LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 25, 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, June 15 

HorsePlayers.com $165

Basil Devito, a longtime WWE Executive from Connecticut, qualified for the NHC for the sixth time. He was double qualified in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019. He has cashed twice for $40,800 by placing 23rd in 2016, and 12th in 2019. He is currently ranked 19th on the 2019 NHC Tour and second in the $10,000 RTN Summer Challenge

Brett Wiener, of Clearwater, FL, and currently ninth on the 2019 NHC Tour, will earn Decade Qualifier status in 2020 as he makes his tenth NHC appearance. He has cashed once in 2015 for $10,480. He was double qualified in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. This is Wiener’s second NHC seat for 2020. He earned his first seat in April at a Santa Anita qualifier.


Sunday, June 16

HorsePlayers.com $500

Nate Newby, Santa Anita’s Tournament Director will join his customers for the second time as an NHC Qualifier. He broke his NHC maiden at the 2019 event.

Friday, June 21

HorsePlayers.com $75

Robert Gilbert, a retired teacher and 2019 Final Table participation from Yardley, PA will make his sixth trip to the NHC. He has cashed twice for $66,540 for his 8th and 37th finishes in 2019 and 2016, respectively. He was double qualified in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Mark Fienberg, a Toronto resident has qualified for the third year in a row to the NHC. He was double qualified in 2018.


Saturday, June 22 

Santa Anita Spring Challenge

Edward Deicke, a financial advisor from Lido Beach, NY has qualified for the third time and will attend NHC2020. He was double qualified in 2019, finished above in cutline, and took home $5,200.

Duke Matties, one half of the Matties brothers – who both have had decorated contest careers – has earned his second NHC2020 seat at his home track. His first NHC seat came earlier in the year at the Santa Anita NHC Super Qualifier. This will be Matties’ 16th NHC Trip. He was double qualified in 2015, 2016, 2018 & 2019 and was a Final Table member in 2016, finishing fourth. He has cashed six times earning $135,760. Matties is tied with Paul Shurman for cashing the most times at the NHC.

HorseTourneys $165

Amy Brantley, of Hot Springs, AR will join Brett Wiener as a Decade Qualifier in 2020. Brantley is a member of the NHC Players’ Committee. She was double qualified in 2017, 2016, and 2014 and has cashed twice at the NHC for $12,400.

Rick Bruton from Salem, NH will make his second NHC appearance in 2020. This will be his first qualification since 2014.

Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge

Dean Ehrgott, from Camby, IN won the first ever Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge to earn his first trip to the NHC. He won the contest by 40 cents. He is eligible for a $1 million bonus if he wins the 2020 NHC.


Sunday, June 23 

Santa Anita $500 Challenge

Bill Shurman, of Danville, CA, earned his second NHC entry for 2020. Shurman will join his brother Paul as a double qualifier at his 17th NHC. He was double qualified in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. He has cashed four times for $48,050.

Jeff Bussan, from New Canaan, CT has qualified for the fourth time to the NHC. He was double qualified in 2018 and 2019. He finished 31st in 2018 and cashed for $13,200.

Tyler Hoffman, of San Gabriel, CA is one of the younger contest players in the game, but has veteran skills as he earned his second NHC seat for NHC2020. He was double qualified in 2019 and finished above the cutline at his first NHC, cashing $10,400. The NHC is a family affair for Hoffman as his father, Alan, also plays contests and is qualified for 2020. Tyler’s first qualification for 2020 was also at Santa Anita at the NHC Super Qualifier.

James Leal, from Montebello, CA, will make his first NHC trip.

Edward Deicke qualified for a second time in the same weekend, at the same venue. He is now double qualified for NHC2020.

HorsePlayers $165

Cara Yarusso, a Minnesota native will return to Las Vegas for the 2020 NHC. This is Yarusso’s eighth NHC qualification. Her dad, Mike Yarusso, has also qualified for NHC2020.

Tim Averill, a retired government lawyer from Mandeville, LA will make his third trip to the NHC. He previously qualified in 2016 and 2018.

Click here to view the 2019 NHC Tour Leaderboard Unofficial Standings.

Click here for upcoming NHC qualifiers