performances which I guess creates the rationale but for the other inductees there’s been more of a commitment to service to the NHC Tour and the event. As the first to get in almost exclusively as a player, I’m fully aware of the vagaries of success.”
As for joining his father in the Hall of Fame, Wolfson added: “The connection with my dad and with family is a dimension of all of this that’s always been very important to me.”
Larmey and Steve Wolfson Jr. represent the fourth class of NHC Hall of Fame inductees. They join Steve Crist (2016), Mike Mayo (2015), Ron Rippey (2015), Paul Shurman (2017), Wagner (2016), and the elder Steve Wolfson (2017). Hall of Fame inductees are chosen by the NTRA in consultation with the NHC Players’ Committee.
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.
About the NHC
In its 19th 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. For more information on the NHC, visit NTRA.com/nhc.