New Yorker wins NHC tour; eligible for $2 million bonus at finals

Jan 10th, 2012 | By TrackSide View | Category: NTRA Releases

NTRA release

Paul Shurman, a 57-year-old attorney from Dix Hills, N.Y., rode the strength of three wins and two second-place finishes to capture the 2011 crown as Daily Racing Form NHC Tour Champion and a $75,000 first-place prize. Should Shurman capture the title later this month at the Jan. 27-28 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) finals at Treasure Island Las Vegas, he will receive a $2 million bonus in addition to that event’s estimated first prize of $1,000,000.

Shurman finished first, second or third in an incredible 10 different qualifying tournaments during 2011, though only his top five finishes counted for scoring purposes. He finished the contest year with 13,200 points. Wayne Collier (12,675 points) of Slidell, La., finished in second place, good for $25,000. Third was Christopher Skotz (11,775) of Campbell, Calif., who won an NHC Tour prize of $15,000; finishing fourth and earning $7,500 was Gaylord Grundy (11,600) of Airdrie, Alberta, Canada.  And checking in fifth for a $2,500 payout was Mark Streiff (10,350) of Mission Viejo, Calif.

“Winning the NHC Tour is certainly the highlight of my handicapping career,” said Shurman.  “Many of the most respected handicappers in North America are Tour members and compete for the Tour championship.  It is very gratifying to know I can be competitive with some of the best and that on this occasion, I was fortunate enough to come out on top. Playing in handicapping tournaments and on the Tour has not only helped me hone my handicapping skills, but most importantly, has led to many friendships that I believe will last a lifetime.”

Should Shurman go on to win the NHC later this month at Treasure Island, he will be in line for a $3 million payday ($1 million grand prize plus $2 million bonus as NHC Tour winner).

“There will be added pressure at Treasure Island, but not so much from the money at stake as from the added attention,” said Shurman. “If I have a bad first day, people will say, ‘Hey, the guy who won the Tour hasn’t hit a thing yet.’ This will be my 10th NHC, and the best I ever finished was third, so I have a good appreciation of how hard it is to win—especially this year with twice as many contestants as in previous years. My main goal going in is to just be in the hunt on the second day.”

More than 4,500 NHC Tour members participated in 2011 handicapping qualifiers. Treasure Island will host a “Last Chance” qualifier on January 25 that will offer the final five berths for the January 27-28 NHC where 500 contestants will compete for a first prize of $1 million and a total estimated prize pool of $1.675 million, including cash and prizes.  But that Last Chance qualifier on January 26 will not award NHC Tour points.

The NHC Tour is a yearlong bonus series offering additional prize money and qualifying berths to the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship. Tour members receive NHC Tour points for top finishes in NHC qualifying events held during the year. In addition to potential prize money and berths in the NHC, benefits for NHC Tour members include automatic enrollment in the Horseplayers’ Coalition. The Coalition seeks legislative and regulatory solutions to tax and business issues that impact pari-mutuel racetracks and their customers and provides grass roots support for the NTRA’s lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. Tour members also are automatically eligible to participate in NTRA Advantage, offering preferred pricing on products and services from leading suppliers, including John Deere, Sherwin-Williams, OfficeDepot and OfficeMax. Registration for the 2012 NHC Tour will begin shortly.

In its 13th year, the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship is the most important tournament of the year for horseplayers and is the culmination of a year-long series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments conducted by racetracks, casino race books, off-track betting facilities and horse racing and handicapping Web sites, each of which sends its top qualifiers to the national finals. Each year, the NHC winner joins other human and equine champions as an honoree at the Eclipse Awards. In addition to the founding title sponsor, the NHC is presented by Treasure Island Las Vegas and Sovereign Stable.

The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horse racing interests consisting of leading thoroughbred racetracks, owners, breeders, trainers, horseplayers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity of horse racing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on the NTRA web site, NTRA.com.

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