Pat Nufrio of Belleville, N.J., leads the 18th Daily Racing Form/NTRA NHC Presented by Racetrack Television Network and Treasure Island Las Vegas with a $188.70 mythical bankroll after Day 1 of the three-day tournament at Treasure Island.
Nufrio cashed for more than $20 five times and further padded his bankroll in five other races. As Day 1 leader, Nufrio earned a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge berth worth $10,000.
“Basically, I hit 10 out of the 18 races we had to play, and they were all middle-priced horses,” Nufrio said. “The highest price horse was $19.40. And I ran second in a few races, so I got points.”
Chris Larmey and Thomas O’Connor are in a tie for the runner-up spot with $168. The Top 10 was rounded out by Chris Olsson ($167.70), the 2003 NHC winner Stephen Wolfson Jr. ($148.30), Thomas Reed ($148.10), David Lam ($146.90), Harlan Malter ($140), Michael Ray ($133.20) and Stephen McNatton ($132.50).
Full standings can be viewed online at NTRA.com, where the homepage features the sortable and searchable LuxAir Jets Leaderboard of all 654 entries.
NHC entrants were required to place 18 mythical $2 Win and Place wagers – eight on mandatory races that everyone played and 10 on any of 62 other races from eight designated racetracks across the country.
This is Nufrio’s second NHC appearance and he is already faring better than in 2012.
“Basically everything went my way today,” he said. “I had a lot of photos go my way. I was seeing the cards good. One day to the next you don’t know what’s going to happen. Everything fell in my lap today; tomorrow could be a total different story.”
Nufrio is a retired New Jersey firefighter who was part of the massive 9/11 recovery at Ground Zero. “Two days after, I was over on the pile,” he said. “It was beyond belief.”
Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge winner Joe Appelbaum, who is eligible for a $3 million bonus if he should win NHC 18 with his second of two entries, has his work cut out for him after ending Day 1 in 532nd ($27.20) on the bonus-eligible entry. The 2016 NHC Tour winner Cheryl McIntyre, eligible for a $2 million bonus, had a similarly frustrating day with both of her entries, finishing in 493rd ($34) and last place ($0).
Sam Alipio of San Pedro, Calif., is the only player with both of his entries in the top 40 – 16th ($123.60) and 39th ($114.80).
Paul Shurman, the 2011 NHC Tour winner and 15-time qualifier who will be inducted into the NHC Hall of Fame on Sunday, is in 31st with $117.80. Jonathon Kinchen, the 2015 NHC Tour Champion who had two entries in the top 10 after the Semifinal round at NHC 17, sits in 32nd with $117.50.
The three-day NHC continues Saturday at Treasure Island. Day 1 bankrolls will carry over to Day 2, which will have eight mandatory races and 10 optionals. The top 10 percent of the field after Day 2 will continue on to the Semifinal round Sunday and the top 10 will play at the “Final Table” to determine the final rankings, including the $800,000 grand prize and Eclipse Award winner as Horseplayer of the Year. Players outside the final cut will play in a separate $50,000 Consolation Tournament on Sunday with reset mythical bankrolls.