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All (quick-pick) bets are off in California horse racing

May 20, 2008 |  4:23 pm

Betting_windows What are the odds that the winning number in a field of 20 horses won't show up even once when you buy 1,300 Quick-Pick superfecta tickets? So impossibly slim that when it happened to a racing fan using the automated method to bet on the Kentucky Derby, the whole system was promptly shut down and an investigation launched, Blood Horse (who knew?) reports.

An irregularity discovered in "quick pick" superfectas that were wagered on the May 3 Kentucky Derby . . . in Northern California is being investigated by the California Horse Racing Board, the agency's executive director said May 17.         

The investigation was launched after a bettor at Bay Meadows purchased 1,300 $1 quick picks for the Kentucky Derby superfecta, in which the first four finishers must be listed in exact order on the ticket. The bettor discovered that he did not have the number "20" once among the 5,200 possibilities. The race, of course, was won by Big Brown, who was the number 20.

Here's the release from the California Horse Racing Board, explaining what happens next. Though the California ban on Quick-Pick started on May 5, it wasn't until Blood Horse published its story two days ago that the racing industry learned of the investigation, according the the San Jose Mercury News.

So, fraud or computer glitch? That's the question.

--Veronique de Turenne

Photo: EPA