NHC Rundown: Players From 11 States Gain NHC Berths

Each week, the NTRA will provide a rundown of those who have qualified for the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) the previous weekend. Twenty-one players from 11 states and one Canadian province earned automatic entries into the 2022 NHC from last weekend’s tournaments at Canterbury Park, Lone Star Park, on Horseplayers.com, and through HorseTourneys. Shawn Damberger of Bismark, ND, qualified twice at Lone Star Park.
The NHC 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 websites, each of which sends its top qualifiers to the national finals. The 2021 NHC is slated to take place in the Bally’s Events Center from Aug. 27-29 with the 2022 NHC set for Jan. 28-30 at Bally’s.
Last weekend’s qualifiers, and their respective contest sites, are as follows:
Canterbury Park
Bruce Meyer, of Prior Lake, MN, has qualified for NHC2022.
Terry Jerge, of Altadena, CA, has qualified for NHC2022. Jerge’s best finish was in 2016 when he finished 27th and cashed for $15,200.
Jon Van Niel of Chatsworth, CA, has qualified for NHC2022.
Louis Melone of Aberdeen, NJ, has qualified for NHC2022.
Laura Arth of Alexandria, VA, has qualified for NHC2022 after getting her first seat in 2017.
Jeffrey Pesot of New York, NY, has qualified for January’s NHC.
Wendy Long of Surrey, British Columbia, now has two qualifying entries for the 2022 NHC after collecting her first spot three weeks ago on Horseplayers.com. On Sunday, Tapit’s Flashback came from well off the pace to win Belmont’s sixth race, and “paid a nice $24.20 for combined win-place” to help Long qualify again.
Ronald Tang of South Pasadena, CA, has qualified for his first NHC. In 2003, Tang got interested in horse racing when a friend invited him to Santa Anita Park. “I lived only 15 minutes away from the track but never went,” Tang recalls. “First day, I got hooked as I won about 50 bucks.” He credits his friend, Mike Somich, who also qualified this weekend (see below), with giving tournament play a try.
Tang’s key wagers last weekend came in races at Pimlico and at Belmont Park. He cashed on 7-1 Baby Yoda, a first-time starter at Pimlico, and like Wendy Long, Tang secured 8-1 Tapit’s Flashback closing strongly in the Belmont slop to help solidify his NHC berth.
Lone Star Park
Dellie “Al” Ford of Georgetown, TX earned his trip to the NHC.
Sam Sherman of Houston, TX has qualified for the NHC.
Shawn Damberger of Bismarck, ND, double-qualified on Sunday and Monday on what he described as “three great days at Lone Star Park.” The fun began in Sunday’s final race when Damberger played the “biggest exacta of my life” and hit it with Kitty’s Queen and Fancy All the Time.
On Monday, with his bankroll at about $3,000, the sixth race would prove critical. Damberger bet 30-1 Magna Punch, putting $20 across and wheeling him with the field. Magna Punch went gate-to-wire. An 80-1 shot, Where’s Fredo, finished second, and Damberger’s $1 exacta paid $2,250 to raise his bankroll to $12K. From there, he played conservatively and wound up finishing third. “I ended up finishing third on Monday after players went in heavy after a 23-1 shot that won the last race. If the bomb would not have won the last race I probably would have won. That is racing though and I’m just happy for a new experience in Vegas!”
Anthony Garafalo  of Loveland, OH, has qualified for NHC2022.
William Rendino of the Bronx, NY, gained his 2022 NHC berth. In 2020, finished 15th and cashed for $20,000.
Dylan Rossi  of Boca Raton, FL, is a first-time NHC qualifier.
Lawrence Kahlden of St. Petersburg, FL, has qualified for NHC2022. Kahlden has cashed three times in the Championships, taking home $28,000 and 13th place as his best finish.
John “Jeff” Farrar of Canterbury, CT, has qualified for the NHC in 2022. He finished 32nd in 2018 and collected $12,400. “I look forward to competing every year in the ‘main event’ of horse racing handicappers,” said Farrar. “It’s great to compete, but also to see so many people I have met through contests.” Farrar hit a $100 exacta in the third race at Lone Star on Monday to get rolling and then picked his spots to land a top 10 finish.
Michael Pirrung of Irvine, CA, has now qualified for NHC. He finished 37th in 2015 and cashed for $11,040.
Robert “Bob” Gianquitti of Lake Worth, FL, has now qualified.
Chris Inman of Houston, TX, has qualified for NHC.2022.
Michael Somich of Raleigh, NC, who has qualified for NHC2022, co-hosts the “Magic Mike Show” podcast, with Kurtis Kalleward, presented by the Racing Dudes.
“It feels amazing!, said Somich on getting back to the NHC. “Qualifying for NHC is one of my top priorities each year and since you are unable to buy directly into the tournament that day you lock up the seat is always a memorable one.”
On Saturday at Lone Star, after hitting a cold $100 exacta that paid $1,100, Somich was in seventh place going into the last race. He went “all-in” wagering $1,060 on the 3-year-old filly Jedediah, who closed from third in the stretch to win a maiden special weight. Jedediah returned $4,100 to Somich, which gave him the tournament and an NHC seat.
Corey Esquerre of Metarie, LA, has qualified for his first NHC. Esquerre grew up attending the races at the Fair Grounds and Jefferson Downs in New Orleans. “My father and grandfather loved the horses and my mom would pick us up from elementary school to catch the last couple of races at the track. Everyone teases us by saying that we could read a Racing Form before we could read a schoolbook.
Esquerre’s big wager came in Saturday’s first race at Lone Star, nailing 26-1 Therunawayrocket, who ran away with a 4-length win in a 6-furlong claiming race.
“I’m very excited about this,” said Esquerre about his NHC berth. “I look forward to being in Vegas in January. After all, I’ve never been to Vegas before.”

The post NHC Rundown: Players From 11 States Gain NHC Berths appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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