An astute horse racing handicapper and entrepreneur from Palm Beach County on Sunday blindsided Gulfstream Park and thousands of bettors salivating at the thought of the richest Pick 6 payoff in U.S. history.
But that moment never came for Gulfstream or those bettors. Dan Borislow beat everyone to the punch.
“I was trying to catch everybody sleeping, and I guess my strategy worked,” Borislow said by phone after cashing a Pick 6 ticket worth nearly $6.7 million.
And he doesn’t feel the least bit bad about it.
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“I guess the more losers there are, the bigger the winner is,” he said.
About the only other person smiling after Borislow’s big score: Uncle Sam.
“Looks like about $1.7 million,” Borislow said of the federal tax cut on his winning wager.
Borislow had good reason to gloat. He became the first person since Gulfstream launched its Rainbow 6 wager on Jan. 10 to not only correctly pick all six winners on the designated races on the track’s daily card, but to also be the only person to hold a winning ticket for any one card — the catch that made the carryover pool swell to historic proportions.
On Monday, though, Gulfstream was prepared to pay off the entire pool whether there was just one correct winner — or a thousand and one.
The track had began publicizing the wager. Track officials projected the final total pool would reach up to $20 million, easily shattering the previous Pick 6 total pool mark of $10.8 million set at California’s Hollywood Park in 2007.
“We’re disappointed like everyone else that we didn’t have the chance to see how high the pool could have gone with a mandatory payout on Monday, but this also proves that you never know when someone will get lucky and hit it,” Gulfstream Park President Tim Ritvo said.
Tracks around the country, knowing their patrons would be absorbed by Gulfstream’s potential massive payoff, even went so far as changing their own race post times so as not to interfere.
Bettors everywhere grabbed advance copies of the Daily Racing Form and began doing their homework for Monday’s card, and a Pick 6 bonanza like none before.
Gulfstream even designed its weekend racing cards to help ensure that Monday would be the day. It carded short fields with big favorites Saturday and Sunday, thereby making it more likely that there would be more than one winning Pick 6 ticket on those days.
After all, it takes only two or more winning tickets to keep the wager going, and the pot building.
But Borislow — the inventor of the magicJack phone system and part-time resident of Palm Beach County — sensed a chance to make a score Sunday. If everyone was so intent on taking aim at the rich payoff on Monday’s card, he figured they might ignore Sunday’s.
And he pounced.
Borislow crafted a ticket costing him $7,600. He bet every horse in the third, fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth races, along with two starters in the sixth race.
“I’ve been handicapping for a few years, and there are two things that are important,” Borislow said. “It’s not only knowing which horses to bet, but how to bet.”
Again, Borislow was banking on two things: light betting interest as most waited for Monday’s card to roll around, and long-shot winners. He scored on both counts.
When Bagration won the first leg of the Pick 6 at odds of 16-1, Borislow was on his way as those playing mostly favorites quickly fell by the wayside. Cajun Breeze ($22 for a $2 win ticket), Little Bart ($12.80), Signofaffection ($10.40), Cajun Sunrise ($9.60) and Callana ($12.80) rounded out the rest of the wager.
Not a single favorite triumphed.
“I thought this would be a good day because everybody was waiting for tomorrow, and I thought today was my chance to get it by myself,” Borislow said.
He got it all right. And didn’t feel at all guilty about ruining the fun for Gulfstream and those hoping for a handicapping home run on Monday.
“Not with all the money in my pocket, I don’t,” he said.