Texas’s Margaret Reid won $1.2m (£885,726) on a five-race parlay, wagering on Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby race-day action at an Austin-area simulcast facility. The “Pick 5” win, on an $18 wager, rivals the $1.42m (£1.05m) the owners of Kentucky Derby winner Justify collected for winning the race.
She won the prize, equal to just over a million euros, for hitting a five-race parlay bet based on Saturday’s Kentucky Derby race card at Churchill Downs. Margaret Reid of Austin, Texas’s capital city, correctly picked the winners of the eighth through twelfth races on the card, including Kentucky Derby winner Justify in the track’s twelfth and final race.
Reid’s $18 (£13.3) wager was placed at Retama Park, an off-track-betting facility in the Austin suburb of Selma. According to Bill Belcher, Retama’s general manager, it’s by far the largest win ever paid out at the site.
“(The) odds are unbelievable, and the payout is so big,” Mr Belcher told MySanAntonio.com. “She was very excited”.
Justify triumph caps run
Reid was in Retama Park’s sports bar, watching the simulcast of the Kentucky Derby as pre-race favorite Justify dominated down the stretch. “The whole bar went nuts”, Mr Belcher said.
Justify’s win as a 3:1 favorite in a 20-horse field capped off an unlikely parlay for Reid, which included a 39:1 pick. Her other correct choices on the “Pick 5” wager on the Churchill Downs card included:
8th Race (Churchill Downs Stakes) — Limousine Liberal, 4:1
9th Race (American Turf Stakes) — Maraud, 6:1
10th Race (Pat Day Mile Stakes) — Funny Duck, 39:1
11th Race (Old Forester Turf Classic Stakes) — Yoshida, 9:1
Retama Park GM Belcher didn’t describe Reid as a regular, though in a separate interview with San Antonio’s KENS-5 News, Reid herself said she’d been coming to the park occasionally for years with a group of friends and fellow bettors. Ms Reid claimed to be a veteran of handicapping. She said: “I understand the program and I can break down the races. It doesn’t always work out, but sometimes it does.”
Ms Reid also told KENS-5 about some of her plans for her life-changing win. In addition to a vacation, she said: “I’ll invest some of it. Obviously. I have a young daughter that’s going to be going to college in three years, so some of it will go there.”
Parlay wins generate headlines
The immense odds against on such a parlay are part of the reason that such rare wins draw attention. In general, parlay wagers offer the worst overall odds to bettors, but when such an extreme longshot comes in, it energizes the betting public to place more of these “dream” wagers.
“To bet that little amount of money and win $1.2 million is unheard of. In fact, it’s the first time it’s happened at Retama,” park spokesperson Rachel Bagnetto told ABC News.
Such wins aren’t unheard of, but they are exceedingly rare. One recent example from the horseracing world involved an unidentified bettor from England who hit a five-race “accumulator” bet on action at Ireland’s Punchestown Racecourse. The five-race accumulator (a form of a parlay bet) was placed online at Coral and returned £822,972.75 ($1,114,980.59) on a £19 ($25.74) wager.
Rare though they are, such extreme parlay wins will appear in any sport where the wagers are offered, such as the instance of a 26-year-old American football bettor winning US $100,000 (£73,810.5) on a $5 (£3.7), 15-game spread bet placed with William Hill US.