I tried to engage him in conversation, but he rebuffed me with, “If you don’t mind, I’m here to work. Not make friends.” He then got up and found another seat two rows in front of me. How rude, I thought, but at the same time I wondered how he could consider what he did work. After all, this was the same guy who on Sunday had bet $100 on eight races and had only cashed one ticket. How could he possibly make any money doing that? I was now more than ever determined to find out.
The fourth, fifth and sixth races found him doing what I had seen him do many times now. This unassuming man would buy his tickets, watch the race, then tear a corner off his losing tickets. He then cashed a winning ticket on the seventh race. The tote board showed the winner had paid $27.60 for every $2 ticket. This mysterious bettor had just cashed a ticket for $690.
I checked the payout for the third race and discovered the horse that won had paid $19.80 to win. Assuming he had bet $50 on that race, he had collected $495 for his winning ticket. What had the horse that won the sixth race on Sunday paid, I then wondered. When I got home, I looked it up. $46.20 for a $2 bet; $1155 for a $50 wager. I quickly did the math and discovered that my shy betting comrade had wagered $1600 dollars over two days time, and had cashed three tickets totaling $2340. That was a profit of $740 for two days.
At the time, I considered myself a decent handicapper, cashing roughly 38% of my winning wagers. However, I seldom found a long shot I was willing to bet. How did he find these horses? How could he make money with only 19% winners? Surely these two days were an anomaly.
To be continued…