Day At The Track

Ehrgott wins top prize in Handicapping Challenge

04:36 AM 24 Jun 2019 NZST
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Dean Ehrgott
From left, Greg Gass, Dean Ehrgott and Deniz Sidkey celebrate Erhgott’s $20,000 win in the Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge. The trio played at Indiana Grand.

SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (June 22, 2019) – Caesars Entertainment harness racing properties – Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, Harrah's Hoosier Park, Harrah's Philadelphia, and Harrah's Louisiana Downs – hosted the first ever $35,000 Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge sponsored by John Deere and Cowpokes Saturday, June 22. Dean Ehrgott of Camby, Ind., who participated at Indiana Grand, was the top player, winning the $20,000 first prize by the margin of 40 cents over second place finisher Paul Napoli, who participated at Harrah’s Philadelphia and earned $10,000 in the contest.

Ehrgott, a former Standardbred owner in the state of Indiana, credited his friends, Greg Gass and Deniz Sidkey, for helping him get to the top of the leaderboard. He was visible in the top 10 standings throughout the contest and was able to select Chief Red Bull in the final race offered to complete the challenge with a bankroll of $129.00 and take home the top prize. Napoli had an accumulated total of $128.60 in second place while Frederick Nielsen, also of Harrah’s Philadelphia, finished third with a balance of $127.00 to earn the $1,500 third place prize. Erghott’s second entry finished fourth with a $107.80 tally. Places four through 10 received $500 each.

“I got lucky and hit three races that paid pretty good at Philly (Harrah’s Philadelphia),” said Ehrgott. “I’m a harness guy, so going into the last race, I got help from my Thoroughbred guy and I selected the one (Chief Red Bull). He finished second and paid $3.40, which was just enough to move me into the lead.”

Ehrgott was associated with Standardbred racing for decades before he sold his last horse in 2016. His most noted winner was Radar Contact, the Indiana sired mare who earned nearly $1 million during her career and won 34 races. He still stays connected to racing through playing in handicapping contests across the nation with Gass and Sidkey.

“We play a lot in these types of contests,” added Ehrgott. “We play in the Santa Anita Breeders Cup $10,000 Challenge every year. We have a lot of fun traveling around.”

In addition to his $20,000 top prize, Ehrgott will also receive a seat in the 2020 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas. And, if he should win the 2020 NHC, Ehrgott would earn a $1 million bonus provided by the Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge.

Players in the Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge made selections from all four racetracks involved in the contest. A total of 20 races were provided, 12 of which were mandatory for each player. Also, each player had to use one race from each track, making it a unique format as they played both Thoroughbred and Standardbred races during the four-hour challenge. All four racetracks had at least one player in the top ten.

“This was a great way to expose more of our Louisiana Downs customers to the Caesars Entertainment family of racetracks and do so in a very rewarding way,” said Eric Halstrom, vice president of operations at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing at Indiana Grand, echoed Halstrom’s comments regarding the contest.

“We were glad to see so many players come in from other states to play in this contest at our facility,” said Schuster. “It was great exposure for our racing program and hats off to so many people from all of our racing properties that spent endless hours making this contest work. And, to have the winner right here at our track, that was an added bonus.”

In addition to the four racetracks involved in the contest, players were also able to compete at the three Winner’s Circle Off Track Betting facilities in Indiana located at Indianapolis, Clarksville, and New Haven. A total of 145 entries were included in the contest.

“It sure was an exciting finish for the Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge and it came down to the wire,” said Rick Moore, vice president and general manager of racing at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. “Only 40 cents separated the winner and the second-place finisher. It was a tough competition throughout.”

Tammy Knox

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