What are the odds of you winning a pick 6 bet at a horse racing track or off-track betting center? The odds are tough but it's fair to say that the likelihood of picking six winning horses in a row at the same track is probably better than the odds of you winning the Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot.
The pick 6 ticket is easy to understand. It involves simply choosing the winners of six straight horse races all at the same location on the same day. Think of it as a variant on the daily double, but with high stakes.
You might be amazed at the potential winnings that such a ticket can generate. Some horse racing tracks will offer massive jackpots that constantly grow. Some of these jackpots will depend on the odds of the horses that win, and in many cases you may be guaranteed a certain amount of money should any of your picks place first.
Every race track and facility has its own terms surrounding a chance to cash in big with such a ticket. In many cases it can cost a dollar for a regular pick 6 ticket, but sometimes it can be as low as a quarter or a dime. In addition, the terms of some of these tickets can change in the event that your horse ends up scratching. This often results in your pick for that race being replaced by the favorite.
You could get a monster amount of money for a wisely chosen pick 6 ticket. Some of the most valuable pick 6 horse racing tickets have been worth huge totals. In fact, many of these values were influenced by a variety of factors, making for truly once in a lifetime scenarios. Here are the 10 largest pick 6 winnings in history.
10 Gulfstream Park - 2014 - $301,933
Gulfstream Park has a pick 6 promotion called the Rainbow 6. This applies when a person ends up getting the winners on the last six races of the day correct. What makes it so special is that it permits only one person to win it. However, one lucky man who got a winning ticket worth a little more than $300,000 in early 2014 had to spend $2,721.60 on to make it possible. The ticket had more than thirty horses on it, multiplying this possible combinations and subsequently jacking up the price of the ticket. Needless to say, only someone who's wealthy (or a gambling addict) could afford a ticket like this. What made this instance interesting is that the person had only picked one horse in one of the races, which is what caused him to win so big.
9 Belmont Park - 2011 - $308,963
While the payout of nearly $310,000 at Belmont Park for a pick 6 might sound minimal compared to a few other entries on this list, it came from a pool of about $5.2 million. This was the highest pick 6 version in NYRA history. It proved to be relatively substantial and paid dividends to people making good bets that day. The interesting thing about this day is that it was highly successful for most of the favorites. The total certainly would have been greater if a real long shot actually went out and won a race.
8 Hollywood Park - 2013 - $340,000
One important thing to point out about some of these totals is that they are pre-tax winnings. All winnings, particularly those that are at least $600, have to go under the tax microscope before they are given out. However, you could still win a large amount of money even after taxes are considered. This can be seen from one person who in 2013 had a $180 ticket and got $340,000 in return. His take was $259,000 after taxes were considered. This is a sharp decline, but it's still a monstrous payday when all is said and done. Interestingly enough, the bettor upped his chances from his usual bets; he said in an interview after winning that he usually puts $70 on tickets for the pick 6.
7 Saratoga - 2010 - $377,883
The Saratoga track in New York brought a payout of around $375,000 to a winning ticket in 2010. This huge amount came from a carryover from the past day of racing. The pool of $2.4 million for the pick 6 ended up being about $200,000 higher than it was the previous day, softening the blow on the track which had to give out such a big jackpot. Of course, a large amount of money also came out of the pool and went towards paying out the horses and covering the costs associated with running a track as vast and large as Saratoga.
6 Sunland Park - 2011 - $733,186.40
Sunland Park had one ticket that was cashed in in May 2011 for $733,186.40. The winner that day spent $96 on a pick 6 ticket and bet on several horses in each race. This is a practice that is typically done by people who know a lot about horse racing and have lots of money, but it isn't always as successful as it was for this man on this particular day.
5 Gulfstream Park - 2012 - $791,364
On April 1, 2012, a big payout was awarded at Gulfstream Park. It sounded like an April Fools joke considering the massive value of the prize, especially since the winner spent ten cents on a single pick 6 ticket. With those six numbers, this lucky person won $791,364. Much of this came thanks to one of his winning horses having extremely high odds against it. Of his other horses, Miss Montreal, returned $7.80 on a $2 win bet, and Smokin Ali had a return of $153.30 because it was a heavy long shot. One other horse on is ticket had 10-1 or greater odds, combining for an unbelievable payday.
4 Churchill Downs - 2008 - $1,127,774.60
Churchill Downs, the famed track that is home to the Kentucky Derby, has an expensive rule for its pick 6 total. A person needs to pay $2 for a ticket. This is primarily due to the high-end nature of this prominent racing track in Louisville. However, it also enables pick 6 totals to quickly go up in value as the pool increases. On one day in 2008, a pick 6 went for $1.12 million to one bettor after the pool increased substantially over an active day of betting. The fact that the last horse to win, 49-1 Future Prospect, had such high odds made for the biggest payout in the park's history.
3 Santa Anita - 2004 - $1,570,000
The Santa Anita race track in California once had a ticket that paid out $1.57 million in 2004. Three people ended up splitting this money off of their individual pick 6 tickets. This came not only from the large number of bets at the track that day but also because of the track's standards for adjusting values. Carryovers are often made, increasing the value of a jackpot for every day that someone fails to hit the pick 6. There was a three-day carryover on a big promotion at the track that resulted in a pool of around $7 million. On March 3, 2004, just a few days after the $1.4 million pick 6 jackpot was set up, three winning tickets were sold.
2 Hollywood Park - 2007 - $3.2 million
Hollywood Park had a $3.2 million pick 6 jackpot that was split by 13 different people, giving them around $576,000 each in 2007. This winning bet was the record for the highest pick 6 total at the time. The carryover total on the bet was $1.41 million, but nearly $7.6 million was put into the pick 6 tool that day, heavily skewing the value of the jackpot. The fact that it happened on July 3, a day where many people are typically taking off from work early for the big holiday, certainly helped to make the bets a little more interesting. Of course, there's also the fact that a pick 6 bet required a minimum of $2.
1 Gulfstream Park - 2013 - $3,591,245.44
When a carryover happens, it typically encourages more people to bet on the pick 6 choice. In the case of Gulfstream Park, people made enough dime bets over the course of two months to get the pick 6 jackpot to unnaturally high proportions. It went from $41,000 to just over $3.59 million in February 2013, about two months after the last winner. However, much of the pool was accentuated by close to $1 million after the six horses on the successful ticket that day all had $10 payouts or higher for a $2 ticket. This included Keyner Veloz's $114 payout.