A look at the National Horseplayers Championship entries shows handicapping, and tournament play is a male-dominated pursuit, but plenty of women excel in these endeavours. These savvy female horseplayers are handicappers to watch and learn from.
Holthus, the current paddock analyst at Oaklawn Park and Indiana Grand, has a wealth of experience in the industry, including walking hots, working in the racing office, and serving as stall manager at Hollywood Park. She works alongside her husband, trainer Paul Holthus, in the barns of their NP H Stables. Her Oaklawn selections are available on the track’s website.
A partner in OptixEQ, which provides analytical tools for handicappers, Gullikson takes detailed trip notes and watches up to 50,000 races per year. An avid tournament player, Gullikson has qualified for the NHC and Horseplayer World Series. In the past, she worked with Las Vegas legendary professional gambler Alan “Dink” Denkenson. She covers handicapping techniques and angles on her YouTube channel.
In addition to working as a chart caller at Arlington Park and Hawthorne Racecourse, Neulist is a freelance writer and hosts the Chicago Race of the Day podcast, picking horses and providing education concerning handicapping angles. For three years, she has been a featured handicapper for America’s Best Racing column “Big-Race Showdown,” selecting horses in key races every weekend leading up to the Breeders’ Cup.
Stars of the National Horseplayers Championship
The only woman to win the NHC, Judy Wagner, made 12 appearances at the finals and finished second to her husband in the season-long NHC Tour in 2009. She is actively involved in making the sport stronger as a member of the Louisiana Racing Commission and as the horseplayers representative on the board of NTRA. In this role, she lobbied on behalf of horseplayers in Washington, D.C.
In 2016, Cheryl McIntyre became the first female to win the NHC Tour. Her introduction to horse racing was spending summer vacations at Mountaineer. She and her husband, Mike, play in tournaments together. In 2017, they qualified for the NHC and their son, Kevin, his fiancée, Jill, and Mike’s brother, Robert.