As if Las Vegas wasn’t already awash in March Madness, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Wednesday it’s moving the 2023 National Horseplayers Championship from January to March.
Next year’s NHC will run from March 10-12 at the rebranded Horseshoe Las Vegas, the hotel formerly known as Bally’s.
That weekend precedes the beginning of the 2023 NCAA Tournament by a week. Las Vegas became the capital of conference basketball tournaments this year as the Pac-12, Big West, Mountain West, West Coast Conference, and Western Athletic Conference all held their men’s and women’s tournaments there.
It’s fair to say March Madness 2023 will be even bigger than it was this year. as the NHC will take in most — if not all — of the same tracks it did in January. That means NHC competitors will get a smorgasbord of races at Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Oaklawn Park, Santa Anita Park, and Tampa Bay Downs.
Same hotel, new name
“We’re excited to bring everyone back together in Las Vegas for all the excitement of the NHC,” NTRA President & CEO Tom Rooney said in a statement. “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 NHC is the most prestigious handicapping tournament in the world. Its winner earns an Eclipse Award as Horseplayer of the Year, along with a six-figure payday. This year’s winner, David Harrison, a real estate appraiser from Webster, NY, won $725K out of the $3.5 million pool.
To do that, Harrison bested 508 other competitors from around the world and 643 total entries. Contestants are allowed a maximum of two entries provided they qualify in one of the dozens of sanctioned local tournaments at racetracks, casino race books, OTB betting facilities, and online sites.
There is no NHC buy-in. Every competitor had to win their way in.
Players cashing at this year’s NHC needed to finish in the top 64. That earned a $10,000 check. Making the final table Sunday guaranteed everyone there $50,000.