128th Derby Means Big Bucks Payoffs
MARK R. CHELLGREN
May. 05, 2002
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ War Emblem returned big money to bettors who ventured a few bucks Saturday on No. 5 in the Kentucky Derby.
With a big field of 18 and no clear prerace favorite, the $43 payoff on a $2 winning bet was among the 10 best returns since Churchill Downs started keeping records. The return on the 20-1 shot tied the amount paid for a winning bet on Bold Venture in 1936.
The payoffs rose astronomically for the exotic wagers. A $2 exacta on War Emblem and Proud Citizen meant $1,300.80. A trifecta, picking War Emblem, Proud Citizen and Perfect Drift in order, returned $18,373.20.
A superfecta, which included fourth-place Medaglia d'Oro, meant $91,764.50.
Owner Prince Ahmed Salman, a member of the royal family in Saudi Arabia, did not get to share in the wealth, at least from the betting windows.
``No, I'm not a gambler,'' he said.
The post-time favorite was Harlan's Holiday, the morning-line pick who made it to 6-1 among the moneyed masses in the fifth-largest crowd in Derby history. His seventh-place finish made him the latest Derby favorite to lose.
The less adventurous among the 145,033 sun-baked patrons got $22.80 on a place bet and $13.60 to show on War Emblem.
Place horse Proud Citizen paid $24.60 and $13.40. Perfect Drift was $6.40 to show.
In 1913, Donerail paid $184.90, a record for a $2 wager on a Derby winner. The second-highest payoff in the 128 years of the Derby was $123.60 on Stone Street in 1908, but it was an anomaly because that year a $5 minimum bet was required.
Gallahadion in 1940 provided the second-best payoff on a $2 bet _ $72.40.
Salman nevertheless profited handsomely from the win. His Thoroughbred Corp. bought War Emblem after his win in the Illinois Derby. The reported $1 million price was recouped and then some.
In addition to the $875,000 first-place purse from the Kentucky Derby, War Emblem got a $1 million bonus for winning the Illinois-Kentucky double.
``I thought the price was extremely reasonable,'' Salman said, dismissing any notion that he somehow bought his way into winner's circle. ``Everybody buys the Derby.''