Except for 17 very happy ticket holders, that’s what most Woodbine players had to be thinking early Saturday evening when an unlikely 48-1 filly dashed their hopes of sharing in the $1 million-plus pool in the mandatory payout of the Jackpot Hi-5 on the last race, a maiden race for two-year-old fillies.
Didn’t the past performance comment on the filly’s first lifetime start — “made no impression” — eliminate her from serious consideration? And didn’t her trainer’s record — a woeful three wins in 72 starts — do the same? Not for the 17 ticket holders who gave her another chance and, hence, saw their 20-cent tickets provide the wherewithal to buy a new car, $48,267, when she roared down the stretch in the 12-horse field to win by half a length.
So what’s the view of this intrepid columnist who looked at the race sideways and upside down for a long time and still didn’t add her to group tickets — except as part of “all” horses in a couple positions in the Hi-5? “Totally unexpected. Especially since this was a strong field of contenders and her trainer had a mere four per cent winning rate.”
But then again, as has been mentioned in this column again and again, one lifetime start often means little and players shouldn’t give up on horses that look terrible. In fact, one bad start only adds to the value of the horse for players willing to give the horse another chance. I wonder what computer players who use algorithms would do with a horse like this?
Maybe breeding provided the answer. In this case, the filly’s sire is Frac Daddy, a horse that had a phenomenal 31 per cent wins with debut starters last year. In fact, I wrote about Frac Daddy last year (in a column nominated for a Sovereign award), saying that two horses sired by Frac Daddy won their debut races only a couple days apart including one who went off at odds of 50-1. That was a warning that readers should be aware of Frac Daddy offspring.
So I guess I could say “voila” when his daughter won on Saturday at big odds. Except that wasn’t her debut start, it was her second start and, besides, fewer Frac Daddy debut starters are winning this year.
Still, that heritage might have impressed a few players. Or maybe they just liked the filly’s name: Little Teddy. Cute. Or the fact the filly is gray. I know a couple of die hard “bet the gray” players. Then again, maybe someone won that lucrative payoff simply by buying a handful of random-number quick-pick tickets at five for $1.
No one cashed the 20-cent pick-6, though. It paid $6,457 for five of six winners. Little Teddy also anchored the 20-cent pick-5 that paid $17,715 and the 20-cent pick-4 that paid $6,300. What added to the difficulty (and value) of those tickets was the fact that the second-last leg of those tickets was the tricky non-winners of two races lifetime condition where the winning horse paid $24.70.
Players looking for an opportunity to make amends on another mandatory Jackpot Hi-5 pool payout can do so by switching to harness racing at Woodbine’s Mohawk Park this Saturday.