LAS VEGAS (Monday, January 19, 2015) – Mike Mayo, a National Handicapping Championship (NHC) mainstay and longtime chairman of the NHC Players’ Committee, and 2006 Champion Ron Rippey have been elected to the inaugural class of the National Handicapping Championship (NHC) Hall of Fame, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today.
Mayo and Rippey will be inducted at the NHC Champions Dinner on Sunday, January 25, at the conclusion of the 16th Daily Racing Form/NTRA NHC Presented by Racetrack Television Network, Sovereign Stable and Treasure Island Las Vegas, set for this weekend, Friday to Sunday, at the Treasure Island.
Mayo, a native of Richardson, Texas, was an accomplished tournament player and longtime chairman of the NHC Players’ Committee. He played an integral role in the growth and development of the NHC and was instrumental in the establishment of the NHC Tour and the expansion of the event to three days and a Final Table format. Mayo passed away September 18, 2014, at the age of 60, at his home in Texas.
Rippey, a resident of Wayne, N.J., was the 2006 NHC Champion and an 11-time qualifier. A longtime public handicapper for the Newark Star-Ledger, Rippey won multiple tournaments and excelled at all formats throughout his contest playing career. Rippey passed away on August 26, 2014, at the age of 70, while being treated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
“Both Mike and Ron left indelible marks on the National Handicapping Championship and, through it, contributed to the widespread promotion of Thoroughbred racing in general,” said NTRA President and CEO Alex Waldrop in announcing the inaugural Hall of Fame class.
The inaugural Hall of Fame inductees were chosen by the NTRA after consultation with the NHC Players’ Committee. In future years, nominations will be accepted and a slate of finalists will be announced. Each year, as many as two individuals from the list of finalists will be elected by the NHC Hall of Fame Council consisting of existing NHC Hall of Fame members, a panel of media, the NHC Players’ Committee, and selected tournament operators.
The main criteria for the NHC Hall of Fame are as follows:
· Competed in NHC-sanctioned tournaments;
· Played consistently well over a period of time;
· Gained the respect of peers;
· Or, for tournament players and non-tournament horseplayers, contributed to the overall growth and success of NHC tournament play, with indelible positive and lasting results.
In its 16th year, the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship is the most important tournament of the year for horseplayers and is the culmination of a year-long series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments conducted by racetracks, casino race books, off-track betting facilities and horse racing and handicapping Web sites, each of which sends its top qualifiers to the national finals. Each year, the NHC winner joins other human and equine champions as an honoree at the Eclipse Awards. In addition to the founding title sponsor, the NHC is presented by Racetrack Television Network, Treasure Island Las Vegas and Sovereign Stable.