LEXINGTON, Ky. (Monday, July 13, 2015) – With the Midsummer Classic, otherwise known as the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, set to take place Tuesday in Cincinnati, Ohio, the NTRA has compiled its own Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship All-Star lineup based on the NHC Tour standings at the midway point of the 2015 DRF NHC Tour season. The roster includes a mix of veterans and relative newcomers to the NHC. California leads the way with four all-stars, while three residents of New Jersey cracked the starting roster.
NHC 2015 All-Stars
Ryan Flanders (San Diego, Calif.) – Flanders, who made the Final Table in his first NHC appearance last year, is the current NHC Tour points leader. The 41-year-old broke from the gate quickly this Tour season, winning March tournaments on NHCqualify.com and Horsetourneys.com. He has five top 10 finishes this season.
Jonathon Kinchen (Austin, Texas) – Kinchen, who made headlines by advancing two entries to the NHC Final Table in his first NHC appearance last January, continued his hot play into this Tour season with two outright tournament victories on NHCqualify.com and seven top 10 finishes. At age 33, Kinchen is the youngest member of the NHC All-Star roster.
Eric Moomey (Trenton, N.J.) – Last year’s NHC Tour champion has continued to excel this year with two outright victories on NHCqualify.com and five top 10 finishes. The 42-year-old U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel is a three-time NHC qualifier and played in 65 NHC Tour events in 2014.
Anthony Kite (Princeton, N.J.) – Kite has six top 10 finishes, including a victory on NHCqualify.com. The 60-year-old retiree qualified for the NHC for the first time last year.
John Nichols (Louisville, Ky.) – Nichols has two outright wins on NHCqualify.com and five top 10 finishes. The 40-year-old works as the head clocker at Churchill Downs and comes from a racing family as the son of a jockey and racetrack farrier and nephew of legendary rider “Cowboy” Jimmy Nichols. He is a four-time NHC qualifier.
Bob Engelhard (King of Prussia, Pa.) – Engelhard has three top 10 finishes this season, including two hard luck second-place finishes. The 61-year-old corporate insurance executive is a four-time NHC qualifier.
Roger Cettina (Rumson, N.J.) – Cettina has six top 10 finishes this season. The 48-year-old construction executive has made five NHC appearances and was the runner-up at NHC 14 after leading into the final race.
Robert Crowe (Loomis, Calif.) – Crowe has a league-leading nine top 10 finishes. The 49-year-old financial officer, like several others in this All-Star group, qualified to the NHC last year in his first season of play.
Michael Marlaire (Boulder Creek, Calif.) – Marlaire has four top 10 finishes. Yet another who made it to Las Vegas for the first time last January, the 61-year-old is Director of the NASA Research Park at NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.
Matt Rentze (San Diego, Calif.) – Rentze has three top 10 finishes, including a third-place finish at Surfside Race Place. He is a five-time NHC qualifier.
Every Tour player is competing for a total pool of $250,000 in prize money, with the 2015 NHC Tour champion to receive $75,000 plus an automatic berth to the 2017 NTRA National Handicapping Championship. The remainder of the top 20 will receive cash prizes on a descending scale from $20,000 for second to $1,000 for 20th. An additional $25,000 Tour Bonus will be awarded to the NHC Tour top 20 finisher with the highest score at the NHC in Las Vegas.
Five Tour players will receive $10,000 First-Half bonuses based on their top four scores accumulated from January 26 through July 31 (including one on-site contest). First-Half bonuses will be announced in early August following an independent audit of the results.
In its 17th year, the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship 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 Web sites, each of which sends its top qualifiers to the national finals. Each year, the NHC winner joins other human and equine champions as an honoree at the Eclipse Awards. In addition to the founding title sponsor, the NHC is presented by Racetrack Television Network and Treasure Island Las Vegas.