A bettor won $312,130.90 at Canterbury Park on Thursday night on the Final Five Jackpot, a wager requiring a single unique winning ticket. But it was a case of huge risk and huge reward, according to Star Tribune race handicapper Johnny Love.
To hit the Final Five bet, the horseplayer needed to pick the winners in Races 6 through 10 -- and the person accomplished that by betting on every horse in the first four races of that set, and then two of the seven horses entered in the final race.
The winning horse in the final race went off at 7-1 odds.
The cost of the ticket was $1,920 and it was made by an out-of-state gambler using an online betting service called Xpressbet, said Jeff Maday, Canterbury's publicist. The previous record payout was on a $2 Pick Six that returned $222,812 on July 13, 1986.
"Not much studying going into this ticket, but a lot of money," Love said.
Here's the big risk: If the favorites had won all of the races, the $1,920 would have paid only about $100, Love added.
"This is a risky wager, and not the kind you see from the everyday handicapper," Love explained. "My ticket last night was $198.00 and I hit three legs. The goal is to score upsets with the 'All buttons' (picking every horse in a race), then pick your top choices for the race you feel strongly about. This strategy has worked in other big pools.
"But you need to have a large bankroll."
The first race was won by a horse that paid $21.60 on a $2 win bet. But Love said the turning point was the second race in the Final Five, when the heavily bet favorite Pine Grove Road finished second in a five-horse field. The winner, Logan's Heroe, paid $15.60 on a $2 win bet. Many people betting the Final Five would have taken Pine Grove Road as their only selection in that race.
Favorites also lost in the next two races, knocking out even more horseplayers.
When Streakin Schiller crossed the finish line in the final race, the single ticket was good. If the third-place horse, Bring the Action, had won, there would have been a single winner. There would have been a handful of winners if the favorite had won, but Dynamite Man took fourth.
"Somewhere," he added, "there was a big party going on after the Canterbury card was finished.