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Fantasy Winner Eyes Big Prize

Published: April 29, 2016 10:16 am ET

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Lifelong racing fan Rick Kalina of Strongsville, Ohio, is looking forward to this weekend’s World Harness Handicapping Championship at The Meadowlands, with his sights squarely set on the $20,000 grand prize.

The veteran handicapper has competed in many handicapping contests and modestly admits that "he’s done okay." He managed a third-place finish in the Grand Circuit $1 Million Dollar Challenge, and has also won a few smaller handicapping contests over the years.

At the impressionable age of 15, Rick made his first trip to the races at Northfield Park, tagging along with his brother. His brother placed a “show” bet for him that resulted in Rick doubling his money and thinking that picking winners at the track was easy!

Fast forward many decades and Rick now finds himself enroute to the 2016 WHHC as a result of winning the 2015 Trot Magazine Fantasy Stable Contest. Tomorrow night he’ll compete for that $20,000 grand prize against many of North America’s top handicappers at The Meadowlands.

Rick has been to 39 Little Brown Jugs and recalls witnessing Life Sign’s dramatic victory in Delaware in 1993. “That was one of the most impressive wins of all time!” He’s also been to almost as many Adios races at The Meadows.

Although he’s never delved into horse ownership, he has many friends who do own horses and enjoys cheering them on.

Rick is retired but feels the skillsets that helped him in his quality control work in the automotive and consumer products industries also serve him well in handicapping horse races.

“I have a keen eye and great memory. I watch a lot of replays and make lots of notes which really helps me in handicapping. I like horses that finish strong with a fast final quarter,” he explains.

Although Rick doesn’t make as many trips to the track now, he faithfully watches the races online or on TV, and plays every week.

“I’m really lucky that I’ve seen all the great races and great drivers! I just love harness racing!”

The 2016 World Harness Handicaping Championship takes place tomorrow night (April 30) at The Meadowlands and handicappers will enjoy a welcome reception at the track on Friday evening.

Here is the WHHC Wagering Format:

► Player's choice of seven (7) Meadowlands races plus, three (3) designated mandatory races (1 from Vernon Downs, 1 from Buffalo & 1 from the Meadowlands)

► $30 minimum bet per race; $100 maximum bet

► Win, Place, Show wagers only (or WPS)

► One (1) horse per race

► Contestants keep all pari-mutuel winnings.

Trot and the I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club would like to wish Rick and Jay Noye of Prince Edward Island (who qualified in a Fan Club contest) the best of luck in this year’s event!


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