Twin Spires Club 'Million Dollar Bonus Tour' Qualifiers Bid for $1 Million Bonus in National Handicapping Championship

Recognition as racing’s official “Handicapper of the Year” and a huge cash prize are on the line for 255 handicappers who will gather in Las Vegas next week to compete in the eighth annual $850,000 Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championship, but the stakes are even higher for seven handicappers who qualified for the championship during stops on Churchill Downs Incorporated’s (“CDI”) Twin Spires Club “Million Dollar Bonus Tour.”

A victory in Las Vegas would make any of the seven an instant millionaire, as they would earn a $1 million bonus for sweeping both their Twin Spires Club qualifying tournament and the National Handicapping Championship. The bonus would be in addition to the $400,000 top prize awarded to the winner of the championship.

Along with the bonus, the “Million Dollar Bonus Tour” qualifier who also wins the National Handicapping Championship will receive a striking trophy created by internationally acclaimed glass artist Ken vonRoenn Jr., president of Louisville-based Architectural Glass Art.

The DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship is scheduled for Jan. 26-27 at Bally’s Las Vegas. The seven “Million Dollar Bonus Tour” qualifiers who will enter that competition (with hometown and the track at which they qualified) are as follows:

  •  Phil Crone, New Albany, Ind. (Churchill Downs)
  •  Jeff Daich, Opa Locka, Fla. (Calder Race Course)
  •  John Pappalardo, Staten Island, N.Y. (Ellis Park)
  •  William O’Neal, Centerville, Ohio (Hoosier Park)
  •  Dennis Perillo, Elk Grove Village, Ill. (Arlington Park)
  •  Myles Richards, Pembroke Pines, Fla. (Calder Race Course)
  •  David Stiles, Houston, Texas (Fair Grounds Race Course)

To be eligible for the $1 million bonus, the winners of the “Million Dollar Bonus Tour” events were required to be registered members of the Twin Spires Club prior to those qualifying contests. Membership in the Twin Spires Club is free.

Churchill Downs representative Phil Crone, a 21-year-old resident of New Albany, Ind., will be the youngest handicapper taking part in this year’s championship. His older brother David will also be attending by virtue of finishing second in the qualifying tournament at Ellis Park, although David will not be eligible for the $1 million bonus.

“We are delighted with the response to our ‘Bonus Tour,’ which has increased awareness of the Twin Spires Club throughout the CDI family of racetracks and beyond,” said Keith Darby, senior director of marketing for Churchill Downs Incorporated. “We wish the best of luck to our seven ‘Tour’ winners who are chasing the $1 million bonus and to all of the handicappers bidding for victory in the National Handicapping Championship.”

The tournament format for the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship will require players to earn the highest bankroll possible based on 15 mythical $2 win-and-place wagers on each day of the two-day tournament. Eight of those wagers will be on mandatory races as selected by a panel, while the remaining seven wagers each day are optional plays to be made on races at one of six designated NHC tournament tracks: Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Oaklawn Park and Santa Anita.

The distinctive trophy that will go to the handicapper that completes the Twin Spires Club “Million Dollar Bonus Tour”/National Handicapping Championship sweep is 26 inches tall and measures 14 inches at its widest point. The creation by vonRoenn, who also designed the glass sculpture that is displayed in the atrium of Gate 17 in the Churchill Downs clubhouse, features a flame-worked glass sculpture of a Thoroughbred and rider that rests on a base made of dichroic glass, which reflects a broad spectrum of colors.

The Twin Spires Club is the customer-reward program of Churchill Downs Incorporated. More than 375,000 members earn points and benefits each time they wager at participating locations, including Arlington Park; Calder Race Course; Churchill Downs; Fair Grounds Race Course; Hoosier Park; Trackside Off-Track Betting locations in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky; and Finish Line Off-Track Betting sites in Louisiana. For more information, visit

Churchill Downs Incorporated, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., owns and operates world-renowned horse racing venues throughout the United States. CDI’s five racetracks in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Louisiana host many of North America’s most prestigious races, including the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, Arlington Million, Princess Rooney Handicap, Louisiana Derby and Indiana Derby. CDI racetracks have hosted seven Breeders’ Cup World Championships. CDI also owns off-track betting facilities and has interests in various television production, telecommunications and racing services companies that support CDI’s network of simulcasting and racing operations. CDI trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol CHDN and can be found on the Internet at