Night School, the racing industry’s free national online fan education program, begins its third of five learning “pods” this Tuesday as the syllabus turns to the “Summer Handicapping” season. The 40-week Night School annual term is divided into five, eight-week pods, each offering unique chances to learn more about watching and wagering on horse races (Latest Topic Schedule here: The Night School team also will be busy this week with a pair of extra events surrounding the Iowa Festival of Racing.

The “Summer Handicapping” pod begins with a Newbie Tuesdays presentation focused on the basics of wagering, a topic that will encompass and enlighten fans of Thoroughbred, Harness and American Quarter Horse racing. The 90-minute lesson begins at 8:30 p.m. ET and will feature live chat and videos teaching the terms and techniques of placing wagers. A complete basics of handicapping Newbie Tuesdays lesson was offered a week ago and remains available in the Night School archives at<> or any one of more than 40 websites that offers the Night School program.

Tuesday’s lesson will be co-hosted by Night School co-founders Joe Kristufek and Jeremy Plonk and will feature Prairie Meadows handicapper John Hernandez, a well-known media personality who specializes in both Thoroughbred and AQHA handicapping. Video insight from Horse Player NOW’s Bob Neumeier, Brian W. Spencer and Brian Nadeau also contributes to the lesson, as well as a video demonstration of how to use self-service betting machines.

Fans can take part in the class free by visiting any one of the 40-plus websites that provides the Night School lessons each week. The 90-minute live event is the 17th of 40 lessons offered in 2013. For those who cannot attend live, the Night School archives always are available free, immeditely following the session and beyond. Videos used in all lessons also can be seen at<>.

Presenting title sponsors for Night School are the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, American Quarter Horse Association, Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Inc., and the United States Trotting Association.

Night School is offered every Tuesday for 40 consecutive weeks through Dec. 3. Topics change weekly, and fans are eligible for prizes and rewards for registering. Registration is optional and free. There is never a charge for taking part in Night School. The weekly program is offered in three media: live chat via the Cover It Live live blogging/chat forum, audio/radio streaming and full video lesson plans. The media of delivery is based on the subject matter and alternates throughout the season.

This week’s Night School will be followed at 10:00 p.m. ET by the “After Night School Special,” featuring live racing from Mountaineer Park. The segment will cover the evening’s final race in real time with free, live-streaming video. Fans wishing to take part in the Mountaineer action simply need to remain in the Night School chat after class. Free past performances are available, courtesy of BRIS.

Later this week, Friday’s full-card from Prairie Meadows will be featured with a Night School Friday Night Live chat beginning at 7 p.m. ET and continuing throughout the program that includes the Iowa Distaff and Sprint. Jeremy Plonk hosts and provides expert wagering advice throughout the evening, along with a free, live streaming video link from Prairie Meadows.

Meanwhile, the Night School Tour traveling troupe of fan educators will be live at Prairie Meadows this Saturday for the Iowa Derby/Cornhusker Handicap program. Meet Joe Kristufek and Tim Brannan onsite as they provide hands-on fan education to the fans in Altoona, IA, sponsored by Prairie Meadows and the Iowa Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association. The Night School Tour also will be at Woodbine on July 7 for Queen’s Plate Day, and recently added Parx on Labor Day to its growing schedule of events (Updated Night School Tour schedule:

This week’s study materials, a beginner’s guide to wagering, courtesy of Horse Player NOW:

Joe Kristufek previews this week’s lesson on video:

Pod 3 Lesson Schedule: