Texas Woman Wins $1.2 Million on $18 Bet

June 07, 2014: Bayern with Gary Stevens aboard wins the Woody Stevens Stakes on Belmont Stakes day at Belmont Park in Elmont New York. Alex Evers/ESW/CSM

And you thought Justify had a good Derby day.

A woman from Austin woman playing the ponies at Retama Park in Selma, Texas won $1.2 million on an $18 bet. The woman, Margaret Reid, played the Pick 5 for $18 dollars and correctly picked the five winners of races 8 thru 12 at Churchill Downs on a muddy, rain soaked Derby day.


A six year-old Limousine Liberal came in at 4-1 in the Churchill Downs Stakes 8th race. Maraud in the 9th paid 8-1 after winning the American Turf Stakes. Funny Duck, the long shot at 40-1, won the Pat Day Mile 10th race. Yoshida took the 11th by a nose over favorite Beach Patrol paying 10-1 odds in the Old Forester Turf Classic and, of course, Justify winning the Run for the Roses at 3-1. It all adds up to a nice little payday. Not bad considering she was over 1,100 miles away.

“It’s the first time it’s happened at Retama. To bet that little amount of money and win $1.2 million is unheard of,” a Retama Park spokeswoman said.

“It was an amazing feeling yes,” Reid said. “That you won really big, like a really big ticket. A mini-lotto if you will.” And win big she did after carefully placing her wager. Reid has been going to Retama Park with friends to play the ponies for years now and did her homework to place the bet. “I understand the program and I can break down the races. It doesn’t always work out, but sometimes it does.”

The Retama Park owner Bill Belcher was in the sports bar at the same time as Reid when she found out she won. “The whole bar went nuts. The odds are unbelievable and the payout was so big. She was very excited.”

The $1.2 million is almost as much as the $1.4 Justify’s owner won and she didn’t have to invest $500,000 in a young colt. Just $18 bucks. That’s a pretty solid return on her investment.

So, what does one do with such a big win? “I’ll invest some of it, obviously. I have a young daughter that’s going to be going to college in three years, so some of it will go there,” Reid said. But first she will treat herself to a vacation she added.

Pick 5 winners can rake in some huge payouts because it is just that difficult to pick five consecutive winners at the track. To contrast the difficulty, in another big Derby payday story, a gambler in Las Vegas placed a $500 bet on Justify back in February at before the young horse was even guaranteed a spot in the race. That ticket paid $150,000 at 300 – 1 odds.

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