The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has announced a new free handicapping contest called "Beat the Handicapper." This eight-week contest will challenge fans to correctly handicap one designated race each week for weekly prizes that range from $250 for first place to $50 for fouth place. The handicapper with the best cumulative performance over the eight weeks will receive a berth in the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship, to be held January 26-27, 2007, at Bally's Las Vegas. Details and registration info can be found here.
The competition will begin on Saturday, April 22 and continue for the next seven Saturdays, concluding on Belmont Stakes Day, June 10. Each week, a guest handicapper will make publicly posted selections for that week's designated contest race, using a $50 mythical bankroll. Competitors will also make selections, using a special mock tote machine, based on a mythical $50 bankroll. They may utilize the bet type of their choice, including win, place, show, exacta and trifecta wagers, or any combination thereof. Should a competitor's selections return more money than those of that week's guest handicapper, a $50 bonus will be added on to his or her weekly contest score. Free past performances will be provided for the contest races.
On April 22, the designated contest race will be the Coolmore Lexington Stakes from Keeneland, and the guest handicapper will be ESPN Horse Racing analyst Randy Moss.
The NTRA expects to conduct another eight-week, "Beat the Handicapper" competition later in 2006, leading up to the Breeders' Cup World Championships.