Leave It To Bob

By Paul Sykes

This could only happen to my buddy Bob. A visit to Churchill Downs for Oaks Day with seats in Sec. 118, compliments of his shift supervisor, for him and his wife. An afternoon of “beverages and merriment” and some luck in the racing wagering that left him some additional money to place some advance wagers on Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. He picks up the story from here:

“I did really good on a couple of races before the Oaks, so I decided to get my Derby bets out of the way on Friday, since I was going to be at the party with you and Sonja Saturday. Stood in line, it seemed, forever to place them…but I eventually got to the window and started calling off the bets to the teller. I’m not a big bettor, but I had the extra money. So I tried a few long shots in addition to betting on my pick for the Derby..Friesan Fire. Grabbed the tickets, forked over the cash and stuck them in my wallet. I knew Friesan Fire didn’t win, but I had a couple of exactas that had I Want Revenge in them, and I’ll be getting a refund on them…since he scratched, so I went thru my wallet last night and started looking at what I had in there.

“Somehow, I ended up with a $2 win ticket on the “8” horse. Mine That Bird and Calvin Borel. Honestly, I don’t remember placing that wager. Double-checked it in the Sunday newspaper. Either I just tossed a number in there or the teller misprinted it and I didn’t check it at the time, because I didn’t think that horse had any chance to win. Dumb luck.”

A nice $103 mistake. Never underestimate the power of those Fern Creek boys…

Cases like this happen all the time on Derby week, according to a friend of mine who is a teller at Churchill Downs. Sometimes, they never get discovered.  Terry offered these words:

“You get a lot of novices who are betting out there for the first time or simply don’t understand their wagers. A common mistake is tossing an across the board ticket because the horse didn’t win. Still pays if it comes in second or third. Also on exacta boxes. You may have bet a 5-7-exacta box, and it comes 7-5. That’s still a winner, but people have tossed them because they see the 5-7 on the ticket and think they didn’t win. Churchill does have a policy, that if you use your Twin Spires Club Card when you wager, and you don’t cash a winning ticket, we notify you after 11 months that you have unclaimed winnings and all you need to do is go to the Twin Spires Information booth and show your card to get a voucher for the amount. Problem is, a lot of the visitors don’t have the Twin Spires Card, which is free, and they never realize it.”

Advice from Terry…. always keep your tickets and check them the next day in the paper, or have a teller scan them the next time you go to the track.  You just might end up like Bob. At least in the racing sense.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.