Breaking the Bank: Striking Gold at Fair Grounds


Grandstand Photo at Fair Grounds by Eclipse Sportswire

Breaking the Bank - featuring data courtesy of Equibase - highlights the biggest scores of the past week in racing.

Last week’s Breaking the Bank blog focused on the Rainbow 6, a jackpot wager at Gulfstream Park that had a massive carryover entering the Feb. 26 card. Lo and behold, it was not that jackpot bet – there was not a unique Rainbow 6 winner last week and there is now a carryover jackpot of $2,141,640 entering the March 5 card – but another jackpot wager that produced the biggest payout for the week ended March 2.

Jack Ninio on Saturday, March 1, at Fair Grounds held the lone winning ticket in the Black Gold 5, earning him a massive payout of $463,219.45.

A 51-year old horseplayer from Las Vegas, Ninio told the Fair Grounds publicity department that he has been playing the races for more than 30 years since being introduced to the sport while attending the University of Arizona.

His love of the game paid off handsomely on Saturday when Ninio held the lone winning ticket for the Black Gold 5.

“When I was at school in Arizona, I was at a fraternity pledge meeting, and I heard someone talk about how a player had won a Pick 6 at the Tucson Dog Park for $17,000,” Ninio said. “I started playing the races and have been playing horses for a long time and feel very happy – very excited. That was a life-changing score for me.”

Like the Rainbow 6, the Black Gold 5 is a jackpot bet that produces a carryover when either nobody has the winner for all five races in the sequence or there is more than one ticket with all five winners. The jackpot builds and builds until there is only one unique winning ticket. 

For the Equibase charts from Saturday's card at Fair Grounds, click here.

Ninio told Fair Grounds that he had been following and playing the Black Gold 5 pool for several months as the pool that started building on Dec. 14, 2013, grew and grew. Ninio said he focused on the bet only on cards when he thought the jackpot could, perhaps, pay out.

“There were some days when there were some small fields or lots of favorites that I thought would win, and I would sit those days out, but Saturday’s races looked like the kind of day when there could be just one winning ticket,” he said. “And I saw the first few races in the sequence yesterday and thought there were some vulnerable favorites, so I threw out some horses I thought could get beat, but that I also thought would be used heavily on other players’ tickets.”

Ninio’s strategy paid off. Charlie’s Ring won the first leg of the sequence, Race 5, at 7.60-to-1 by defeating 9-to-5 favorite Forest Henri by two lengths. In the next race, Ninio took down the favorite with 12.70-to-1 Pretty Petal and he was on his way to the score of a lifetime.

Take a look at last week’s top payouts:

Top Payouts for the Week Ended March 2
Wager  Wager Amount   Payoff  Track Date Race#
Win  $2.00  $116.40 CT 2/26/14 6
Place  $2.00  $55.00 MNR 3/1/14 7
Show  $2.00  $61.60 CT 2/25/14 9
Exacta  $1.00  $246.60 TUP 2/24/14 6
Exacta  $2.00  $947.40 PEN 2/26/14 9
Quinella  $1.00  $72.60 TUP 2/24/14 6
Quinella  $2.00  $137.50 AQU 2/24/14 4
Trifecta  $1.00  $1,788.20 SA 2/28/14 8
Trifecta  $2.00  $22,867.40 CT 2/26/14 6
Superfecta  $0.10  $14,576.40 LRL 2/26/14 7
Superfecta  $1.00  $45,937.70 TAM 3/1/14 7
Superfecta  $2.00  $238,953.40 PEN 2/26/14 9
Daily Double  $1.00  $129.90 TUP 2/24/14 7
Daily Double  $2.00  $1,387.40 TAM 3/2/14 9
Pick 3  $0.50  $206.70 BEU 2/24/14 8
Pick 3  $1.00  $5,950.60 OP 2/27/14 5
Pick 3  $2.00  $12,150.20 TAM 2/28/14 10
Pick 4  $0.50  $6,399.45 SA 2/28/14 8
Pick 4  $1.00  $18,884.80 OP 2/27/14 9
Pick 4  $2.00  $190,747.00 TAM 2/28/14 10
Pick 5  $0.50  $77,918.65 GP 3/1/14 11
Pick 5  $1.00  $8,703.80 TAM 3/2/14 10
Pick 5  $2.00  $21,999.80 DED 2/28/14 11
Pick 5 Jackpot  $0.50  $463,219.45 FG 3/1/14 9
Pick 5 Jackpot  $1.00  $3,001.20 LRL 2/26/14 9
Pick 6  $1.00  $6,006.40 TUP 2/26/14 9
Pick 6  $2.00  $333,055.00 AQU 2/28/14 9
Pick 6 Jackpot  $0.10  $3,882.56 CRC 3/2/14 8
Pick 6 Jackpot  $0.20  $81,697.28 GP 3/1/14 11
Pick 6 Jackpot  $1.00  $1,025.90 SUN 3/1/14 11
Super High Five  $1.00  $16,612.90 GG 3/2/14 9
Super High Five  $2.00  $2,846.00 FG 3/1/14 9
Click here for a complete list of racetracks with abbreviations.

© 2014 Equibase Company LLC, all rights reserved. Data provided or compiled by Equibase Company LLC generally is accurate, but occasionally errors and omissions occur as a result of incorrect data received by others, mistakes in processing and other causes. Equibase Company LLC disclaims responsibility for the consequences, if any, of such errors, but would appreciate their being called to their attention.  

There were a number of other massive scores for the week that ran from Feb. 24 through March 2, including another multi-race bet that produced a life-changing payday on Feb. 28 at Aqueduct. The Pick 6 for that Friday card at Aqueduct returned $333,055 to one lucky bettor, and amazingly the six-race sequence included one favorite and three second betting choices.

The Pick 6 started with 1.15-to-1 favorite Star Magnolia taking Race 4 and 2.60-to-1 second choice Your Time Is Up winning Race 5. After Winter Games struck at 12.40-to-1 odds in Race 6, the Pick 6 closed with 3.10-to-1 second choice Bileaps and Bounds in Race 7, 8.50-to-1 third choice Make the Moment in Race 8 and Insighting taking the final race in the sequence as the 2.40-to-1 second betting choice.

Make the Moment’s win in Race 8 included the heavily favored (1-to-2 odds) entry of Lost in Success and Aliana finishing third and fourth, respectively, which undoubtedly wiped out a ton of live tickets.

Also notable:

  • The $2 superfecta for Race 9 on Feb. 26 at Penn National produced a payout of $238.963.40, but with only $17,080 wagered into the pool we can deduct that a 10-cent bet returned $11,947.67. All of the top-four finishers had odds of at least 10.30-to-1, including 34.70-to-1 winner Rebeldia.
  • Tampa Bay Downs late Pick 4 on Feb. 28 – Races 7-10 – produced a payout of $190,747 for a $2 bet. Only $58,157 was bet into the pool, however, so we’re looking at a $47,686.75 winning ticket for a 50-cent bet. Nothing wrong with that! There wasn’t anything easy about this sequence, though, as there were four beaten favorites capped by a 24.60-to-1 longshot holding off an even-money favorite by a neck in the final leg.
  • Race 6 on Feb. 26 at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races was won by 57.20-to-1 longshot Street Parade. With 26-to-1 Prufrock edging 7-to-5 favorite Garden Tavern by a neck for second, Charles Town had a $116.40 winner ($2 bet) - the highest for the week – and a $22,867.40 trifecta return for $2 (actually $11,433.70 for $1), also the highest of the week.

We had an inquiry last week about the highest win payout for the year so far in 2014.  The answer, courtesy of Equibase, for the longest of longshot winners in 2014 is Warmhearted Windy, who won the tenth race at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 17 at 81.10-to-1 odds. A $2 win bet on Warmhearted Windy returned $164.20.

Warmhearted Windy finished a well-beaten fourth in her career debut on the main track at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 26 but made switched to the grass for her second start three weeks later and rewarded her backers with the monstrous payout.

If you are chasing the $2.1 million jackpot on Wednesday, good luck! The Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream starts with Race 5 with a scheduled post time of 3:06 p.m. ET.

Commonly Used Gambling Terms

Account wagering – Betting by internet or phone, in which a bettor must open an account and deposit money with which to bet.

Across the board – A bet on a horse to win, place and show. If the horse wins, the player collects three ways; if second, two ways; and if third, one way, losing the win and place bets. Actually, three bets.

Bounce – An especially poor performance on the heels of an especially good one.

Box – A betting term denoting a combination bet whereby all possible numeric combinations are covered for certain horses.

Bridge jumper – A person who wagers large amounts of money, usually on short- priced horses to show, hoping to realize a small but almost certain profit. The term comes from the structure those bettors may seek if they lose the bet.

Chalk – Betting favorite in a race.

Chalk player – Gambler who wagers on favorites.

Daily Double (or Double) – Type of bet calling for the selection of winners of two consecutive races.

Exacta – A wager in which the first two finishers in a race, in exact order of finish, must be picked.

Exacta box – A wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are selected.

Exotic (bet) – Any bet other than win, place, or show that requires multiple combinations. Examples of exotic wagers are trifecta, Pick 6, Pick 4.

Handle – Amount of money wagered in the pari-mutuel system on a race, full day of races, or entire racing season at a track.

In the money – A horse that finishes first, second or third.

Key horse – A single horse used in multiple combinations in an exotic bet.

Morning line – The starting odds set by the track handicapper.

On the board – Finishing among the first three.

On the nose – Betting a horse to win only.

Overlay – A horse whose odds are greater than its potential to win.

Pari-mutuel – System of wagering where all the money is returned to the bettors after deduction of track and state percentages.

Parlay – A multi-race bet in which all winnings are subsequently wagered on a succeeding race.

Part wheel – Using a key horse or horses in different, but not all possible, exotic wagering combinations.

Pick (6 or other number) – A type of multi-race bet in which the winners of all the included races must be selected. Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6 are commonly used by tracks in the United States.

Place bet – A bet on a horse to finish first or second.

Quinella - Bet in which the first two finishers must be picked in either order.

Show bet – A bet on a horse to finish in the money; third or better.

Speed Figure – A metric that rates a horse’s performance in a race, which is determined by a combination of the horse’s performance and the level of competition he/she competed against.

Trifecta – A bet in which the first three finishers must be selected in exact order.

Trifecta box – A trifecta wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are bet upon.

Underlay – Horse whose odds are more promising than his potential to win.

Win – A bet on a horse to finish first.

Wheel – Betting all possible combinations in an exotic wager using at least one horse as the key.

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