Nathan Bain withstood a late surge from Nicholas ‘Ace’ Barnsdale on the final day of the Leamington Raceway meet to come out on top in the $500 Leamington Raceway Youth Handicapping Challenge.
By reaching the wire with the highest point total on Sunday, October 25, track announcer Bain took home the lion’s share of the $500 purse, collecting top prize of $300. Runner-up Barnsdale, who provided Leamington ‘Tips from the Pros’ selections for the Ontario Racing website, received $200 for his efforts.
Nathan Bain (in grey jacket) and Nicholas Barnsdale (blue jacket) accept their prize money cheques from USHWA Canada chapter president Garnet Barnsdale, then share a congratulatory elbow-bump trackside.
Bain entered the final 2020 card with a commanding 42-point lead, but by Race 4, Barnsdale had narrowed the gap to 28 points (he picked up 10 of them in Race 4, where he selected $11.50 winner Mach Shark on top, while Bain’s top choice finished off the board). But by day’s end, Barnsdale closed only slightly more and Bain came away with a 20-point victory. Bain won with a total of 882 points to his rival’s 862.
The two young handicappers fared extremely well in the scoring, which was based on a 10-5-3 system for each top pick finishing first, second or third, with an extra five points available for each successful ‘Best Bet.’ Considering that there were 1,375 points available for a perfect score of picking every winner of the meet, the 882 and 862 point scores were excellent.
All of the prize money for the Handicapping Challenge was provided by two co-sponsors: the Canadian chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) and online Standardbred marketplace HoofBid. The competition took place every week during the 2020 Leamington Raceway meet.