Dumb Luck? How I Hit Gulfstream Park’s Rainbow Pick 6 For $1.2 Million - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Dumb Luck? How I Hit Gulfstream Park’s Rainbow Pick 6 For $1.2 Million

(The horseplayer who hit Friday's $1.2 million Rainbow Pick 6 at Gulfstream Park is a resident of Kentucky who asked that his name not be disclosed. He told his story to Paulick Report publisher Ray Paulick.)

I was in my office Friday afternoon and thought I'd go online to see what races were coming up. I started betting on horses about a dozen years ago and am not an everyday player – more like weekly. My favorite bets are Pick 4's and Pick 5's. I don't play Pick 6's that often because, frankly, they are so hard to hit.

I logged on to my TwinSpires account and noticed that it was about 10 minutes before the fifth race at Gulfstream Park – the start of the Rainbow Pick 6. I knew about the mandatory payout on Saturday and planned to play it then. I hadn't even looked at Friday's entries or past performances but the timing was right and I said to myself, “What the hell? Why not?”

I pulled up selections for two handicappers that I follow. The first is Dan Cronin at www.fatbaldguyracing.com. Dan does a really good job of helping put together tickets for Pick 4's and Pick 5's. I like his format and the way he adds comments to his suggestions. It's helpful in putting a ticket together. The second one was The Wizard at Daily Racing Form. It's a handicapping sheet I've had good luck with.

I didn't even have time to look at past performances, so I put my ticket together based on suggestions from Dan Cronin and also The Wizard.

When I play Pick 5's and 6's, I try to find a single or go skinny on a leg or two, then hit the “all” button when I can and hope for a couple of bombs. Because I didn't have much time, I couldn't find a single. I used two horses in the first leg, the fifth race, followed by five in the second, five in the third, all nine entrants in the fourth, three in the fifth and four in the sixth and final leg.

The ticket came out to $1,080. That's about twice as much as I'll usually play, and I was kicking myself after Souper Legacy won the opening leg as the 13-10 favorite. That's the horse I was going to single. He won by a head over Bird Wildcat, a horse I didn't use. If I'd singled Souper Legacy, my ticket would have cost $540.

I had the top four finishers in the second leg, a maiden race won by American Starlet. She paid $9.20, beating the favorite by two lengths.

After that race, I had to go out and run a few errands and then head home. We were going to a friend's house down the street for dinner at six o'clock and when I got home I wanted to get in a workout before we left. At that point, I'd forgotten about the ticket. I came upstairs to get something off the computer and that jogged my memory. I thought, “Let me check on that Pick 6 and see where I am.”

I looked at the seventh race, the third leg, where I had five horses, and said, “Wow, I caught the eight at big odds.” Bahamian Rhapsody won the race and paid $25.

The next leg I've got all nine starters so I'm hoping for a longshot. Sure enough Family Time went off at 14-1 and won wire to wire.

The fifth leg I'm only three deep, but I had the five horse, Collaborate, who won it and paid $7.60.

I looked up the “will pays” and I was alive to four horses in the final leg, a mile race on the turf. I had the 1-2-3-4 horses. The payouts were about what you'd expect for three of the horses, but the No. 3 horse, Canelo, stood out: $1,200,305.88. You could easily see that was the whole pool. There was one ticket and I had it.

This was the only ticket I played, and it didn't occur to me to start hedging and bet on other horses in that final race. At that point, what are the odds I'm going to hit this? I've got the top three favorites, plus this 32-1 bomb, Canelo. I'm thinking, “What if the three wins? How crazy would that be?” It was Canelo's second start and first time on turf and around two turns. I checked to see if anyone likes the horse, but his odds were actually going up as we got closer to the race.

I still had about 10 minutes and I wanted to get a workout in before we left for dinner. So I went downstairs and watched the race on my phone while I'm working out.

When the three got a nice break from the starting gate, gets over to the rail and gets an easy lead, I'm like, “That's cool. At least there's that.”

Corey Lanerie is riding the horse, and he's controlling the pace all the way around. But on the final turn as they're getting ready to hit the stretch, I see the No. 2 horse – the 6-5 favorite – making a move.

My first thought was, “Thank goodness I have the two on my ticket.” If the two wins I get $6,077. But the three horse keeps going, and I'm screaming “Go three! Go three! Go three!” My wife and daughter heard the commotion and ran downstairs wondering what in the world is going on.

The race had just ended, with Canelo well in front, and I said, “I think I just won over a million dollars.”

My wife said, “What? Are you sure? You better check your ticket.”

So I check the ticket over and over and said, “Yes, I've got this.”

I waited a few minutes for it to be official and hit the button on my phone to update my TwinSpires balance, and there it is. The payout was about $912,000 after taxes were withheld.

I've had one other big score since I started playing the races – a Pick 6 at Belmont Park a few years ago that paid about $37,000 – but nothing close to this. I still can't believe it happened.

Was it just dumb luck? Yes, it was. And that's why you can't really handicap this kind of bet where you have to be the only winner. My method for this was very unscientific: I just tried to put together a manageable ticket.  There was more luck than anything else, and the stars just aligned for me.

I know I probably caused a lot of heartburn at Gulfstream Park, because they were going to have a huge pool on Saturday if no one hit it. But I've been on the other side of this a few times.

Our celebration Friday night was pretty modest. A pot-luck dinner with our friends and their kids had already been planned, and we feasted on cabbage rolls, canned beans and canned turnip greens. My wife thought maybe we should have done something different, but it was fun.

I'll probably take the weekend off as far as betting is concerned. I'm still stunned this happened. I haven't figured out yet what to do with the money, but my wife said she has some ideas.

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