SUNDAY NOTES: ARIAS SETS NEW TWO-DAY RECORD
· Final 50 Players Focused On Final Table
· NHC Tour Winner Sumja Misses Final 50 and $2 Million Bonus
· 378 Finalists Register for Consolation Tourney
LAS VEGAS (Sunday, January 26, 2014) – The $326 bankroll that Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) Presented by Racetrack Television Network, Sovereign Stable and Treasure Island Las Vegas leader Jose Arias amassed through Saturday established a new two-day record, besting the $305.40 that Steven Walker posted to win the inaugural NHC in 2000.
This is the first year of a three-day NHC format so all of the past two-day records covered an entire tournament. In any of 14 past NHC contests Arias would already have claimed the grand prize but this year he still has to fight through a Final 50 Contest this morning and, surviving that, a Final Table with the top 10 this afternoon.
The five best two-day totals in NHC history: $326, Arias, 2014 (Days 1-2); $305.40, Walker, 2000; $279.60, Steve Wolfson Jr., 2003; $277.50, Steve Terralak, 2000; and $276.40, Brian MacClowry, 2000.
Last year’s winning score by Jim Benes was $268.40. This year, Benes never caught steam and finished in 295th place with $92.40.
FINAL 50 PLAYERS FOCUSED ON FINAL TABLE
With more than $150 in bankroll separating leader Jose Arias ($326) from the last two players to sneak into the Final 50 field – Jamaal Barnett and Rich Nilsen (tied with $173.20) – most of those still technically alive for the $750,000 grand prize would need an unprecedented comeback to win it all.
“The leader is going to be hard to catch,” said Nilsen, a racing industry and handicapping contest veteran making his 11th NHC appearance. “The only way someone like I could catch him is if I make it to the Final Table and I’m within striking distance.”
Every placing is important, though, and cracking the top 14 means a five-figure payday. Everyone in the Final 50 will take home at least $4,000 on a tiered scale.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of rotation between fifth and 50th,” Nilsen said. “They’re so tightly bunched. Going into today I was only 30-something