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DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Tournament XI - Day 1 Schedule

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The NHC kicks off tomorrow morning in Vegas, which means today is the day that 301 handicappers from around the country check into their hotel rooms and handicap a smörgåsbord of tracks all night long.  Or you hit the craps tables and just wing it in the morning.  I suppose that either way will do.

The tournament has released the list of mandatory races for the 1st day which I have summarized in the table below:  

Track

Race

Condition

Distance

Gulfstream

4

$75K Md Clm, 3yo

1 mile (T)

Aqueduct

6

$12.5K Md Clm, 4up, F&M

1 mile 70 yds

Laurel

9

$5K Clm, 4up

7 furlongs

Gulfstream

8

Alw N1$, 4yo

1 mile

Fair Grounds

7

$5K Claiming, 4up

1 mile 40 yds

Golden Gate

5

MdSpWt, 3yo

1 mile

Santa Anita

6

Starter Allowance, 3yo, F

7 furlongs

Santa Anita

7

$80K OC/Alw, 3yo, F

1 mile (T)

My first thought after seeing the release of the Friday mandatory plays?  Is Friday considered "Cheap Claimer Day" at the NHC?  I mean there are some seriously low-level events on tap: a $12.5K Maiden Claimer, along with not one, but two $5K Claiming races.  Additionally, there is the fact that there are only two turf races among the eight mandatory plays.  I understand that the organizers don't want to have a bunch of races come off the turf, which generally leads to a ton of scratches.  But at the same time, it'd be nice to see players required to play a few more lawn events.  I also thought it was a little odd that there is only one mandatory race carded at under a mile.  Perhaps I need to pay more attention since there are two races under a mile, not one.

The mandatory races for Saturday should be released tomorrow morning.

I'm going to be following the results of the NHC races both tomorrow and Saturday because, yeah, that's what kind of a horse racing geek I am - I actually am interested in following other people betting on horses.  Twinspires,com will have periodic video updates throughout the day, including updated standings. 

For those unfamiliar with the structure of this tournament, here's the lowdown from the NTRA:

There are a total of 30 wagers placed in the tournament. Each participant must make a mythical $2 win and $2 place wager on 15 different races each day. There are eight mandatory races, selected by tournament officials, on which each entrant must wager. Each player will also wager on seven other races of his or her choice each day from any of the racetracks designated as an eligible tournament track. Tournament wagers are limited to win and place only. There is a cap placed on all payoffs. The win cap is 20-1 ($42.00) and the place cap is 10-1 ($22.00).