Somebody Has To Win, Even If They Try Not To

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We took a few minutes before the reception Saturday to watch the Kentucky Derby. Of course, by know everybody knows that the winner and second-place horse were both REALLY long shots, but when I saw that the fourth-place horse was another long shot, I started wondering what the superfecta would have paid, and if anybody won it. The answers are, in order, 'over $860K' and 'yes, seven winners':

Hertzog bought one of seven $1 tickets to hit the Kentucky Derby superfecta, which yielded the highest payout in Derby history. Two of the other winning tickets were sold in New Jersey, one each was sold at Philadelphia Park and Suffolk Downs and two others came through clearinghouses in Maine and Nevada, said Churchill Downs spokesman John Asher.

The gigantic payoffs came after 50-1 long shot Giacomo sprang the second biggest upset in Derby history, edging 72-1 longer shot Closing Argument. Afleet Alex, one of the favorites with odds of 4.5-1, finished third. Another long shot, 30-1 Don't Get Mad, was fourth.
And winner Chris Hertzog has a story of his own:
Hertzog figured all was lost as he sifted through the trash at Turf Paradise, frantically searching for his winning Kentucky Derby supefecta ticket. The Phoenix firefighter gave up after two hours, wondering how he could've let $864,253.50 slip away.

''I couldn't believe I lost this once in a lifetime payday,'' the 39-year-old Hertzog said in a statement released through the track on Monday.

According to Turf Paradise, the mutuel clerk who sold him the ticket came to the rescue on Sunday, finding the misplaced slip of paper next to the machine where Hertzog had placed the wager the previous day.

''Don't you just love happy endings?'' Hertzog said.

. . .

Hertzog made 100 $1 bets _ 50 superfectas and 50 trifectas _ all in random computer-generated quick picks. When he thought he'd lost after the Derby, he left the tickets on a table and walked off.

Later, according to Turf Paradise, a track official told mutuel clerk Brenda Reagan that her machine had spit out a superfecta winner. Track owner Jack Simms told Hertzog, but when he returned to the table, the tickets were gone.

''I couldn't believe it,'' he said.

Maintenance crews gathered all the garbage bags in the clubhouse and Hertzog and others picked through them with no luck.

The next day, Reagan noticed two tickets lying next to her machine, according to track officials. One of them was Hertzog's winner.

''When I punched Chris' tickets, there were so many that they bunched up and these two must have fallen on the side,'' she said in a release from the track.

After taxes, Hertzog walked away with over $604,000.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on May 10, 2005 3:22 PM.

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