Mike Mayo

Mike Mayo, Richardson, TX
NHC mainstay
Longtime chairman of the NHC Players’ Committee
Inaugural Inductee

Mike was an accomplished tournament player and longtime chairman of the NHC Players’ Committee. He played an integral role in the growth and development of the NHC and was instrumental in the establishment of the NHC Tour and the expansion of the event to three days and a Final Table format. Mayo passed away September 18, 2014, at the age of 60, at his home in Texas.

Ron Rippey

Ron Rippey, Wayne, NJ
2006 NHC Champion
11 time qualifier

A longtime public handicapper for the Newark Star-Ledger, Rippey won multiple tournaments and excelled at all formats throughout his contest playing career. Rippey passed away on August 26, 2014, at the age of 70, while being treated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Judy Wagner

Judy Wagner, New Orleans, LA

2001 NHC Winner and Horseplayer of the Year, 12-time NHC qualifier, First Horseplayers’ Representative on NTRA Board of Directors.

Since her win at NHC II in 2001, Judy Wagner has been one of America’s most recognizable handicapping contest players. She is among the NHC’s all-time leaders with 12 appearances at the finals in Las Vegas. She finished second to her husband, Bryan Wagner in the 2009 NHC Tour. In recent years she has foregone NHC and NHC Tour eligibility to advocate for bettors as the first horseplayers’ representative elected to the NTRA Board of Directors. Wagner is a former horse owner and a member of the Louisiana State Racing Commission since 2007. She has lobbied on behalf of horseplayers in Washington, D.C.,  and in numerous editorials and public appearances. She remains the only woman to win the NHC.

Steve Crist

Steven Crist, Long Island, NY
Bettor, publisher, editor, columnist, author, racetrack executive. Impetus behind the formation of the NHC Voice of the Horseplayer

For nearly 35 years Steve Crist has been the most visible and outspoken horseplayer’ advocate in the United States. He has been the publisher and a columnist for Daily Racing Form since 1998 and throughout the NHC’s entire existence. Previously, he covered racing for The New York Times from 1981-1990; was founding editor-in-chief of The Racing Times in 1991-92; and a vice president of the New York Racing Association from 1994-97. Crist was a driving force behind the NHC’s inception which evolved largely from his insistence that the Eclipse Awards honor a horseplayer. He is the author of multiple books and tutorials on handicapping, as well as a memoir, Betting on Myself: Adventures of a Horseplayer and Publisher.

Paul Shurman

Paul Shurman, Dix Hills, NY
2011 NHC Tour champion
15-time qualifier
multiple NHC top 10 finisher

Shurman has qualified to the NHC for 15 straight years, a record he shares with two others. In 2011 he won the second NHC Tour earning $75,000. He has had three top 10 finishes at the NHC, including  a third-place effort at NHC 10 in 2009 worth $100,000. Shurman has been a longtime member of the NHC Players’ Committee and has volunteered countless hours consulting with tournament directors around the country on improving the structure and overall experience of NHC qualifiers. Said Daily Racing Form in a 2015 profile: “If Paul Shurman isn’t the single most respected player in the contest world, he’s definitely on the shortlist.

Steve Wolfson, Sr.

Steve Wolfson, Sr., Ormond Beach, FL
“Godfather of Handicapping Contests,”
11-time NHC qualifier

Often referred to as “the godfather of handicapping contests,” Steve Wolfson Sr. was organizing tournaments for Horseplayers in Las Vegas long before the advent of the NHC, most notably the Thoroughbred Challenge at the Mirage, established in 1991. He is an 11-time NHC qualifier. Wolfson breeds and owns racehorses and is the son of Louis Wolfson, owner of 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed. Wolfson also is an accomplished sire of handicappers – his son, Steve Jr., was the 2003 NHC winner, the same year Steve Sr. had a career-best fourth place finish.

Chris Larmey

Chris Larmey, Kennewick, WA
12-time NHC qualifier
NHC Players’ Committee Chairman
NHC Player Mentor

No single individual has done more to positively impact his fellow horseplayers in recent years than Chris Larmey. In 2015, Larmey joined 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Judy Wagner in Washington, D.C., to represent horseplayers as the NTRA advocated on Capitol Hill for modernization of tax regulations related to withholding and reporting of pari-mutuel winnings. Those regulations became law last September and the positive impacts were immediate and pronounced, with some industry estimates suggesting that the new regulations could raise wagering handle by as much as $1 billion annually. A native of Kennewick, Wash., Larmey is a 12-time qualifier to the NHC. He serves as Chairman of the NHC Players’ Committee and is an active participant in the NHC Mentor Program.

Steve Wolfson, Jr

Steve Wolfson, Jr, Ormond Beach, FL
2003 NHC Winner
2003 Horseplayer of the year
11-time NHC qualifier

Steve Wolfson Jr., joins 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Steve Wolfson Sr., as the first father-son duo inducted into the NHC Hall of Fame. Winner of the
2003 NHC (the same year his father finished fourth) and an 11-time NHC qualifier, the younger Wolfson is the grandson of Louis Wolfson, owner of 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed. Having grown up around Thoroughbreds, Wolfson Jr., who was 35 when he captured the 2003 NHC, remains the youngest player to win the sport’s richest and most prestigious handicapping tournament. Wolfson Jr., a school teacher who resides in Ormond Beach, Fla., began participating in handicapping contests in 2001 at Belmont Park.

Bryan Wagner

Bryan Wagner, New Orleans, LA
2009 NHC Tour Winner
14-time NHC qualifier

The 2009 NHC Tour Champion, Bryan Wagner, joins his wife, 2001 NHC Champion Judy Wagner, as a member of the NHC Hall of Fame. Bryan Wagner was a 14-time qualifier to the NHC. He earned more than $100,000 at the annual NHC finals in Las Vegas and thousands more at other NHC-sanctioned contests, where the Wagners were a constant and popular presence.

Bryan Wagner owned and operated a successful insurance company in New Orleans, but was best known as a politician and political operative. Wagner, who died in August of 2018, was once described in a Rolling Stone feature as a gentleman “who holds court like a John Grisham character.” Due to arcane line-of-succession laws, he had technically served as Mayor of New Orleans for a day on three separate occasions.

Trey Stiles

Trey Stiles, Houston, TX
16-time NHC Qualifier
NHC Mentor

Trey Stiles has qualified to every NHC since 2003 while becoming one of the most recognizable faces on the NHC Tour. Stiles, an attorney in Houston, TX starting visiting the racetrack in his teens when he and a friend snuck into Delta Downs.A self-taught handicapper, Stiles considers himself to be an “old fashioned Race Form guy” which is the cornerstone of his handicapping. He also serves as an NHC Mentor, teaching new Tour Members the ins and outs and strategies involved with contest play. Stiles played in his first handicapping contest in 2001 and began his record-setting streak at the NHC with a win at a contest at Retama Park in his native Texas in 2002. Sixteen years later, he is still going strong.

Roger Cettina

Roger Cettina, Rumson, NJ
10-time NHC Qualifier

Roger Cettina is one of the most cinsistent contest players in National Horseplayers Championship history, whether it be during the qualifying season or at the Championship in Las Vegas. While still searching for his first NHC Tour victory, Cettina is the only player to finish second in the NHC twice (2013 and 2015) and he’s cashed at the NHC three times while accumulating $460,300 in earnings. Cettina also has finished in the top 20 of the NHC Tour three of the last five years.

Richard Goodall

Richard Goodall, Las Vegas, NV
16-time NHC Qualifier
2008 NHC Champion

2008 National Horseplayers Championship winner Richard Goodall is a 16-time qualifier to the NHC, behind only a handful of players including his wife, 18 time qualifier Sally Goodall. The Las Vegas, NV resident has cashed at the NHC three times for careers earnings of $522,400.