Name: Erik Sechrist
Hometown: Jonestown, Pa.
Sechrist, 40, earned his first-ever NHC berth Sunday by winning the free online qualifier presented by the NTRA and hosted on HorseTourneys.com. The top four finishers from 2,074 entries will participate in the world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping contest, the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship presented by Racetrack Television Network and Treasure Island Las Vegas, set for Jan. 27-29, 2017, at Treasure Island.
How long have you been playing in NHC qualifiers?
“I got into tournament play about a year-and-a-half ago. A good friend of mine that I grew up with and used to go to the racetrack with, Kevin “Mugsy” Kreiser, is also a contest player. After we graduated high school we went our separate ways and had families and everything, but then I ran into him at a handicapping contest at Penn National. He told me he got into the NHC and that the tournaments were awesome. And he told me about Horse Tourneys so I kicked it around. In the end I just poked and hoped and I guess hope won out!”
How did you manage to win Sunday’s free qualifier against a field of more than 2,000 other players?
“I was asking that same question myself on Sunday! Like I always say to my friends, even a blind squirrel gets a nut every once in a while.
“I had seven winners