A day at the races wins $89,349 purse

January 02, 1998

A day at the races wins $89,349 purse


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - For a brief moment Wednesday, a crowd of more than 2,200 held their collective breath as the horses dashed out of the starting gates at Charles Town Races.

At stake was the largest prize in the track's history, more than $56,000, and many of those in the crowd fantasized about what they would do with the money if they hit the right combination of horses in two races.

"I'd buy a house in a heart beat," said Katie Arbuco, of Rockville, Md.

No one had hit the right combination since July and the prize for the Super Trifecta had grown steadily throughout the year.


State law prohibited the track from carrying the prize money into the new year, so the track officials intended to award the money to the person or persons who came closest.

As the horses charged out of the gates, many in the crowd yelled the horses' names, calling them on as if by their shouts they could make their horses run faster.

But after the seventh race, it was one man who won the pool, which had grown to $89,349 with so many people betting on the Super Trifecta wager.

The winner told track officials he wanted to remain anonymous.

Track spokesman Bill Bork Jr. said the crowd of 2,276 was well above normal for a Wednesday race card.

Most of the money bet on Wednesday was on the Super Trifecta races.

Bettors put down money for 43,818 tickets for the sixth race, hoping to hit the right combination of the horses in first, second and third place to get a chance to pick the horses in the seventh race in order of first through fourth place.

Many of the wagers lost out when the horse least expected to cross the finish line first, Medical Miracle, a 33-to-1 shot, won the race.

Only 17 of the 43,818 tickets correctly picked the right combination of horses in the sixth race to get a chance to pick the horses in the seventh race.

Bork said he did not know who the winner was, but that it was either someone who was an expert at gambling or who was extremely lucky.

Rhonda Orndorff, of Gaithersburg, Md., said she had come to the track to celebrate New Year's Eve by gambling on the video slot machines and betting on the horses.

"I'm still learning how to bet," she said.

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