A pair of racing aficionados from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., spent Saturday watching the early races at Pimlico, then they put their observations to use to score a massive payday in the Preakness.
Joe Cavallo, 26, and Stephanie Rafferty, 21, hit the Pick 4 with Preakness winner Oxbow, Itsmyluckyday, Mylute, and Orb. One of their 72 50-cent Pick 4 bets netted $4,883.05, and Rafferty fought back tears as she saw the payout.
“What am I going to do with $5,000?” Rafferty said. “It hasn't set in yet.”
While the couple spends countless summer days at the track in Saratoga, Rafferty, who works in construction, said she only gambles on the big race days. On days with big payouts like the Preakness and Kentucky Derby, Cavallo, a mortgage consultant, said they typically study the day's races and use what they glean for Pick 4 selections.
Saturday, they noticed that he horses who started quickly were never caught and ran away with victories, so the couple bet on speed horses like Oxbow.
“We played the track variables,” Cavallo said.
Cavallo and Rafferty bet on speed, but San Francisco resident Devan Gillick's $50 win betting on Oxbow was all about sentiment.
A self-proclaimed horse lover who came to Baltimore with three friends for her 30th birthday, Gillick came to know horse racing from her late father, who once bought her a biography of D. Wayne Lucas, Oxbow's trainer.
She also said Oxbow's mount, Stevens, was her favorite jockey.
The four women will fly back to San Francisco on Wednesday after spending the beginning of next week in Washington, D.C. Cavallo and Rafferty have a date on the books Sunday at the National Aquarium, and despite their windfall, plan to keep it.