NHC Shakes Up Schedule: Combines Forces with March Madness 2023 for Vegas Showdown

The National Horseplayers Championship Moves to March in Las Vegas

In an exciting announcement, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) revealed that the 2023 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) will be moving from its traditional January schedule to March. This change not only reflects a shift in timing but also introduces a new venue for the event, which will now take place at the rebranded Horseshoe Las Vegas, formerly known as Bally’s.

March Madness Meets Horse Racing

The decision to reschedule the NHC to March has strategic significance, as it aligns the event with the start of the NCAA Tournament, known as “March Madness.” By selecting a weekend that precedes the basketball extravaganza, Las Vegas, already a hotspot for sports enthusiasts during this time, will become an even greater hub of excitement. This year, conferences like Pac-12, Big West, Mountain West, West Coast Conference, and Western Athletic Conference all hosted their men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in the city, making it a must-visit destination for fans.

The convergence of March Madness and the NHC promises to take the electrifying atmosphere to new heights, with horse racing aficionados and college basketball fans flocking to Las Vegas for an unforgettable experience.

An Expanded Roster of Tracks

As the NHC makes its debut in March, participants will be treated to an extensive lineup of races, featuring some of the most esteemed tracks in the country. Competitors will have the opportunity to wager on exhilarating races at Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Oaklawn Park, Santa Anita Park, and Tampa Bay Downs.

From the excitement of the dirt tracks to the thrill of the turf, the NHC in March will present a smorgasbord of racing action, catering to every betting preference and providing unparalleled opportunities for participants to showcase their handicapping skills.

The Horseshoe Las Vegas: The Ideal Setting for the NHC

The NTRA’s President and CEO, Tom Rooney, expressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming NHC at the Horseshoe Las Vegas. In a statement, Rooney conveyed, “The Horseshoe Las Vegas feels like it was made for this event, and we’re looking forward to the best NHC we’ve ever had.” The new venue aims to enhance the overall experience, offering participants and spectators alike a one-of-a-kind atmosphere for the championship.

Renowned as the most prestigious handicapping tournament worldwide, the NHC not only crowns the Horseplayer of the Year with an Eclipse Award but also rewards the winner with a substantial six-figure payday. The fierce competition witnessed in this event attracts handicappers from all corners of the globe, vying for their chance to claim victory.

The Journey to the NHC

Earning a coveted spot in the NHC is no easy feat. Participants must qualify by excelling in one of the numerous sanctioned local tournaments held at racetracks, casino race books, off-track betting facilities, or online platforms. With a maximum of two entries permitted per competitor, the NHC ensures that every contender has earned their place.

This year’s NHC, held in January, featured over 500 competitors from around the world and a total of 643 entries. The intense battle of handicapping prowess culminated in David Harrison, a real estate appraiser from Webster, NY, emerging as the victor. Harrison walked away with an impressive $725,000 from the $3.5 million prize pool, solidifying his status as the year’s top horseplayer.


The move of the National Horseplayers Championship to March in Las Vegas introduces an exciting chapter for both horse racing enthusiasts and college basketball fans. The NHC’s alignment with March Madness brings together two thrilling events in a vibrant setting, generating an atmosphere of unparalleled excitement. With an expanded roster of prestigious tracks and the newly-renamed Horseshoe Las Vegas as the host venue, the 2023 NHC promises to deliver an unforgettable experience for participants and spectators alike.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can anyone participate in the National Horseplayers Championship?

Participation in the National Horseplayers Championship requires qualifying in one of the sanctioned local tournaments held at racetracks, casino race books, off-track betting facilities, or online platforms. There is no direct buy-in to the NHC; every competitor must earn their spot.

2. What is the significance of moving the NHC to March?

By moving the NHC to March, it coincides with the start of the NCAA Tournament, commonly known as “March Madness.” This alignment creates an exciting fusion of horse racing and college basketball events, offering an extraordinary experience for sports enthusiasts.

3. How does the NHC determine the Horseplayer of the Year?

The winner of the National Horseplayers Championship is awarded the title of Horseplayer of the Year. This prestigious honor is accompanied by an Eclipse Award, representing the highest recognition in the field of handicapping.

4. How many tracks will be featured in the expanded NHC lineup?

The NHC in March will offer competitors the opportunity to wager on races at Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Oaklawn Park, Santa Anita Park, and Tampa Bay Downs. This extensive roster of tracks ensures participants have a diverse range of races to choose from.

5. Can participants enter multiple times in the NHC?

The NHC allows competitors a maximum of two entries, provided they have qualified through one of the sanctioned local tournaments. This gives handicappers a chance to showcase their skills through multiple entries, increasing their chances of success in the championship.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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