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Q-RACING—MARCH 15, 2017—With nearly 2 million views of its interactive lessons and multi-media educational materials, Night School soon embarks on its seventh season as a staple of teaching the handicapping process. The horse racing industry’s national online fan education and player development program since 2011 returns to its annual familiar Tuesday night timeslot (8:30-10 pm ET) on March 21.
Night School mixes live podcasts with simultaneous interactive chats with racing experts and the student body. Fans are encouraged to participate in the process by posing questions directly to the instructors and by engaging live with other interested students worldwide. The combination of camaraderie and access to the experts has been a hallmark of the program. It’s free to join in live or via the always-accessible archives. Hundreds of past Night School guests and topics are available via the expansive Night School library for horseplayers to utilize at their leisure.
Each lesson, a pair of leading national handicappers will be invited to participate as guest instructors this season with a “Handicapping Duos” theme spotlighted. Night School 2017 once again will be co-hosted by Night School founder and owner Jeremy Plonk, along with seven-year cast member Caton Bredar of TVG and Horse Player NOW; SiriusXM radio host Steve Byk, back for his fifth season; and “The Dean” Jerry Shottenkirk, who begins his seventh term as moderator of the live chat portion of the program.
Ten live premiere lessons will be featured in 2017, spanning the program’s annual 10-month season from March through December. A change in lesson scheduling and planning this season is a result of a shift in user consumption.
“Night School remains as vibrant and viable as it ever has,” Plonk said. “Students continue to absorb each week’s lessons at similar numbers to past years, typically about 1,500 Night Schoolers per week taking classes. But where that number once meant 80% live participants and 20% on-demand participants, consumers have changed their online and mass media viewing habits during our 6-plus years in all forums. It’s now a 20%-80% consumption where the on-demand access to Night School has swelled and mirrored what has taken place in the television and music industries.”
To take advantage of the on-demand interest in Night School, the 2017 season will reduce from doing a live premiere lesson each week to the once-monthly live offerings. In-between, the program will utilize its vast library of archives to package user-friendly, time-friendly “Best of Night School” lessons that can be accessed anytime. The highlight-reel lessons combine the more than 500 past guests and 200-plus topics of Night School into dynamic, 30-minute listens to suit today’s online and on-the-go consumer.
In addition to the frequent “Best of Night School” releases throughout the season, Horseplayernow.com also will host a series of big-event live handicapping seminars in the Night School timeslots during the weeks of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup. And, all-new Night School “Rush Weeks” include weekly Monday, Wednesday and Friday handicapping preview podcasts for Mountaineer, Woodbine and Remington Park throughout the year – in addition to select live full-card podcasts/chats at those venues.
The 2017 Night School season will be brought to racing fans free each week by title sponsors American Quarter Horse Association, Keeneland Select, NTRA, Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, Woodbine Entertainment, BRISNET, Twinspires, Remington Park and Xpressbet.
Students who wish to take part in the free lessons and chat can do so by visiting Horseplayernow.com. Archive lessons are available at the website as well as through the Horse Player NOW account at iTunes. Social media logins for Facebook or Twitter can be used in the live chat, or fans can create their own handle to use – or simply listen in and watch anonymously. Those who log in and register are eligible for personalized Night School diplomas and season-ending prizes.