HANA Harness’ The Pen vs. The Chip -- The Road to the Breeders Crown Handicapping Challenge co-sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racetrack, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs -- kicks off this Saturday evening (April 28) at Yonkers Raceway.
The first round of the challenge features the entire Yonkers card including the $455,000 George Morton Levy Memorial final and the $297,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Pacing Series final.
By the conclusion of this contest on Breeders Crown night (Oct. 27) at Woodbine Racetrack, not only will we know if the pen is mightier than the computer chip, one handicapper will have bragging rights as being the champion handicapper.
However, as much as our eight handicappers want to be able to snare the title of top dog, there are some Standardbred horse rescue groups which will be cheering on the handicapping contestants.
In Canada, some racetracks that are part of the handicapping challenge will be making donations to their local Standardbred rescue group or the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society in honor of the overall challenge winner or the handicapper that has the highest Win ROI at the track’s challenge dates.
In the United States, not only are some racetracks in the contest offering donations to their local Standardbred rescue, some tracks will be making donations to a Standardbred rescue group named by the handicapper who is top dog at their track; there is at least $2,000 going to the rescue group selected by the overall challenge winner.
Each rescue selected either rescues exclusively or a significant number of Standardbreds. If a group rescues various breeds, the funds donated through this contest are to be dedicated towards the acquisition of Standardbreds through auction or their upkeep.
The rescue groups cheering on the handicappers are: Helping Hearts Equine Rescue, selected by Scott Alberg; Horse Lovers United, Inc., selected by Bob Zanakis; Horse Rescue United, selected by Mark McKelvie; Racer Pacers, selected by Matt Keller; Standardbred Retirement Foundation, selected by Earl Paulson and Trackmaster’s Chatsworth Consortium; Starfish Stable, selected by Bob Pandolfo and Ray Schnell.
Handicapper’s selections will be posted on the HANA Harness contest website before Saturday morning for those who want to see what the handicappers are selecting. While statistics will be kept on win wagers and exacta keys, the individual leg and overall challenge winner will be determined by the handicapper with the highest Win ROI percentage. Visit The Pen vs. The Chip Handicapper Challenge website for additional information, including future contest dates.
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