Shurman and Wolfson Sr. selected for NHC Hall of Fame
Edited Press Release
Paul Shurman, a 15-time NHC qualifier and the 2011 NHC Tour champion, and Steve Wolfson Sr., an 11-time NHC qualifier known as the “godfather of handicapping contests,” have been selected for induction to the NHC Hall of Fame, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced Thursday.
Shurman and Wolfson will be inducted at the NHC Champions Dinner on Sunday evening at the conclusion of the 18th National Handicapping Championship (NHC) set for Friday through Sunday at Treasure Island Las Vegas.
Shurman has qualified to the NHC for 15 straight years, a record he shares with two others. In 2011 he won the second NHC Tour, earning $75,000. He has had three top-10 finishes at the NHC, including a third-place effort at NHC 10 in 2009 worth $100,000.
“It is an honor for me to be inducted into the NHC Hall of Fame because I have the utmost respect and admiration for the people who preceded me,” Shurman said. “They are all people who loved the game and did what they could, including making personal sacrifices, to help the game flourish. Mike Mayo, Ron Rippey, Steve Crist and Judy Wagner all advocated vigorously for the horseplayer and we all benefited from their efforts.
“I also love the game and am proud that I am being recognized, not only for my tournament success, but for my contribution to the NHC and handicapping tournaments. I have been fortunate to have been on the Players Committee from its inception, where I can be a voice for the players. I also am proud to be able to work personally with tournament tracks to help them come up with tournament structures that benefit both the player and the venue.”
Wolfson was organizing tournaments for horseplayers in Las Vegas long before the advent of the NHC, most notably with the Thoroughbred Challenge at the Mirage, established in 1991. He breeds and owns racehorses, and is the son of Louis Wolfson, owner of 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed. Wolfson also is an accomplished sire of handicappers – his son, Steve Jr., was the 2003 NHC winner, the same year Steve Sr. had a career-best fourth-place finish.
“I am honored and flattered to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, especially considering the prestigious group of previous inductees,” Wolfson said. “Recalling the glory days/daze when Thoroughbred racing was the number one spectator sport in America, as recently as 1992, I often lament how far our sport has fallen. In the 60s and 70s, athletes, both equine and human, were household names, and racing was front-page news.
“The advent and success of the NHC have made great strides to reenergize handicapping, which, hopefully, will further enhance enthusiasm and interest by the general public.”
Shurman and Wolfson represent the third class of NHC Hall of Fame inductees, joining Steve Crist (2016), Mike Mayo (2015), Ron Rippey (2015) and Judy Wagner (2016). Hall of Fame inductees are chosen by the NTRA in consultation with the NHC Players’ Committee.
Paul Shurman and Steve Wolfson Sr. photos courtesy of NTRA