NHC veteran Paul Matties of Ballston Spa, N.Y., topped a field of 629 entries to win the $800,000 first-place prize and an Eclipse Award as Horseplayer of the Year at this weekend’s 17th annual Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) presented by Racetrack Television Network and Treasure Island Las Vegas. The NHC offered record overall cash and prizes totaling $2,778,760. The 46-year-old Matties (b. Nov. 19, 1969) amassed a winning score of $399.50 over the three-day tournament from 53 mythical $2 Win and Place bets over 3 days (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Paul Matties, a frequent NHC qualifier, is the older of the Matties brothers by three years. They have another brother, Gregg Matties, a trainer in New York, and father Chick Matties was a racing enthusiast who won the inaugural Horse Player World Series handicapping contest. “My brother Duke’s the greatest,” Matties said. “He was rooting for me more than he was rooting for himself the whole time."