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George Henning Wins NHC Berth in the September 14-15 Arlington Qualifier

Arlington Park Communications | 03/24/2014 #

Has Huge Saturday and Zero Sunday

For George Henning it was a case of ‘make all you can when you can’ because you don’t know what the future holds.  In his case, Henning was able to accumulate an ultimately unbeatable bankroll balance on Saturday and his fortunes reversed on Sunday.  Not an unusual chain of events when it comes to wagering.

“I hit the first daily double on Saturday which put me in a comfort zone early,” Henning began.  “It was a little hairy after the first race because my horse (Sunshine Caras, 7-1) had to survive a foul claim. 

“My horse held up, then my horse in the second race (St. Lewis Slew, 9-1) also won, giving me the $175 double, twice,” continued Henning.

Then came a dry spell.

“I couldn’t hit anything in the middle part of the card, but I made up for that when we got to the late pick four,” Henning revealed.  “My big hit was that pick four where I used just four combinations.  The pick four paid $217 for 50 cents and I had it for $2, so that was the biggest bump-up in my bankroll.”

Henning didn’t stop there.  “Since I liked my pick four horses so much, I also bet the daily doubles and pick threes within the four races that made up the pick four.   The cumulative total of those winnings, added to my pick four and early double, got me to my Saturday total bankroll of $1,933.20.”

The rules of the two-day contest required each contestant to bet $300 on each day.  Therefore, Henning turned his initial $300 Saturday bankroll into more than a 6-1 return.  That’s before his bonus.  By posting the highest bankroll for day one, Henning earned a bonus of $1,000.  That boosted his return on his money to almost 10-1.

Beginning day two of the contest, Henning was in the lead, but not comfortably so.  The second-ranking contestant, after Saturday, had a bankroll of $1,422.80. 

“I knew that, with a bankroll of $1,400 plus his $300 Sunday bankroll, the number two person would be coming after me, and was in good position to do so,” Henning stated.  “Actually, realistically, I understood that everyone would be coming after me, refreshed with the Sunday $300 added to whatever they carried over from Saturday.”

That is the correct analysis.  If one contestant can run up to a $1,900 total in one day, any other player, or players, can also do so.  Or more.  A flat second day for the leader, and a big second day for someone else, can change the standings.  As homespun philosopher Yogi Berra so famously said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

“I did have that flat day,” Henning explained.  “I couldn’t hit a thing all Sunday, and that’s why my bankroll slid to $1,891.  I actually lost my $300 Sunday bankroll, plus a little more.  I was determined not to give back any more than I had to.”

But those chasing Henning couldn’t get any traction, either.  For example, the contestant in second place after day one also backslid on Sunday, although he still ended up with a profit for the contest.

For his win, Henning is rewarded by Arlington with a paid entry into the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) to be held in Las Vegas in January, 2014.  The prize package includes hotel accommodations and a travel voucher.

First prize for the NHC is $750,000.  The 2013 tournament also paid cash prizes down through the 40th finisher.

“I’m really looking forward to the NHC,” offered Henning.  “I’ve only dabbled in handicapping contests in the past, but you’re going be seeing me in Arlington’s contests a lot more in the future.  Now I see how possible it is to turn just one good day into something much bigger.”  George Henning is proof of that.

Your next chance to turn a good day into an Arlington-paid trip to the NHC is this coming weekend, September 21-22.  Another two-day qualifier, just like the one Henning won, takes place at Arlington’s Trackside OTB in Villa Park, 105 East North Avenue.

For more details, read my blog story September to Remember, for Handicappers by clicking here

Questions?  Email me at  I’ll get back to you right away.

To see the final standings for last weekend’s NHC qualifier, click here.


M. Scott McMannis

  • Handicapping Seminar and Contest Host, Arlington Park
  • Midwest Correspondent, The HorsePlayer Magazine
  • Owner and Publisher, The McMannis Speed Figure & Trip Note Service Newsletter,
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