Ron from Michigan was live to three horses in a $.50 Pick 4 that he didn’t expect to pay much since the first three winners were 3-to-1, 3-to-2, and 3-to-2.
Still, he got excited when 17.1-to-1 English Puddin nosed even money favorite Bwanadada to win the night cap and complete $1,011.05 Pick 4 that would have paid considerably less had the favorite held on.
The real excitement came when he checked his TwinSpires.com account balance and saw $199,153.05 in there instead of $1,171.05. Turns out English Puddin’s nose also landed Ron the Pick 6, a bet he thought he was out of after the second leg. Ron had forgotten that he had used 10.3-to-1 Cloudy Moon, who went gate to wire to win race 5, as part of a $144 Pick 6 play that returned $260,003 before taxes.
“I was sitting in my office at home and didn’t realize I was live in the Pick 6,” Ron said. “I was excited when I won that photo to hit my best possible Pick 4, but when I checked my account balance I was like, ‘Hey! OK!’ Then I remembered.”
Ron isn’t a big Pick 6 player—the veteran recreational horseplayer said he typically sticks to $.50 Pick 4s—but things came together on Sunday for him to take a stab at Hollywood’s one-day carryover.
“The money was right to play,” Ron said. “I hit some other races earlier on the day and just spun that into the Hollywood card. I started out East and ended up out West. If I look at the Pick 6 and it’s going to take $500 or $1,000 to play it then I’ll pass. $144 is pretty much my max to play, so this fit.”
Ron said he’s gotten more into betting Southern California racing the past few years because trainer patterns are easier to spot with most conditioners starting their horses on one circuit. Ron also uses Brisnet.com Ultimate Past Performances to handicap with special attention to top BRIS Speed Ratings from the past two or three races and trainer statistics.
Ron’s entrée to Thoroughbred racing far predates the internet let alone Brisnet.com, but speed ratings have been a part of his arsenal since the beginning when trips to River Downs while attending the University of Cincinnati.
“My first major score was buying some guy’s homemade figures for live racing at River,” Ron said. “There was a horse in the last race who was just a complete standout. The horse won and paid $40 or $50. It was a lot of money for me at the time, and that’s what kept me going back.”
Ron not only kept going back to River Downs but also found a way to Keeneland in Lexington by hitchhiking.
Ron served overseas in the Army but returned to racing immediately following his return to the States and retirement from the service. He’s currently involved in a Dogwood Stable partnership, and he has campaigned horses on his own that have won in Michigan and at Chicagoland tracks.
He is not sure which animal(s) he will buy with his winnings.
“My dog passed away a few months ago, so I might get a new one,” Ron said. “He passed of old age, and maybe the time is right now. Maybe I’ll buy another horse with Dogwood, too.”
Whatever else he decides to do with the money, Ron is committed to keep playing the horses as well.
“I’ve been playing horses all my life,” Ron said. “It’s a hobby, but it’s all about trying to make a profit.”