June 22, 2024

Hurricane Handicapping Leads to $49,734 Score for Florida Woman

The TwinSpires.com tagline is Bet Anywhere, and Linda Scott put that to the test on September 11 when she bet the Pick 5 carryover at Mountaineer amidst Hurricane Irma.

Scott, 73, is a retired schoolteacher who moved to Florida from her native Indiana. She had been through hurricanes before, but had never anticipated one like this. Betting Mountaineer was her way of weathering the storm and associated nerves.

“There wasn’t much to do outside the house, and we were one of the lucky ones with power, so we figured why not play a little Mountaineer,” Scott said.

The luck didn’t end with the power staying on, as Scott stringed together five consecutive winners on just a $9 ticket to scoop the pool and win $49,734.20.

“It very much felt like ‘Let It Ride,’” Scott said. “We were walking around lucky and didn’t even know it. Every win started to make it feel more unbelievable. Being in my 70s, I’m just glad I didn’t have a heart attack; then I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it as much.”

The $9 ticket used 18 combinations with 2 horses in the 1st race, 3 horses in the 2nd race, 1 horse in the 3rd race, 1 horse in the 4th race, and 3 horses in the 5th race.

“I didn’t like the favorites in the [3rd and 4th] races,” Scott said. “I thought there was a chance that the horse who got the lead could beat the favorites. As it turns out, no favorites won at all.”

Scott entered the last race alive to three horses: #4 Do What I Ask, #5 Sniffer, and #6 Zolee’s Dream. Her payouts if one of those three horses won ranged from $24,867 to $49,734. No one would have picked five if #s 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, or 10 had won. That left #2 The Love Monkey as the only horse who could win the race and make Scott a loser.

So did she hedge on the 3-to-2 favorite?

“I did hedge,” admitted Scott. “We looked at the will pays, saw that I’d win with any horse except the 2 and bet $50 to win him to guarantee a winning day.

“As it happens, it was the 2 & 6 neck and neck, nose to nose at the wire, and the 6 held on. It was unbelievable; I was in disbelief. There were a few races where if the photo had gone the other way I’d have lost. That’s part of the excitement though.”

Scott grew up in Indiana, which at the time did not have horse racing, so she attended the races across the Ohio River at Latonia (now Turfway) Park, Churchill Downs, and the old Louisville Downs. She retired to about 40 minutes from Tampa Bay Downs and goes there on occasion—especially for contests.

“My husband and I don’t play as many contests now that we’re in our 70s, but we do enjoy them,” said Scott, a two-time qualifier for the National Handicapping Championships.

Scott plans to use the money add a screened-in porch to her Florida home. Other than that home improvement project she’ll use the windfall “to do the things I like to do,” she said.