A name he liked coupled with a jockey he recognized led Mr. Hariri to scoop Thursday’s Pick 6 at Del Mar for gross winnings of $495,060.80 on a $146 play.

Playing through TwinSpires.com, the West Coast resident took a stab at Thursday’s $89,785 Pick 6 carryover by crafting nine separate tickets, including a main $96 play that hit six of six plus six consolation (5/6) payouts. A separate $4 play in which he singled the seventh race (fifth leg) winner but missed the third race (first leg) also cashed a consolation payoff of $1,790.60.

The seventh race (fifth leg) single in question was Zimmer, who shipped to Del Mar from Churchill Downs for trainer Pat Byrne and was dismissed at 14.9-to-1, the longest shot in the seven-horse field of optional claimers. Hariri was initially attracted to the horse because of his name and decided to gamble on the Empire Maker colt when he saw Racing Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith listed to ride.

“The way I play horses is by name,” Hariri said the morning after his big score. “I don’t care about odds; I play names I like. The longshot who led to me getting the whole pot was Zimmer. When I saw his name I said, ‘That’s a pretty cool name.’ Normally I’ll just go with names, and if I like it I’ll play it, but when I saw Mike Smith was riding I knew I had to include this horse.”

The only single on Hariri’s winning ticket was Orientatious in the fourth race (second leg). The Orientate filly paid $20.20 to win and helped key separate wins for Hariri in the double, Pick 3, and Pick 5 that brought the day’s gross winnings to more than $500,000.

“This is what it’s like to be hit by lightning,” Hariri said. “I didn’t believe it until I saw the money in my account. I couldn’t sleep last night.”

Despite being live through two races with $12 and $20.20 horses (first-time starter Carving in the third race [first leg] and Orientatious, respectively), Hariri also played the late Pick 4. However, by the time the final race rolled around, he was too nervous to watch following Zimmer’s upset score.

“I couldn’t watch it live, and I didn’t look at the will pays,” Hariri said. “I watched it on replay and even when I knew I won I thought since it was the favorite in the last leg [even money Bev N Bud] I thought it might pay $40,000 or $50,000.”

In addition to his Pick 6 riches, Hariri also hit the Pick 5 on a $63 play that returned $4,020.85 and the Pick 4 three times on a $49 play that returned $1,618.05.

“You never know what will happen,” Hariri said. “Sometimes horses just have their day, and yesterday was my day. I’m sharing my strategy so others can use it and win too.”

Hariri said he opened a TwinSpires.com account shortly after his initial trip to the racetrack, and although he loves the convenience and excitement of playing online he said that his favorite part of racing is when the horses turn for home.

“The stretch run is very exhilarating,” Hariri said. “I love horses, and I love watching them run.”

Hariri is planning a trip to Chicago with some of his winnings, but the big windfall did not keep him away from this past weekend’s action featuring the Travers Stakes at Saratoga and the Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

“It’s a big weekend with Saratoga and Del Mar,” Hariri said. “I’m not greedy, though. I’ll still play, but I won’t go crazy just because I won.”