Monmouth Park. Photo by The Racing Biz.

Monmouth Park. Photo by The Racing Biz.

From a Monmouth Park release

Monmouth Park Racetrack proved itself a stepping stone to an Eclipse Award once again as 74-year-old John O’Neil captured first prize in the recently-completed DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) at Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas.

O’Neil, a Monmouth Park handicapping contest regular, finished best of 606 entries and will be crowned Horseplayer of the Year at the 2016 Eclipse Awards in addition to taking home first prize of $800,000.

The Huntington Station, N.Y. resident competed in five Monmouth Park contests during 2014, finishing third in both the April 5 Simulcast Series Challenge qualifier and the July 6 $200 Monmouth/Woodbine event.

In addition to O’Neil’s winning performance, Monmouth Park was also represented by second-place finisher Ken Jordan – who alternated on the lead with O’Neil for most of the final day.  Jordan, a participant in nearly every Monmouth Park contest over the past several years, took home $250,000 for his runner-up NHC finish.

Elsewhere in the final standings were Monmouth Park contest regulars Joe Scanio (6th) and Phil Lam (12th).  Additionally, fourth-place finisher Joe Muzio, eighth-place finisher Robert Pontani, Jr., and ninth-place finisher Brian Troop all played in at least one Monmouth Park contest in 2014.

No racetrack in the country awarded more seats (22) to the NHC in 2014 than Monmouth Park.  The Oceanport track will offer 27 NHC seats to contest players throughout the course of 2015 – topped off by the 10-spot NHC Super Qualifier on Saturday, August 29.