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The 7th National Handicapping Championship
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Ron Rippey - Grand Prize Winner of the NTRA Handicapping Championship

Brisnet member Ron Rippey claims the 7th Annual NTRA National Handicapping Championship

Long time New Jersey Star-Ledger public handicapper and member Ron Rippey claims the seventh annual National Handicapping Championship. The eventual winner surged late on day two to capture the title of NTRA Handicapper of the Year on the final race of the contest. The dramatic conclusion was preceded by a dismal start to the day. After missing his first eight plays on day two, Rippey listened to the sage advice of his wife to go with his convictions and play the horses he liked. Rippey rallied to hit four of his last five plays concluding with 17/1 longshot Alluring Bel.

The winner plans on donating a portion of the $250,000 grand prize money to Healing the Children, a charity for impoverished children in Third World countries as well as to his church. A small chunk will be also set aside for his grandchildren.

Tournament Strategy

"The night before each tournament I try to narrow each race down to three horses. Typically, I will go with the longer price of three horses," exclaimed Rippey. "If all three horses dip below 5/1 I skip the race. The key is to be disciplined -stick with the horses you like and don't reach. Do not be frightened of the toteboard. When you have an opportunity to pull the trigger on price, go for it - especially, late in the contest. Most contests are won or lost in the last couple of races so it is important to be aggressive."

"For contests I steer clear of claiming races. Claimers tend to take turns beating each other and rarely yield a price. I also avoid looking at the morning line until after I have handicapped."


"I like to consider myself a trip handicapper," continued Rippey, "but when in doubt I will lean on good trainers. I also look for certain angles. I have found horses dropping in class and getting the service of a better jock win at very high percentage. I always bet overseas shippers that show ability in their stateside debut but fail to win. In turf and slop races I tend to over-emphasize pedigrees. Class really shines through in these situations. In maiden races I am more concerned with consistent works than I am with speedy works. A consistent workout tab indicates to me the horse is healthy."

Mark Lowe - Second Place

Mark Lowe

Lowe tied for the lead on day one. The strong start was good for $4,000. However the success of the first day quickly gave way to a shaky start on day two. The second place finisher suffered from a battle of nerves after several of his optional plays scratched. Scrambling to find some replacement plays, he inadvertently missed a mandatory contest race. Determined not to miss another race, Lowe put in the remainder of his mandatory contest plays including longshot winner Alluring Bel in the final contest race. The victory by Alluring Bel catapulted Lowe into second place, plus $100,000 in prize money.

On Tournament Strategy

"Leading up to the tournament I re-read several articles in the library and Tim Holland's article in the Handicapper's Edge. It all proved to be invaluable as the contest unfolded," stated Lowe.

"Knowing the format of the contest will help you determine your strategy for the tournament. It can really cost you if you are not familiarized with the rules."


"I look for horses that are showing improvement in their (BRIS) pace figures. Horses trending upwards to their best pace figures tend to be sitting on a big race."

"I use Ultimate Past Performances with Comments in combination with the Handicapper's Report. A good example of how these reports work well together was Alluring Bel. The first time starter's (Ultimate) sire and dam stats were strong and she had earned a positive grade in her most recent work in the (HR) Daily Clocker report."

"On day one Tim Holland's (Handicapper's Edge) article on ten 'A' turf sires was instrumental in my selection of longshot bomb [$92 winner] Add Heat. He had written that Unusual Heat was a turf sire to watch. It proved to be the deciding factor in my selection of Add Heat in the contest," explained Lowe.

Mel Moser - 3rd Place

The difference between second and third place in the National Handicapping Championship was one dollar. The difference cost Mel Moser $50,000.

Tournament Strategy

"Based on the previous championships I knew I needed to have around $240 bankroll to have a shot at winning it all. The key was not to play my way out of it on day one. Fortunately, on day one I finished with $120."

"Shoot for a cap horse and back it up with medium price longshots -- 7/1 or to 8/1."


"I look for speed horses at the right price. Horses ignored by the public that are returning to form or the right conditions, surface."

"Half the battle being prepared for a contest is being organized. Ultimate Past Performances are consistently available online first."

"I use BRIS Prime Power figures to eliminate races," explained Moser. "I am looking for races where the Prime Power numbers are contentious. The comments are very helpful. Often they point out something I have overlooked a horse coming off a long layoff." Member Recap

Overall Brisnet members made an impressive showing in the National Handicapping Championship. Thirteen members placed in the top 20 and six were in the top 10. In all, thirteen members came home with prize money totaling $464,500.


Placing   Name   Prize Money
1st   Ron Rippey Jr.   $250,000
2nd   Mark Lowe*   $104,000
3rd   Mel Moser   $50,000
5th   Cheryl Britt   $15,000
8th   Bob Bandzwolek   6,000
9th   Richard Murray*   8,000
11th   Steve Wolfson, Sr.**   $7,500
12th   William Gonsoulin   $2,500
13th   William Haliziw*   $6,500
14th   John Wilhelm   $2,500
15th   William Downes   $2,500
17th   John Pappalardo   $2,500
18th   Kenneth Paszkiewicz   $2,500
    Robert Chandler**   $5,000
    Total   $464,500

* Daily Prize Winner
** Team Prize Winner

Team, Tim Catlett, Leo Haukkala and Mike Rogers fared well on day one before faltering on the final day. Better luck next year! is now home to all seven Handicappers of the Year. Brisnet members have now claimed winnings well over 1.5 million dollars! congratulates all its members who were winners this year and wishes them continued success in the future. Look for details soon regarding our upcoming online tournaments.

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