Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Jan. 26, 2012 – Among the 484 handicappers competing in the $1.6 million Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas this Friday and Saturday are Cincinnati residents Robert Forbeck and Joe Steinberg. Forbeck is one of 13 horseplayers to have earned a spot in the national tournament during qualifying events at Turfway Park. Steinberg qualified through an online contest at NHCQualify.com, according to National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) records.
Ten of the players who qualified at Turfway, including Forbeck, secured their opportunity during the track's Superqualifier on Sept. 18. Three others qualified at a second Turfway contest on Dec. 4. In both qualifiers, players wagered with a live bankroll, and the order of finish was determined by their accumulated winnings after play on mandatory and elective races at Turfway and tracks across the country.
Now in its 13th year, the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship will take place at the Las Vegas Treasure Island Hotel and Casino Jan. 27 and 28. The $1 million first prize is the highest since the tournament began. The tournament is preceded by a year-long tour of qualifying contests held at racetracks, at off-track wagering facilities, and online. This year 4,609 players participated in the tour, the winner of which is determined by points earned at qualifiers. Should the winner of this year's tour, Paul Shurman of Dix Hills, N.Y., also win the national tournament, he would collect a $2 million bonus.
According to NTRA records, other area players competing in the national tournament include Ohioans Mark Deaton of Somerville, Rob Diesel of West Chester, and Thomas Ryan Jr. of Dayton. Deaton qualified at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., and Diesel and Ryan both qualified at Thistledown in Cleveland.
Other players who qualified at Turfway hail from Louisville, Stamping Ground, and Lexington in Kentucky; Deerfield Beach, Holly Hill, and Dover in Florida; Wheeling, West Virginia; St. Louis, Mo.; Fort Ann., N.Y.; and Carol Stream, Ill.
Turfway has held annual qualifying contests since the national tournament began and has produced one national winner. Brian Troop of Barrie, Ontario, qualified at Turfway for the 2010 National Handicapping Tournament and won that year's $500,000 top national prize.