In the days leading up to the National Handicapping Championship (NHC) my Twitter feed was inundated with negative comments about the event.
The theme of the conversation was how poor the value is for those playing in the NHC, specifically how a large portion of the revenue taken in via the qualifiers was not returned in the prize pool.
While I respect the opinion of many of those commenters they were exaggerating, whether intentionally or unintentionally, just how much money was taken out of the potential prize pool.
I didn’t do an analysis of this years NHC financials but they are likely in-line with the analysis I did last year, which if you are interested in you can read about here.
I will concur that from a purely financial perspective the NHC is not a great value to most horseplayers, especially if you spend tens of thousands of dollars just to qualify.
However if you earn a seat via a free qualifier, at a zero takeout onsite qualifier or on points as I did the burden of the high takeout is slightly mitigated.
After my analysis last year I vowed to reduce my participation in high takeout online qualifiers significantly and I did.
I earned most of my points in two free qualifiers (one NTRA NHC Tour and one Del Mar Online), in a Horse Tourneys qualifier which I qualified for via a low cost feeder and in the Twinspires qualifier which has a single digit takeout rate and in which I earned a trip to the Horse Player World Series (which has a takeout rate of only 10%).
I didn’t play consistently in online qualifiers until December when I realized I had a good chance to qualify via tour points.
Again from a purely financial perspective qualifying for the NHC isn’t a great investment of your time or money but there is value to be found.