Night School, the racing industry’s national online fan education program since 2011, rings the bell on its fourth season March 4 with a fresh, multimedia curriculum. The free program is offered online each Tuesday, beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET and runs 40 consecutive weeks through Dec. 2. More than 40 websites in the Thoroughbred, American Quarter Horse and Standardbred industries simultaneously offer the Night School lessons.

With more than 780,000 views of the previous three full seasons of Night School, the program’s officials expect it to surpass the 1 million-view mark sometime in 2014. Free archives of all lessons, current and past, remain available for views by racing fans and horseplayers at any time. All previous radio simulcasts, video lessons and live chats continue to be accessible to horseplayers.

Program creator Jeremy Plonk of Horse Player NOW returns to host Season 4 of Night School and will be joined by Caton Bredar and “The Dean” Jerry Shottenkirk. Each has been with the program since its inception, and will team this year with renowned radio host Steve Byk. Whereas most previous seasons’ lessons were taught in a live chat format, Night School sampled the radio / live audio streaming airwaves last year with much success and student appreciation. That has led to more than half of the 40 lessons this year scheduled to be simulcast on SiriusXM satellite radio, joining “At the Races with Steve Byk” from 8:30-10 p.m. ET during Night School’s traditional timeslot. The radio stream is linked within the Night School lesson’s chat box, or can be found on the dial at Sirius 93, XM209. Casey Ghee will engineer the audio streaming portion of the program and world-class handicappers, horsemen and racing officials are expected as first-class guest instructors once again.

Title sponsors for 2014 include charter members the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the American Quarter Horse Association, as well as Keeneland Select, The Stronach Group, Twinspires, BRIS, Bet America and Mountaineer Park. Supporting sponsors include charter member West Point Thoroughbreds as well as Trakus, with additional announcements to come.

The 2014 Night School season will be broken into three semesters. The Spring Semester runs 14 weeks, from March 4 until Belmont Stakes Week on June 3. A corresponding Fall Semester will be offered Sept. 27 through Dec. 2. Both the Spring and Fall semesters will feature a minimum of 11 SiriusXM simulcasts, in addition to select, major racing event live handicapping chats between the fans and experts.

The schedule’s other notable change this year is a Summer Live Racing Semester that spans 12 weeks, June 10 through August 26, in which live simulcast video and racing action will be featured in a hands-on learning forum. Experts will approach real races in real time with fans, equipped with free BRIS past performances and streaming video, and teach with a specific theme in mind for each of the Summer Live Racing Semester lessons. Those teachings will include the action from Mountaineer Park and spotlight the races during Night School’s normal timeslot, beginning at 8:30 pm ET.

Night School is free and voluntary with no registration necessary. Simply visit any of the Night School syndicate websites weekly at 8:30 pm ET to take in the live lesson, or access the archives at any of those same sites at your leisure. The program does offer a voluntary registration both live or in the archives. Attendees who register in at least half (20) of the season’s lessons are eligible to win prizes that include merchandise, NHC Tour memberships, handicapping contests, free handicapping products, etc.

Fans who enjoy playing the races can participate alongside the Night School experts in two additional ways. The After Night School Special from Mountaineer Park features the final races on the program each Tuesday night once the Night School lesson has completed at 10 pm ET. And, Night School Friday Night Live at Remington Park is a weekly Friday live chat during the full card from Oklahoma City. Both offerings present free live video streaming, real-time expert advice and fan camaraderie.




Spring Semester Topics

(all begin 8:30p ET)



Role of the Horseplayer



Preparing for a Day at the Races



Key Past Performance Ingredients



Speed Figure Angles



Turf & Synthetic Handicapping



Psychology of a Horseplayer



Money Management






Chat: Ky. Derby Week Handicapping



Cultivating Newbies, What We Can Do



Chat: Preakness Week Handicapping



Trainer Angles



Jockey Angles



Chat: Belmont Week Handicapping