big kentucky derby winner
Industry Pays $82,972 on $10 Kentucky Derby Bet

(Image credit: Erin Pettigrew) paid out one of its biggest bets ever after the running of last weekend’s Kentucky Derby. Yesterday, the blog at detailed the story of a woman who earned nearly $83,000 with a single $10 bet placed online just minutes before the race.

Keri told the people at TwinSpires that she always enjoyed celebrating the Kentucky Derby with mint juleps, but decided at the last minute that it would be best not to drive to the local OTB station after a drink (or two). So, she visited to see if there was a way to bet online. It was there she found that is the official betting site of the Kentucky Derby.

She signed up for an account an hour before the race was set to go off, deposited $50 and then placed a handful of $10 trifectas. Her strategy for picking winners might irk those of us who did all sorts of research in building our trifectas and still missed: she went with the time-tested strategy of choosing horses whose names she liked.

The Winning Bet

The winning ticket was a trifecta that included Always Dreaming because she had heard so much about the horse prior to the race. She then added Lookin At Lee because Lee is her middle name. Finally, she added Battle of Midway because one of her husband’s favorite movies is about the Battle of Midway.

She put $10 on the ticket and then her and her husband called it an early night and went to bed before the race was even run. She had no idea what had happened when she woke up at 4 AM to use the bathroom and decided on a whim to see how her bets had turned out. Upon logging into her account and seeing a five-figure balance, she could hardly believe it. Her husband was so groggy that he couldn’t even tell either.

The next morning, she checked again and the winnings were indeed real. Her trifecta had returned $82,972 off a mere $10 wager. After automatic tax withholdings, Keri was able to immediately cash out $62,232.

When asked what she planned to do with the winnings, she told TwinSpires that she will be using the money to pay off the rest of her debt, pay for a new roof and save for a vacation. She’ll also be taking her family of 16 out to dinner.

When asked if she’ll be betting on the Preakness Stakes, she said she doesn’t even know yet. “I have beginner’s luck,” she said. “Every time I go to a casino for the first time I win, but then I’m not so lucky. I guess I have beginner’s luck online too.”

Beginner’s luck indeed. Imagine that – she signed up for an account an hour before the Kentucky Derby, placed a few bets based on the horses’ names and then woke up the next morning with an extra $62,000 to her name after taxes.

Keri wasn’t the only Kentucky Derby winner last weekend. William Hill US reported a few days ago that one gambler at the Edgewater Casino in Nevada placed an identical trifecta as Keri’s for $1. That wager returned an impressive $8,297.20 for the lucky gambler. There’s no word yet if that horseplayer also chose horses based on their names.

How Trifecta Bets Work

As the incredible payouts this week indicate, trifecta wagers can be very lucrative wagers. They are also quite difficult to hit – hence the huge odds. Trifectas are fairly simple wagers that involve you picking the exact finishing order of the top three horses.

In a straight trifecta, you must pick which horse will take first, which will take second and which will take third. The top-3 horses must finish in that exact order as well or your bet is lost. In a competitive race like the Kentucky Derby with 20 runners, unpredictability makes it an extremely difficult wager to win even for experienced handicappers.

Some people love the potential for big payouts but quite understandably don’t like how difficult it is to make such an exact prediction. Those people have an option as well called the trifecta box. In a trifecta box, you simply pick three or more horses to finish in the top three and you win no matter which order those particular horses finish.

Trifecta boxes simply combine multiple trifectas into one bet. A three-horse box, for example costs $6 as it covers six possible combinations at $1 each. The winner of that big bet at the Edgewater Casino placed a variant of the Trifecta covering 20 different outcomes at $1 each. The whole bet cost $20, but only one of the exact combinations hit for that $8K payout.

The increased cost of trifecta boxes does cut into payouts a bit, but I’d be wiling to bet whoever won that bet at the casino isn’t going to sweat the other $19 when he or she cashes that $8,297.20 check.

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