The Special goes to Vegas (sort of)

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A day after a field of roughly 700 entries starts the three-day challenge of NTRA National Horseplayers Championship at Treasure Island in Las Vegas, three members of The Saratoga Special and This Is Horse Racing editorial team are signed up for the fourth annual Tito’s $10,000 NTRA/NHC Charity Challenge.

Our handicappers won’t be in taking in the sights and sounds of Vegas, however, as the Charity Challenge is an online contest that features about 40 media members, industry officials, racing personalities, sports figures and sponsor representatives.

The contingent is Joe and Sean Clancy, The Special’s co-founders, co-publishers and co-editors; and Tom Law, The Special’s managing editor.

The Special’s trio and the other players will make selections from the eight races that are the mandatory races on the second day of the far more serious NHC. The races, with post times (ET) are:

  • Tampa Bay Downs. Race 6. 2:46 p.m.
  • Aqueduct. Race 6. 3:30 p.m.
  • Santa Anita Park. Race 3. 4:00 p.m.
  • Gulfstream Park. Race 10. 4:43 p.m.
  • Gulfstream Park. Race 11. 5:16 p.m.
  • Gulfstream Park. Race 12. 5:49 p.m.
  • Golden Gate Fields. Race 7. 6:45 p.m.
  • Santa Anita Park. Race 9. 7:00 p.m.

The format of the Charity Challenge is “Pick & Pray,” meaning all selections are made prior to the first race of the contest and locked in for the duration. Participants accumulate a mythical bankroll based on a $2 Win/Place bet on a single horse in each race, with payout caps of 20-1 to win and 10-1 to place.

Familiar names in the Charity Challenge include Tom Durkin, Ramon Dominguez, Bo Derek, Rashard Lewis, Nick Luck, Eddie Olczyk, Bob Neumeier, Larry Collmus, Mike Penna, Jude Feld, Steve Byk, Caton Bredar, Simon Bray and Pete Fornatale.

The winner of the Charity Challenge will have $10,000 donated in their names to three different causes – the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance ($5,000), a nonprofit of the winner’s choosing ($2,500) and a nonprofit to be determined by Tito’s ($2,500).

A full scoreboard will be updated regularly at, where fans and players can also find each day’s contest race menu and news updates.