• U.S.

Sport: Peewee Punter

2 minute read

Claude Elkins runs a poolroom in little Anna, Ill. Like millions of other hardworking U. S. citizens, he seldom sees a horse race but plays the horses nevertheless—wiring his $2 bets directly to the tracks because there is no handbook operator* in little Anna. Every racing day for nearly two years Peewee Punter Elkins has played a Daily Double (a pair of horses picked to win the first and second races of the day’s card). But he always picked the wrong combination. Instead of quitting, he continued to pore over form charts, continued to back up his judgment with a $2 bet.

One day last week Student Elkins liked the looks of Merry Caroline, a cheap plater running in the second race at Chicago’s Washington Park. He decided to couple Caroline with Joy Bet, the worst nag (and therefore probably the longest shot) listed for the first race. He wired his selection (and $2) and went about his chores.

Two hours later Claude Elkins felt “sort of cold and sticky all over.” In his hand was a telegram informing him that he was the only ticket holder of the winning combination, that he had won the whole pool of $10,772.40—largest pari-mutuel payoff in the history of U. S. horse racing.

*Handbook operators handle most of the esti mated billion dollars or more wagered on U. S. horse races away from the tracks each year.

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