Monthly News & Updates

November, 2022

FTHA Member-Only NHC Qualifier Set for Jan. 14, 2023

As part of the FTHA partnership with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), current FTHA members are eligible to compete for free in an exclusive online qualifier for the $3,000,000-estimated National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), scheduled for March 10-12, 2023, in Las Vegas. The online qualifier, which will be held on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, includes a $400 airfare voucher and four night’s hotel stay at the site of the NHC in Las Vegas for the winner.

The NHC is the world’s richest handicapping tournament for horseplayers. The top qualifiers from a year-long series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments earn spots in the national finals. The winner will take home an estimated $800,000 and will be named the 2023 Horseplayer of the Year, to be honored at the 2024 Eclipse Awards.

The “FTHA NHC Handicapping Challenge” is an online qualifier consisting of mythical win-place bets on up to 10 Gulfstream races. To play:

  • Go to to register for the January 14, 2023, Florida THA NHC contest.
  • Click on the SIGN UP box at the top right-hand corner of the page. You will need to provide the information required.
  • You will receive an email to activate your account. Follow the instructions.
  • Return to the website and add one entry to your cart. Each FTHA member is entitled to one entry. There is no entry fee to play.
  • You can start making selections when the contest races are made available on Friday, Jan. 13. To start making selections, click on the View/Make Pick box. All selections must be made prior to post time for the first contest race.

This contest is exclusively for current FTHA members. The winner will be announced after a 48-hour audit period.

Santa's Enchanted Forest

A group of 66 Backstretch Workers and their families enjoyed a visit to Santa's Enchanted Forest in Miami. The trip was sponsored by FTHA and 1S/T RACING. We're thrilled to share a little holiday cheer with these hardworking folks!

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Turf Racing and Training Return to Gulfstream and Palm Meadows

After a 5 1/2-month hiatus, turf racing will return to Gulfstream Park on Thursday, Dec. 1. The turf training course at Palm Meadows reopened last month. The two courses were shut down over the summer and fall months to allow 1S/T Racing’s new Director of Turf Surfaces, Leif Dickinson, to get to work renovating the surfaces.

There are three turf races carded for the re-opening of the Gulfstream turf on Thursday, Dec. 1, and three more on Friday, Dec. 2. FTHA President Joe Orseno has Ha' Penny entered in Friday's feature, a $72,000 allowance test going 7 1/2 furlongs on the grass.

"It appears that Gulfstream has hired the right man for this project," Orseno said. "I walk the turf course regularly and the results are amazing. I hope the horsemen are pleased with the efforts that management has taken to try and give them the best possible turf course to run on." 

The Palm Meadows grass reopened Nov. 3, with training hours Thursday through Sunday from 10-10:30 a.m.

Trainer and FTHA Board member Patrick Biancone gave the renovated surface a solid thumbs up. "It looks good and the riders tell me it feels good, too," he said.

Trainer Nicholas Palmer also provided a positive review. "Honestly, I think Leif and his team did a phenomenal job," he said. "I was so excited to finally be able to get on it because I believe I have a barn full of grass horses and it did not disappoint. I think everyone did a fine job, and the break certainly helped!"

Gulfstream Park and Andy Belfiore Photos


The FTHA General Membership and Nominating Meeting and Annual Awards Dinner will be held at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, January 7, 2023. All members are invited!

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