Sam and I had some friends over to watch the Kentucky Derby last night.
To add some excitement to the evening, these friends went to Off-Track Betting to place a few wagers on the race. Don’t be too worried, we placed a total of $10 worth of bets. I selected the last place horse while Sam managed to pick the first place horse. Well, in theory he did.
I had a decidedly unscientific manner in picking my racehorse. I looked at which horse would be starting from the 8th gate. In honor of Baby Ocho. When I saw that the horse’s name was South Bend, I thought I had picked a real winner, despite 50-1 odds.
Sam wanted a bet on the horse predicted to place third, or with the third best odds. Sam and Josephine had robotics practice, so I said I would take care of placing Sam’s bet.
I texted my friend and placed our bets. I was confused when she followed up later in the morning and told me that Sam had taken Necker Island with 85-1 odds. I don’t follow horse racing that closely, so I thought this must be a peculiar field for this year’s Kentucky Derby.
I realized my mistake later in the day. I had told my friend to place the bet on the horse with the third highest odds. Which is very different from placing a bet on the horse with the third best odds.
We gathered to watch the race and all had a good laugh at my mistake. I told Sam that he had likely placed a bet on a horse that was actually a goat and would have trouble finishing the race. Not that South Bend was that great of a horse. He went off at 36-1 odds.
It turns out that I picked the goat. Good ‘ole South Bend finished in dead last place, almost 26 lengths back. Sam’s long shot horse actually placed 11th. And then we decided to see what would have happened if I had texted his bet correctly.
Well, it turns out that the horse with the third best odds prior to race time was the Bob Baffert horse, Authentic. The winner of the 146th Kentucky Derby.
So Sam missed out on a grand windfall of $16.80.
But I got the story.