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Night School Returns Feb. 28

Popular handicapping education program returns February 28.

February 22, 2012

Night School

More than 375,000 viewers took in the inaugural season of Night School in 2011 either live or via the archives, and the racing industry’s national fan education program’s sophomore year returns Tuesday, February 28 looking to build on that success. In addition to a 40-course curriculum, Night School ’12 also will offer several online handicapping seminars held on Thursday and Friday nights previewing major racing events.


See the 2012 Night School Schedule.
Created and hosted by Horse Player NOW’s Joe Kristufek and Jeremy Plonk, Night School welcomes a new title sponsor to its stable in 2012, Churchill Downs, Inc. The CDI brand and racetracks (Churchill Downs, Fair Grounds, Arlington Park and Calder Racecourse) join the program’s founding title sponsors, comprised of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, American Quarter Horse Association, Keeneland and Daily Racing Form.

With a start time of 8:30 p.m. ET, the 40 Night School sessions will run each Tuesday, February 28 through Nov. 13 this season, and the program has spotlighted the first Tuesday of each month (March through October) as Newbie Tuesdays, which will be lesson plans focused and presented with the racing newcomer in mind. Night School blends the live-blogging technology of Cover It Live with instructional videos, downloadable study materials and personal interaction between the students and expert instructors. In addition to the 40 core sessions this season, Night School will also offer a myriad of weeknight handicapping seminars, each dubbed a “Big Event,” throughout the year focusing on the opening of major racing meets, previewing major stakes and more.

Night School is syndicated to more than 35 websites throughout the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing industries. Fans can take part in the free program each week, or check out the free archives, at any of the numerous partner websites. Weekly instructors include Kristufek and Plonk, as well as their Horse Player NOW handicapping cohort Caton Bredar, a well-known national television analyst, and Churchill Downs’ on-air handicapper Jill Byrne. Each week, the instructors are joined by a myriad of prominent expert guests. Last year’s guest instructor list included the likes of Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Graham Motion, Hall of Fame jockeys Jerry Bailey and Gary Stevens, television analyst Randy Moss and Daily Racing Form editor emeritus Steven Crist. The diverse and exciting group of guests has ranged from professional horseplayer Jimmy “The Hat” Allard to racehorse retirement advocate and Hollywood icon Bo Derek.

Night School topics this season will begin with the February 28 class “Countdown to the Crown,” an inside look at the 2012 run toward the Triple Crown. It will dovetail Plonk’s coverage in his popular DRF.com weekly column, but includes a national panel of experts weighing in on what they look for in scouting the next big 3-year-old in the sport’s glamour division. The first Newbie Tuesday of the year will follow on Tuesday, March 6. The remainder of March dates will begin to build the handicapping toolbox for horseplayers as the topics include Class Handicapping, Pace/Bias Handicapping and Speed/Performance Figure Handicapping.

Among the session advertisers already committed to supporting Night School ’12 include West Point Thoroughbreds, Larry Rivelli Racing Stable, AmWest Entertainment, HRTV and the University of Arizona Racetrack Industry Program.

What the Industry Is Saying About Night School

“In a short time, Night School has proven to be an innovative and effective way to bring individuals together online to discuss handicapping. We look forward to working with others to take the program to new heights in 2012,” said Keith Chamblin, Senior Vice President of the NTRA.

“We applaud the success of the Night School team in their inaugural effort to bring new fans to the game, “ said John J. Hartig, CEO of Daily Racing Form. “We’re thrilled to again partner with Joe and Jeremy, who share Daily Racing Form’s mission for teaching and inspiring fans by providing the tools to play with confidence.”

“Last year, when Joe and Jeremy presented us with the idea of Night School, we immediately embraced it and knew we wanted to be a part of it,” said Vince Gabbert, Keeneland’s Chief Operating Officer. “This is exactly the type of thing our industry needs to be doing. We need ways to make easier for new people to learn the basics and the experienced players to become even more informed. Night School is a great program and we’re proud to be a part of it.”

“The Churchill Downs Incorporated race tracks are excited to expand our relationship with Horse Player Now and become a full sponsor of Night School,” said Tom Jenkins, vice president of Churchill Downs Incorporated. “Our customers’ positive feedback was instrumental in expanding our relationship and we are delighted to bring this innovative education method to both new and existing fans for another year. We look forward to having our customers leverage their Night School education at the track.”

“AQHA Racing’s partnership with Night School has been a fruitful one,” said Trey Buck, Executive Director of Racing for the American Quarter Horse Association. “We’ve been able to reach a segment of the market –Thoroughbred players – that we haven’t always had easy access to. Night School ended up being a perfect vessel for our message, since Horse Player NOW’s customers are actively seeking out the information we’re delivering. Knowledge is power, and we want experienced handicappers to be as comfortable as possible when they look to wager on American Quarter Horse racing. A classroom of willing students is the perfect place to make that happen.”