Meet the Horse Bettor Who Turned $3 into $60,232

Meet the Horse Bettor Who Turned $3 into $60,232 article feature image
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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports.

  • Gregory McQueen, a 62-year-old from Tennessee, won $60,232 off a $3 bet at the Del Mar race track in California.
  • He netted $45,752.95 after taxes were deducted.
  • "It's a nice Christmas present," said McQueen. "Though I'm not spending it. It's going in savings."

Gregory McQueen had a message on his phone on Tuesday morning from an executive with Twin Spires, the wagering offshoot of Churchill Downs.

It was congratulating him on an unbelievable bet.

The problem was, McQueen actually had no clue what he had won.

“I watched the first race and then went out in the yard,” McQueen told The Action Network on Wednesday. “I usually watch the races later, but didn’t get to them. So I didn’t know what happened when the call came in.”

The 62-year-old retiree, who lives in Tennessee, spent $3 on the Pick 5, and nailed the winners of races five through nine on Sunday, the last day of the fall meet at Del Mar in California.

The bet returned $60,232, and netted McQueen $45,752.95 after taxes. (A new IRS rule states that the payer must deduct taxes on any bet that had odds of greater than 5000-1.)

TwinSpires.com spokesman Ed DeRosa said the payout would’ve been $17,000 had McQueen simply parlayed the five winners together. But it was much higher because he entered the Pick 5.

“So that he got $60,000 is great,” DeRosa said.

When entering Pick 5s in the past, McQueen has limited himself to a five-horse $2.50 bet (50 cents per horse), but with time running out before the fifth race, he couldn’t decide between the No. 7 horse Snazzy Dresser and the No. 5 horse East Rand. So McQueen bet on both of them. Snazzy Dancer won, East Rand came in fifth.

His picks for the sixth race and ninth race were Kate’s Princess and Loomis, respectively, both ridden by jockey Joe Talamo.

In the seventh, he had Uni, who came back from deep in the race to win by a half length and in the eighth had Calexman.

McQueen, who has been betting on horses for the past decade, said he usually studies the races the night before and goes heavy on sire and jockey.

“There are so many things that can happen,” McQueen said. “I realize it’s 80 percent luck.”

His other philosophy to make his $40 to $50 per day budget have a bigger chance of striking gold is to always bet on the last day of meets where carryovers have to be paid out.

After McQueen got the call, he went back and watched the races and even though he wasn’t watching it live, he said “it was just as sweet.”

Said McQueen: “It’s a nice Christmas present. Though I’m not spending it. It’s going in savings.”

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