Five Baltimore co-workers used a little skill and a lot of luck to collect a Maryland-record payoff of $414,243.90 at Pimlico Race Course yesterday.
The group swept the Double Triple pool, which had carried over through the first 16 days of the meeting. Members of the group, who work at an auto-body shop, wished to remain anonymous.
Each winning member chipped in $100, with four of them making thelunch-break trip to Pimlico. A group spokesman said they had one of 68 winning third-race combinations, then settled on the lone successful fifth-race exchange after picking a piece of paper out of a hat.
"We had four pieces of paper in the hat," the man said. "Mine was the 9-1-11." After Sister To Bea (No. 9) won in gate-to-wire fashion, followed by Exciting Times (No. 1) and Markella Mou (No. 11), the group stood to collect more than $82,000 apiece before 20 percent in federal taxes was deducted.
The spokesman said he gleaned the winning combination from the horses' names, horses' numbers and race comments in The Sun.
The windfall eclipsed the state record for a single-ticket payoff, won by a Washington-area group at Laurel Race Course on Feb. 17, 1987. Their $314,366 payday also was from the Double Triple.
The payoff also surpassed the Pimlico record ($294,169), which was won on a Pick Six ticket in 1986.
The Double Triple, which requires bettors to pick the correct 1-2-3 order in the third and fifth races, had not been wholly won since the track began its meeting March 14. The longest period the bet has gone uncollected was a 25-day span at Laurel in late 1988, when 30 winners shared a pool of more than $1.8 million.
The men in the winning group range in age from 28 to 40. The spokesman said their interests in racing ranged from casual to fairly serious, and that the winnings would be used for such things as paying off debts and purchases of a motor home and drag-racing equipment.
NOTES: Angel Threads and Zola Valay, the potential favorites in yesterday's fifth race, both were scratched after being delayed in traffic on the Beltway en route from the Bowie training center. A Lasix rule mandates that no competitor receive the medication later than three hours before it races; the stewards formerly used discretion in such cases, but after a meeting of the Maryland Racing Commission last month, the rule is now strictly enforced, and horses can either run without Lasix or be scratched. . . . Pimlico/Laurel will simulcast two Triple Crown preps tomorrow: The Santa Anita Derby and Preview Stakes. Dinard is the 2-1 Santa Anita Derby favorite over eight others, including Best Pal (5-2), Sea Cadet (7-2) and Scan (5-1). Cahill Road will be favored when making his stakes debut against four others in the Preview. . . . Valay Maid, Maryland's top 3-year-old filly of 1990, has moved into the stable of Ben Perkins Jr. The filly's first 1991 start should come any day. . . . Edgar Prado, who won three races yesterday, has edged away on the lead in the jockeys' standings. Prado leads Joe Rocco by a 24-18 count. . . . Jockey Paul Nicol, who holds the Maryland record for most winners in a day (seven), has left for Finger Lakes in western New York. . . . Jolie's Halo, the unbeaten Florida-based colt, will put his record on the line in the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 13, trainer Happy Alter said yesterday. Jolie's Halo will meet Unbridled and Farma Way in the race. . . . Withallprobability, an undefeated filly trained by D. Wayne Lukas, is the first late nominee to the Triple Crown. The filly was made eligible by a $4,500 payment. Others may join her by the Monday deadline.