From June 2 to Aug. 4, Meadowlands Racetrack handicappers, Jess Otten, Edison Hatter, Ken Warkentin, Dave Little and Gabe Prewitt will compete in the Battle of the Masterminds to crown the top handicapper.
Every race night, the contestants will be given $500 in “mythical battle money”, which they will proceed to wager on races 4-9 each night. Each handicapper’s winnings and losses are gathered and posted as soon as possible following Race 10.
The duty of a track handicapper is to use a combination of their own personal observation, connections with those in the industry and analysis of competitor’s past performances to determine how well they anticipate the horse will perform. In the battle, the handicappers must use their knowledge of the sport to come out on top and prove their success.
Each handicapper is allowed to pick a charity of their choice to receive their winnings based on the result of the contest. The handicapper who comes in first place will receive $1000 for their charity, second place will receive $500 and third through fifth place will receive $250.
Listed below are the charities each handicapper chose:
- Jess Otten: New Vocations
- Dave Little: Standardbred Retirement Foundation
- Gabe Prewitt: CBH Care
- Ken Warkentin: Harness Horse Youth Foundation
- Edison Hatter: Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program
But don’t think that the handicappers are the only ones who get to have all the fun. As every race night, there will be five barrels on the track, each one corresponding to a different handicapper. Guests can complete the entry form and deposit the slip into the barrel representing their chosen handicapper prior to Race 4. After Race 10, an entry from the barrel of the winning handicapper will be chosen at random to win a $200 betting voucher.
The biggest part of the battle, however, comes directly after it ends. On Aug. 5, the day after the battle has concluded, the winner will be announced. More importantly, Aug. 5 is Hambletonian Day, one of the biggest events in the world of live harness racing. The Hambletonian will be taking place at the Meadowlands Racetrack, with some of the world’s premier horses competing for the $1,000,000 purse.
On Hambletonian Day, 10 of the 19 winners from the season-long Battle will be selected during the Final Drawing. The first five names drawn will receive $200 betting vouchers, the sixth name will receive a $250 betting voucher, the seventh name receives a $300 betting voucher, the eighth name receives a $400 betting voucher, the ninth name receives a $500 betting voucher, and the tenth and final name drawn wins the $10,000 grand prize. The remaining nine names that were not selected will each receive a $100 betting voucher.