Wrong punchout number is worth mere million for Breeders' Cup bettor

November 11, 1993|By Bob Mieszerski | Bob Mieszerski,Los Angeles Times

ARCADIA, Calif. -- A mistake turned into a million-dollar windfall for one bettor on Breeders' Cup day last Saturday at Santa Anita.

The 51-year-old engineer from Ventura County, Calif., who did not want to be identified, punched out a wrong number on his National Pick Seven ticket, which cost $16. That wrong number turned out to be Arcangues, who won the Breeders' Cup Classic at $269.20 and gave the longtime horseplayer one of two perfect tickets in the Pick Seven. It paid $1,598,310.80.

The other winning ticket was sold at Remington Park in Oklahoma.

"I handicapped all the horses," the Ventura County man said yesterday after coming to Santa Anita to collect his money. "I liked the 1 [the entry of Opera House and Intrepidity] and the 11 [Breeders' Cup Turf winner Kotashaan] in the sixth race and I liked No. 1 [the Betrando-Marquetry-Missionary Ridge entry] in the seventh. But, when I punched out my ticket for the seventh, I hit 1 and 11 -- the same numbers I had in the sixth -- by mistake."

The bettor, who didn't learn of the payoff until Sunday morning, also had three consolations worth $510.80 apiece. He collected $1,152,317 after taxes.

"I knew it [the payoff] would be big, but I had no idea it would be $1.5 million," he said. "I knew it was three-quarters of a million last year.

"I couldn't believe it. My wife was shaking so hard, we left right away [after the Classic]."

What turned out to be a perfect ticket had singles in the first four races -- Cardmania in the Sprint, Phone Chatter in the Juvenile Fillies, Hollywood Wildcat in the Distaff and Lure in the Mile -- then doubled the Juvenile with Brocco and Dehere.

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