NTRA Member Profile2018-05-18T14:24:21-04:00

Karl Zappa

Profile Image

Player Rating



Overall: 1804

Participation: 750

Points Detail

HorsePlayers.com 2/29/2020 O 1054

How many times qualified: 3

NHC History

Year Place Bankroll Prizes
2019 391 97.2
2016 517 54.6
2013 323 66.8

Player Bio

NHC Player Bio Name: Karl Zappa DOB: 03/03/1959 Occupation: Bookkkeeper Qualifying Site: On Line I first got into horse racing by selling the Racing Form in my family’s liquor stores. As a child, I was interested in the “special newspaper” that could only be read if one bought it. The old Forms had perforated pages that kept in closed unless they were separated by the buyer. Eventually, I started reading it with some of the regular customers. They taught me few things about reading the Form and what helps pick a winner, recent races, works, etc. When I was 19, I use to take dates to Del Mar. Growing up in Orange County, California, my friends and I would go to Los Alamitos Race Course and watch the trotters and quarter horses. I’ve been going there since the early 1980’s. This year, it took me six months to convince the management that they needed a shoeshine bench and to let me operate it. Now, I get to go to the track everyday and make money. 2016 Championship will be the second time I have qualified for the finals. I was there in 2013, and sat next to John O’Neil, the current Champion, and his friends. That year I finished about 450th. Not very good, but I learned a lot. I sat with 4 guys from New York and 1 fellow from Illinois. At our table, the country was represented from coast to coast. It was the best time I’ve ever had in Las Vegas. The best finish I have had in a tournament was first, an on-line NHC weekly tournament. That was on line in January 2013. Two weeks later, I was playing Las Vegas in the finals. I have only won about $500 from an actual tournament competition, but by making live bets while competing, I have won over $8,000. That was at my first competition at Surfside in Del Mar in 2012. Since the pick-5 was introduced, it has become my most serious bet. The largest amount I have won is $16,885 on a $180 bet place at Surfside in Del Mar, Ca. It was Peakness Day, 2013. I had decided to meet friends at Del Mar to watch and play the races. The day before, I had been making sales calls in Fresno, Ca. I didn’t get home until near midnight and started to handicap. The next morning, my girl friend and I were up and out by 6:00 AM and headed for Del Mar. I had to finish handicapping Pimlico after we got there. The Del Mar Fairgrounds/Race Track hosted a gun show that day. My Friends couldn’t find parking or get near Surfside. They went on to a bar, Jimmy O’s, in Old Del Mar and called us to join them. I had watched the first leg of the pick-5 at Del Mar and knew I was live. We walked into the bar just in time for me to see Mike Smith ride my single in the pick-5 to victory (I always sweat bullets when Mr. Smith rides a single for me. He was riding Pianist that paid $15.40). We started drinking, and I started to regale the bar and my friends with story of my sales trip to Fresno the day before. While traveling, I stopped to help a stray dog. I didn’t get out of the emergency room until after 11:00PM, but that’s a story for another day. Network Television coverage of the Preaknes is not same as at track. It focuses on the human interest and this being the second leg of the Triple Crown, all the stories were about Orb, the Kentucky Derby winner. NBC didn’t show the two races before the big race. I missed seeing Jorge Velazquez riding Sage Valley that paid $6.60 and Gary Stevens on Skyring paying $50.40 (I’m so happy Mr. Stevens came out of retirement). I was checking my on-line account with my cell phone to see if I was live. I knew going into the last leg I was. I had two tickets that covered Orb and one ticket with All. I often make the bet wheeling both ends of pick-5, if I can make a small pick-3 in the middle. Oxbow won handily while Orb ran fourth. The network didn’t show the pick-5 payoffs. I had to check on my phone. At first I thought it read $1600, I had my buddy check…nearly $17,000. We all erupted in cheers, and I bought a round for the bar. The bartender said that he had never seen anyone win that much. That’s hard to believe in Del Mar, but I told him to tell the story about the generous horse player that won and bought drinkers for all. I have many interesting and memorable experiences horse racing experiences including attending the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, but I think I enjoyed competing in the NHC Finals in 2013 more than any other. I look forward to the upcoming finals. I am lucky that my girlfriend loves horse racing. She would go to the track everyday if she could. She follows horses all around the world. She stays in contact via FaceBook with barns, jockeys, trainers, and thoroughbred retirement agencies all around the world. If the Queen of England has a horse entered, my girlfriend, Lola, has a $2 Show Bet on it. I rely on her information when looking at European shippers. She estimates that she reviews the results of over 10,000 races a year from around the world. I believe that most of my closest friends, perhaps half a dozen, have been my friends for nearly 50 years. I am very proud of that, and that they consider me honest to a fault. If you don’t want to know what I believe to be the truth, don’t ask me. If I am good enough to win the NHC Grand Prize or even a minor prize, Lola and I will probably attend the Melbourne Cup festivities. I have friends in Australia. They tell us that the Whole Country celebrates for a week leading up to the race. I’m told that schools all around the country bring in television so that children can watch the race. It really makes someone want to move to a truly civilized country like Australia.




  • 401. West Main Street, Suite 222, Lexington, KY 40507
  • 1.800.792.6872
  • info@ntra.com