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The 3rd National Handicapping Championship
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The 3rd National Handicapping Championship members once again had a powerful impact in the 3rd annual National Handicapping Championship held January 25 -26, 2002 in Las Vegas, which offered total prizes of $212,000. Highlighted by the winning Keeneland team as well as four of the top 10 finishers overall, Brisnet members took home more than $37,000 in prize money.

The Winning Keeneland team (from left to right) Don Alvey, Tony Martin, Rich Nilsen and Tim Holland
The first place team prize of $20,000 went to the four members of Team Keeneland: Don Alvey, Tim Holland, Tony Martin, and Rich Nilsen. Three of the four had previously competed in the National Handicapping Championship, but all four had one thing in common - each one is a member of That experience coupled with access to the powerful Brisnet reports led Team Keeneland to an easy victory. The four teammates had a combined bankroll of $506.10, which was $28 ahead of Team Suffolk Downs.

"The contest format [in Vegas] makes it difficult for someone to win based on sheer luck," said Maggie Johnson, Keeneland handicapping contests. "A player has to be a very good handicapper to place, much less win in this contest. We're thrilled for the Keeneland team. They obviously are very good handicappers."

Nilsen, the lead player on the winning team, took home a total of $9,000 in earnings by amassing a bankroll of $161.90. Nilsen missed the daily prize on day one by $.80 to eventual Handicapper of the Year Herman Miller, but still earned $2,000 for the strong start. In addition to the $5,000 team prize, Nilsen earned another $2,000 for finishing eighth overall.
"As always, I relied on the Ultimate Past Performances to identify horses with a hidden advantage," explained Nilsen, who is also Director of Marketing for Bloodstock Research. "Once you learn how to apply the BRIS Pace, Class and Speed Ratings into your handicapping, your results dramatically improve. I'm confident when I play these handicapping tournaments that I'm using information that the majority of the public refuses to take advantage of."

The top finisher overall was Sid Weiner, who earned $5,000 for his outstanding fourth place result.

Rich Nilsen, 8th, with Penthouse models
"To get so close and just miss is frustrating but that's horse racing," explained Weiner. "For the contest I concentrated on races from Southern California, the mandatory races and maiden races in that order. I am looking for horses that hold a s peed advantage. On turf races I look for horses that come from off the pace. The nice thing about turf races is track bias doesn't come into play like it does on the dirt. There are certain factors you can't control; what trip you get, instructions to the jockey and how the horse feels...I really enjoy all the BRIS publications like Track Stats and your past performances. In fact Southern California Track Stats helped pick out a bomb on the last day."

Another Brisnet member, David Brownfield, who qualified at Hoosier Park, had a strong showing. Finishing third on day one, Brownfield ended day two with a $164.60 bankroll, good enough for seventh overall. He earned $3,000 for his efforts.

Brisnet member Sid Weiner, 4th

"I really thought I had a chance to win it," said Brownfield. "I have a three part strategy when handicapping horses. I rely 30-percent on past performances, 30-percent on connections (owners, jockeys & trainers), and 40-percent on horses' looks on the track. I factor in track bias and post position a little bit, but I mainly focus on how the horse looks. If the horse looks fit and ready, I'll bet on it. Go with your instincts and don't change your mind. My strategy for the Championship was to try to get ahead early and hold on. Unfortunately, I ran out of picks at the end. Next year that won't happen. I'll save races for the finish."

The last two Handicappers of the Year, Steve Walker and Judy Wagner, are also Brisnet members and both competed again this time. Walker finished with a $112.60 bankroll, while Wagner earned $54.60.

With another successful run in the biggest handicapping event of the year, members have won nearly $250,000 in the three years the event has been held.

The upcoming $25,000 Online Handicapping Challenge will be held Sept. 28th through Oct. 19th. Register FREE today at!

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