Stanley Bavlish, Michael Beychok, J. Randy Gallo, David Gutfreund, and Paul Matties Jr. have been selected for induction into the NTRA National Horseplayers Championship’s Hall of Fame, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today. The five esteemed handicappers represent the eighth class of NHC Hall of Fame inductees and will be recognized during the NHC Champions Dinner on Sunday evening at the conclusion of the 22nd NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Presented by Racetrack Television Network, Caesars Entertainment and Bally’s Las vegas.
Bavlish won the 2007 NHC and made the Final Table in 2016. Beychok won the 2012 NHC and is the event’s all-time leading money earner. Gallo was one of the “founding fathers” of the NHC while also serving as a tournament host through his Bettor Racing OTB and a Final Table participant in 2019. Gutfreund won the 2018 NHC Tour, has qualified 15 times, and boasts two top-10 finishes. Matties won the 2016 NHC and has qualified 13 times.
More on 2022 NHC Hall of Fame Class
Bavlish, of Frederick, Md., has remained among the most consistent and respected contest players since he won the 2007 NHC in his first year of qualifying. A three-time finisher in the top 10 percent at the NHC, Bavlish finished ninth at the Final Table in 2016. He is the longtime owner of multiple Subway restaurants and director of the Independent Purchasing Cooperative for Subway franchisees. Bavlish is a 14-time NHC qualifier, a member of the NHC Players’ Committee and an NHC Mentor.
“I am honored and humbled to be inducted into the NHC Hall of Fame,” said Bavlish. “I want to thank the NTRA for creating this event that I love. I also want to thank everyone that supported me with Hall of Fame votes.”
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Beychok, of Baton Rouge, La., became the first and only person to win $1 million at the NHC in 2012 when Glorious Dancer scored a nose victory in the final race of the contest to give him a one-dollar advantage, a life- changing payday, and an Eclipse Award as Horseplayer of the Year. Beychok, who later claimed Glorious Dancer and retired her to a farm in Louisiana, is a strong advocate for aftercare racehorse as well as horseplayers. A political consultant who also contributes picks as a public handicapper for The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Beychok is the NHC’s all-time leading money earner and a 12-time qualifier.
“I’m honored and humbled by this recognition,” said Beychok. “The NHC experience opened up new adventures and introduced me to lifelong friends. I’m proud to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Congratulations to a deserving class of inductees and thank you to all that voted for me and helped me earn this distinctive honor.”
Gallo, who passed away in November in Jupiter, Fla., at age 72, was not on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot and instead was unanimously inducted by the NHC Players’ Committee and the NTRA. A friend, mentor and advocate for all horseplayers and one of the founding fathers of the NHC, Gallo made the Final Table in 2019 and was a seven-time qualifier. The most well-known member of a horse-loving and gambling family synonymous with the NHC and contest play around the country, Gallo was a popular tournament host through his Bettor Racing OTB operation in South Dakota as well as a highly successful handicapper and gambler.
Said Gallo’s brother, and fellow handicapping contest player, Ross Gallo: “On behalf of my brother Randy, I wish to sincerely thank everyone at the NTRA for inducting him into the Hall of Fame. I know he would’ve been honored and humbled to He loved the NHC, but most of all he loved seeing all his friends and fellow handicappers.
Gutfreund, of Chicago, Ill., is one of the most accomplished horseplayers in the history of the NHC. He captured the 2018 NHC Tour after winning five contests in less than six months. A 15-time qualifier, Gutfreund has two top 10 finishes at the NHC and has finished in the top 20 four times. Gutfreund, who once won $90,000 on a 20-cent multi-race wager, also is a highly skilled card player with more than $1 million in career poker earnings.
“What an amazing induction class to be a part of with three outstanding NHC Champions along with the legendary Randy Gallo,” said Gutfreund. “Congrats to Stan, Michael, and Paul. I am very appreciative of this recognition.”
Matties, of Ballston Spa, NY, is widely regarded as one of the nation’s foremost handicappers. Part of a family deeply involved with horses and betting, Matties captured the 2016 NHC the same year his brother, Duke, finished fourth. He also won the $50,000 NHC Consolation in 2019. In addition to being a successful professional gambler, Matties is an original member of Beyer Associates, which produces speed figures for Daily Racing Form, a former Racing Times columnist, and founder of horseplayer services company NHPlays . Matties is a 13-time qualifier and formerly served on the NHC Players’ Committee. The Matties brothers have combined to win hundreds of multi-race wagers at racetracks from coast-to-coast and can be found every summer in their favorite spot in the “backyard” at Saratoga.
“I want to thank everyone associated with the NHC and the NTRA,” said Matties. “I also want to thank Steve Crist and everyone at the Daily Racing Form and elsewhere who had the early vision of a national championship for horseplayers. Competing against the best handicappers in the world is the ultimate challenge and I will forever be proud of winning the NHC and the consolation tournament. To me, horseplayers are the smartest and toughest people in the world and to be recognized by them in their premier community is a tremendous honor.”
More on the NHC Hall of Fame
Bavlish, Beychok, Gallo, Gutfreund and Matties join 14 past Hall of Fame inductees: Ray Arsenault (2021), Roger Cettina (2020), Steve Crist (2016), Richard Goodall (2020), Sally Goodall (2021), Chris Larmey ( 2018), Mike Mayo (2015), Ron Rippey (2015), Paul Shurman (2017), Trey Stiles (2019), Bryan Wagner (2019), Judy Wagner (2016), Steve Wolfson Sr. (2017), and Steve Wolfson Jr. (2018).
Honorees were chosen by their peers. A total of 693 NHC Tour members were eligible to vote and a total of 248 ballots were cast.
The main criteria for nomination to the NHC Hall of Fame are as follows:
- Competed in NHC-sanctioned tournaments;
- Played consistently well over an extended period of time;
- Gained the respect of peers; and
- Contributed to the overall growth and success of NHC tournament play, with indelible positive and lasting results.
The NTRA National Horseplayers Championship is presented by Racetrack Television Network, Caesars Entertainment and Bally’s Las Vegas. The Final Table is sponsored by Caesars Sportsbook and Global Tote, A BetMakers Company. Official partners include 1/ST BET, Daily Racing Form, EquinEdge, FanDuel Group, Four Roses Bourbon, NYRA Bets, Race Lens and TVG.
Outlets that held qualifiers to the 2022 NHC included Aqueduct, At the Races with Steve Byk, Bally’s Las Vegas, Belmont Park, Breeders’ Cup, Canterbury Park, Colonial Downs, Del Mar, Gulfstream Park, Hawthorne, Hialeah, Horseplayers.com, Horsetourneys .com, Indiana Grand, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Little Red Feather, Lone Star Park, Los Alamitos, Meadowlands, Monmouth Park, NTRA, NYRA Bets, South Florida HBPA, Santa Anita, Saratoga, Sport of Kings, Race Lens, Tampa Bay Downs, The Big One, TourneyBets, Treasure Island, TVG, Xpressbet.
To sign up for the NHC Tour, go to www.ntra.com/membership.
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