By Noel Michaels

You’ve got to be in it to win it.  The National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Presented by STATS Race Lens and Racetrack Television Network, is less than three months away, and more than 200 seats in the NHC Finals still remain for the main event in Las Vegas on Feb. 9-11, 2018 at Treasure Island. Twenty-four percent of the total qualifying spots are still up for grabs, and one of those unclaimed seats could have your name written all over it.

The remaining NHC Tour qualifying contest schedule features numerous opportunities to play your way into – or to earn a second seat –the estimated $2.5 million championship tournament for horseplayers.  The remaining NHC calendar contains 15 more on-site tournaments at racetracks and off-track betting facilities, plus an additional 31 separate online contests now through the final NHC Tour event on January 6.

Plus, even more online tournaments will be added all throughout the month of January that will not count toward the NHC Tour but nevertheless will offer tons more qualifying tournament action and dozens more seats into the “big dance” in Las Vegas.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, take time to consider some highlights of the extensive remaining 2017 online qualifying contest schedule. The online calendar features something for everyone the rest of the way at, and especially at, which features an exclusive schedule of NHC-qualifying contests at several price points ranging from $50 and $75, to $165 and $500 contests.

Fridays in December will always feature a $75 pick and pray qualifier on guaranteeing two seats to the NHC per contest and of course valuable NHC Tour points available for a low entry fee.

Keep in mind that the NHC Tour points route into the NHC Finals is still wide open for all previously unqualified players that rank in the top 150 in NHC Tour points at the Tour’s conclusion on Jan. 6. The current NHC Tour Top 150-point total cut-off sits at 8,705 points, and you can expect the number to go up to over 10,000 points by Jan. 6.  So if you need points to get yourself into the Top 150, now is the time to get cracking.

Tour-points hunters and those still looking to qualify will have a prime chance during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Make your plans now for the bargain-priced $50 Black Friday Contest the day after Thanksgiving. You won’t have to fight the crowds at the mall – all you have to do to play in the $50 Pick and Pray contest is to sign-up at on or before November 24.

The Tour continues until January 6 – the day of the NHC Final Five online contest offering 5 spots for a modest $100 entry fee.

Hawthorne Race Course outside Chicago will host two separate back-to-back one-day tournaments on Nov. 24-25 that will offer a total of 8 NHC spots with a grand total of zero dollars in entry fees. And, don’t fret if you can’t make it to Hawthorne over the Thanksgiving holiday. There are plenty of on-track NHC qualifiers between now and the end of the Tour year for those who prefer their contest action live as opposed to online. Upcoming on-site contests include Aqueduct (Nov. 18), Lone Star (Dec. 2), Mohegan Sun (Dec. 2), Monmouth (Dec. 2, Dec. 30), Los Alamitos (Dec. 9), Gulfstream Park (Dec. 9) and Surfside (Dec. 30-31), in addition to the Thanksgiving feast at Hawthorne and contests at the Chicagoland track on Dec. 29-30.