Bobby Zen

Mike Gillum topped the field of 765 entries at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s 25th National Horseplayers Championship to take home the $800,000 grand prize and earn the Eclipse Award as the Horseplayer of the Year Sunday evening in Las Vegas.

After finishing day one in fifth place, Gillum found himself in the 81st spot with two races to go on day two. He jumped over a few people to qualify into the semi-final round in 64th place, barely inside the 10% cut line set at 77 entries.

When asked about his strategy going into Sunday’s final day of the competition, Gillum said, “My picks did not change since 6 a.m. this morning, I played exactly what I would have played regardless of which place I was in. I got lucky, it was just my day today.”

Racing has always been something Gillum, who operates a produce company in Indianapolis, Indiana, enjoyed, he said.

“It’s a passion of mine and has been for 20, 30 years. This is just the best,” Gillum said.

In only his second trip to the NHC, Gillum is the 25th individual to take home the grand prize at the handicapping contest.

When asked what this means to him, Gillum said, “I am just thinking about my family at home watching, I’m just so excited and happy. Truly I’m at a loss for words.”

The official top 10 finishers at the 2024 NHC and prize money won are: Mike Gillum, $800,000; Seth Morris, $250,000; Matthew Blanchet, $200,000; Lawrence Kahlden, $150,000; Daniel Kaplan, $125,000; Rob Henie, $85,000; Nicholas Shirilla, $80,000; TJ Sonde, $75,000; GT Nixon, $70,000; and Scott Cavalieri, $65,000.

“Horseplayers are such a pivotal part of the sport of Thoroughbred racing, and the NTRA is extremely proud to host this event to celebrate all their contributions every year to crown our annual champion,” said NTRA President and CEO Tom Rooney. “It’s incredible to see how the NHC has evolved in the 25 years since it began and really special to have so many dedicated horseplayers who work all year to qualify for this event. To have the 25th NHC, coupled with St. Patrick’s Day and the NCAA tournament weekend, has made for a weekend like no other. Congratulations to all who made it here this weekend, and especially to Mike Gillum for taking home the grand prize.”

The post Mike Gillum Wins NTRA National Horseplayers Championship appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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