The Special heads to Las Vegas (ish)

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No, you should not expect any issues of the Las Vegas Special anytime soon. But do expect to see three members of the team behind This Is Horse Racing and The Saratoga Special again among the competitors for the sixth annual Runhappy/NTRA National Horseplayer’s Championship Charity Challenge presented by Tito’s Handmade Vodka Saturday.

Joe Clancy and Sean Clancy, co-founders, co-publishers and co-editors of ST Publishing Inc., and Tom Law, ST Publishing’s managing editor, are among the field of about 60 journalists, analysts and personalities that will compete for the $5,000 charitable prize in the Challenge.

The winner will have a $2,500 donation in their name to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and the other $2,500 will go to the winner’s charity of choice.

Breeders’ Cup also added a few prizes for the players. The Charity Challenge winner will receive a $500 credit on to use all year to qualify for next year’s NHC or the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. The runner-up will receive a $250 credit and third will receive a $100 credit.

The last five winners – Dawn Lupul, Ed DeRosa, Ellis Starr, Matt Bernier and Bob Neimeier – are among the contestants this year. Others include Mike Penna, Jim Mulvihill, John Engelhardt, Michael Blowen, Frank Angst, Joe Nevills, Mike Battaglia, Lesley Visser, Jim McIngvale, Chris Fallica, Ramon Dominguez, Eddie Olczyk, Gabby Gaudet, Kenny Rice, Briney Eurton, Acacia Courtney, Nick Luck, Laffit Pincay III, Jay Privman, Dan Tordjman and Jennie Rees.

The Special’s trio and the other players will make selections from the eight races determined by the contest organizers. The races, with post times (ET) are:

• Gulfstream Park. Race 4. 1:34 p.m.
• Gulfstream Park. Race 5. 2:04 p.m.
• Gulfstream Park. Race 7. 3:04 p.m.
• Aqueduct. Race 6. 3:25 p.m.
• Tampa Bay Downs. (Suncoast Stakes) Race 9. 4:29 p.m.
• Tampa Bay Downs. (Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes) Race 10. 4:59 p.m.
• Santa Anita Park. Race 7 (Grade 3 Thunder Road Stakes). 6:31 p.m.
• Golden Gate Fields. Race 8. 7:17 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.