Justify may have won the Kentucky Derby this weekend, but the real winner of the day is a black Texas woman who raked in $1.2 million on an $18 bet.
Yes, you read that right. Opting to remain anonymous, the Austin woman made her picks in Salem, Texas. on Saturday—some 1,100 miles away from Churchill Downs where Justify (the winning thoroughbred horse) would later win the 144th annual Kentucky Derby. According to ABC News, she not only made a Pick 5 wager at the Retama Park racetrack in Salem, she also selected the winners of all four races leading up to the main event.
She started with the eight race on Saturday when 6-year old Limousine Liberal won the Churchill Downs Stakes. She also picked Maraud to win the American Turf Stakes in the ninth race, and Funny Duck to take the Pat Day Mile race despite the 39-1 odds. She picked Yoshida in the 11th race, a 9-1 long shot who beat out the favorite Beach Patrol by a nose in the Old Forester Turf Classic. Her easiest bet was Justify, who was favorite to win at 3-1 odds.
To put her win in perspective, the co-owners of Justify: WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing, and the China Horse Club, bought Justify in 2016 for $500,000. After its win on Saturday, the horse earned its owners a $1.24 million payday, a 1.485 return on their investment in one day. The anonymous Texas woman’s $1.2 million win, however, gives her a whopping 66.7% return on her measly $18 investment.
“It’s extremely rare,” Rachel Bagnetto, a spokeswoman for Retama Park told ABC News. “To bet that little amount of money and win $1.2 million is unheard of. In fact, it’s the first time it’s happened at Retama.”
What is also rare on the day was Justify becoming the first horse in 136 years to win at Churchill Downs after not racing as a two-year-old.
Here’s a breakdown of the $2 million purse between the top five finishers:
First place (Justify): $1.24 million
Second place (Good Magic): $400,000
Third place (Audible): $200,000
Fourth place (Instilled Regard): $100,000
Fifth place (My Boy Jack): $60,000