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Man wins $147,000 thanks to Kentucky Derby controversy

Yahoo! Sports logo Yahoo! Sports 5/5/2019 Jeff Eisenberg
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Frustrated after he didn’t win a single one of his Kentucky Derby bets, Rick Broth left Churchill Downs in a hurry on Saturday evening.

The construction sales manager had just pulled onto I-65 South when a friend called to tell him that he might want to turn around.

For the first time in 145 runnings of the Kentucky Derby, the horse that crossed the finish line first did not actually win the race. Minutes after Broth left the track, racing stewards ruled that first-place Maximum Security impeded the run of a rival horse, resulting in his disqualification and in second-place Country House being declared the winner.

For Broth, that stunning reversal was the difference between driving home to Atlanta with empty pockets and returning to the track to collect a life-altering payday. Not only did he win more than $47,000 wagering on Country House as a 65-1 long shot, he also won another $100,000 in prize money as the winner of the Kentucky Derby Betting Championship.

“I went from being the biggest loser that ever lived to a great story,” Broth said. “I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I’ve been taken down 100 times at the track for big money, so to be put up is just unbelievable.”

Stories like Broth’s serve as a reminder how much money changed hands on Saturday night when the Kentucky Derby ended in controversy. Maximum Security’s disputed disqualification cost bettors who backed him millions of dollars in lost winnings.

Gamblers across the nation placed just over $6.2 million in bets on the 9-2 race favorite to win the Kentucky Derby, according to statistics provided by a spokesman for the online horse racing site TwinSpires.com. Nearly $1.5 million was bet on Maximum Security to place, as was almost $1.3 million on him to show.

At 65-1, Country House had the second longest odds of any Kentucky Derby winner, topped only by 91-1 longshot Donerail in 1913. According to the data from TwinSpires.com, gamblers placed $520,907 in bets on Country House to win.

The largest win bet on Country House reported by TwinSpires was $2,500, which would have paid a net $162,500. The largest win bet on Maximum Security reported by TwinSpires was $8,000, which would have paid a net $32,000.

While betting on horse racing is typically pari-mutuel, meaning gamblers wager against each other instead of against the house, an exception is the futures odds market at the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas. Maximum Security’s disqualification resulted in a five-figure swing against the house, according to Jay Kornegay, Westgate Vice President of Race and Sports Operations.

Aside from Country House jockey Flavien Prat and trainer William I. Mott, nobody was happier with the disputed outcome of the race than Broth. The Cleveland native has bet on horse racing most of his life, but seldom has he enjoyed a bigger win than he did Saturday.

Last Tuesday, Broth and a friend on a whim recorded a podcast in which he correctly predicted much of what happened in the Kentucky Derby. Among those who took his advice and won their wagers was Broth’s boss, who will use the payout to help pay his hospitalized wife’s medical bills.

Said Broth, “To be able to help someone like that, that’s pretty rewarding.”

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