Controversy after $2 bet turned into an astonishing $891K on the Santa Anita Pick 6
One bettor hit a life-changing score of $891,568.80 as the Jackpot Pick 6 was hit at Santa Anita on Saturday.
The ticket, which was purchased at Hollywood Park for $1,920, was alive on 4-1 shot Fly To Mars and favorite Lucky With You in race 11. The bettor used multiple horses in each leg: 3 x 4 x 4 x 5 x 2 x 2. Had Lucky With You won, the Jackpot portion would have carried over to Sunday because other bettors had the horse on live Pick Six tickets.
The Jackpot Pick 6 continues to build until a single ticket hits the pool. Coming into the day, there was a carryover of $534,469. More than $401,157 was bet into the pool which had grown over the 23 racing days since the wager had been won.
The rule: The “unique” share, which is 15 percent of the day’s pool, will be paid if only one ticket holder correctly selected the winner in all 6 races. If no or multiple tickets correctly selected the winner in all 6 races, the “unique” share will carry over to the next day. “Unique” means that there is one and only one winning ticket that correctly selected the winner in each of the Pick 6 contests.
In the 11th race at the Southern California track, Fly To Mars outdueled odds-on favorite Lucky With You through the stretch and the Jackpot had been hit.
The horses that comprised the Pick 6 paid $17.40, $16.40, $12.80, $8.40, $14.40 and the $10 win in races 6-11, respectively.
Individually, none of them were impossible to hit, but the combination of victories led to one bettor hitting a mega-score.
Update: There is a controversy surrounding the 11th race.
The controversy arose a half-hour before the race when Horse Identifier Jennifer Paige discovered Fly to Mars was a gelding, even though he was listed as a colt in the track program and past performances.
Paige immediately phoned the stewards, who said they were alerted as the horses were loading the gate for race 10. Stewards quickly investigated and learned the Peter Miller-trained Fly to Mars had in fact been gelded since his most recent start in June 2016.
He was a “first-time gelding,” a piece of information that most bettors consider to be a potentially significant handicapping factor.
The problem Saturday is that no one knew Fly to Mars was a “first-time G” until after race 10 had been run.
Steward Scott Chaney said their first inclination was to declare Fly to Mars. “We contemplated scratching him, but there is nothing in the (California Horse Racing Board) rules that directs us to do that.”
The stewards’ interpretation of the rules was they did not have discretionary authority to scratch Fly to Mars, who won by a half-length. If he had been scratched, the single-ticket jackpot would have rolled to Sunday, regardless of which horse won.
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