April Scanio competed in the 2018 NHC Qualifier at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Ind., and a member of her group won the qualifier. This year, it was April's turn to take home the top prize as she topped a field of 105 entries to win the fourth annual NHC Qualifier at Indiana Grand Saturday, Aug. 17.
April, who traveled to Indiana with her husband, Joe, and friend Stephanie Davis, all of Brooklyn, NY, had steady play all night. Halfway through the 12-race contest, she emerged in the top three and shortly after that, took over the top spot.
April went into the last two contest races with the lead, but needed to keep her momentum going to fend off several players who were closing in late. She had Higher Power selected in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar, which paid $21.20 to win and $9.40 to place. Coupled with her selection in the eighth race at Indiana Grand, CJ's Billy'sempire, who paid $16.00 and $7.60 for the win-place format, April sealed the win in the NHC Qualifier with a final tally of $148.20. Daven Turner of Galloway, Ohio finished second with $116.60 and Tony Fannin of Indianapolis finished third, moving up 12 spots in the last contest race to finish with a total of $92.80.
“Since Stephanie (Davis) did so well here last year, we thought it was a good time to come back,” said April following her victory. “We try to go to as many of the NHC contests as we can. I had done well all night, but when I hit those last two winners in a row, that really helped me a lot.”
April's husband, Joe, recently qualified at a contest at Lone Star and qualified through Horseplayers.com. Davis has yet to qualify in 2019, but the trio of handicappers plan to hit several more contests before the NHC Final in Las Vegas Feb. 7 – 9, 2020.
“I qualified for the final a few years ago,” added April. “Between the three of us, at least one of us has qualified every year. We have some time left to get Stephanie (Davis) qualified.”
Turner, who was also competing for the second straight year in the NHC Qualifier at Indiana Grand, had strong play throughout and had the winner in the final contest race at Indiana Grand, which helped him maintain second place in the contest. Turner has qualified eight times for the NHC Final and has been an avid handicapper for the past 20 years.
Fannin is the first local player to qualifier for the NHC Final from the Indiana Grand event. A regular player at Indiana Grand, he has won numerous local contests and even qualified for the World Harness Handicapping Championship two years ago. This will mark his first trip to the NHC Final.
A total of 70 individual players competed in the NHC Qualifier at Indiana Grand. Entrants came from across North America, stretching from Canada to Florida and New York to California. Players selected 12 races out of 23 available from Del Mar, Saratoga and Indiana Grand. The contest was set up as a $2 win-place format with players beginning with a $48 mythical bankroll.
Each of the top three players will receive a trip to Las Vegas with NHC entry fees, hotel, and airfare covered by Indiana Grand. The top three players also received a trophy for their successful play in the qualifier.
Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing continues through Wednesday, Nov. 6. Racing is conducted Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 2:15 p.m. and Saturday at 6:15 p.m. More information about the season is available at www.indianagrand.com.
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