LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 21, 2019) – Each week, the NTRA will provide a rundown of those who have qualified for the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) the previous weekend.
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. The 2020 NHC will take place in the Bally’s Events Center from February 7-9.
Saturday, May 18
HorsePlayers – $165
Joe Johnson, from San Antonio, TX and currently fourth on the 2019 NHC Tour Leaderboard, earned his second seat for NHC2020 on Saturday. Johnson, with a 9.981 Player Rating, earned his first seat to NHC2020 on March 15 (HorsePlayers.com) less than a month after his third NHC appearance. Johnson has double qualified on each of his trips to the NHC, finishing in the top 10% in 2018 and cashing $11,040. His son, also named Joe Johnson, broke his NHC maiden in 2019 and the father-son duo enjoyed their first NHC together as qualifiers.
Vincent Easley, a software developer from San Antonio, TX, will make his way back to Vegas after his first NHC appearance in 2019. This contest is the first contest of the year that Easley finished in the 10% of adding a valuable data point to his 8.884 Player Rating calculation. Contests are also a family affair for Easley as he enjoyed playing contests with his dad.
Preakness Betting Challenge
Allan Schaffer, a NHC Veteran from Toronto, punched his ticket to his 12th NHC. The 9.858 Rated Horseplayer attended the very first NHC in 2000, where he placed sixth, and has continued to earn NHC trips over the last 20 years. Schaffer has cashed two times at the NHC for $13,370. He has finished in the top 50 five times and finished 49th in both 2012 and 2013.
Adam Aiken, now a four-time NHC Qualifier from Springfield, MA is returning to the NHC after a top 10% finish and $4,100 cash out at the most recent NHC, where he was double qualified. Aiken has a 9.499 Player Rating and while relatively “new” to contest play (4 years or so), he has been a horseplayer for 15 years.
Thomas (Mike) Abinanti, a 6.429 rated player from Palatine, IL, will make his first trip to NHC2020.
Ross Gallo, a professional horseplayer from Jupiter, FL earned his second NHC seat for NHC2020 after earning his first during the Keeneland Grade One Gamble in April. Gallo is a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, NHC Mentor, a 14-year NHC Qualifier with a 9.42 Player Rating. Gallo considers contest play a family affair – his wife, brother, and father all participate in contests. Gallo’s brother, J. Randy Gallo, placed fourth in the most recent NHC.
Sunday, May 19
HorsePlayers – $500
Sally Goodall tied with Paul Shurman and Trey Stiles with the most qualifications to the NHC qualified for her 18th NHC, only missing out in 2000, 2001, and 2005. Goodall, who has a 9.893 Player Rating, cashed $24,000 at the NHC in 2017 after finishing 12th. The NHC and contest play is also a family affair for Goodall whose husband, Rich, is the 2008 Horseplayer of the Year. Her stepson and nephew have all previously qualified for the NHC.
Click here for upcoming NHC qualifiers