Texas Woman Places $18 Kentucky Derby Bet And Walks Away With $1.2 Million

Photo: Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire (Getty)

Ladies and gents, it appears we have a real-life Biff Tannen. Well, at least without the evil psyche and terrible sideburns. For those not catching onto the Back To The Future references, we simply mean it appears a woman invented a time machine in order to get sports info from the future, come back to the present, and place a picture-perfect bet worth a ton of cash.

We know, we know. It’s a stretch. But we think I have proof!

A Texas woman placed an $18 horse racing bet that concluded with the Kentucky Derby this past weekend … and won $1.2 million.

kentucky derby bet

Yes. $18 = $1.2 million.


Margaret Reid spent her $18 cash on a “Pick 5” bet, which means that she had to choose the correct winner of five straight horse races, the last being the winner of the Kentucky Derby. When Justify crossed the finish line on Saturday, Reid became an instant millionaire.

The odds of hitting on all five races? We have no idea. But just look at that smile.

Another crazy nugget from this news is that Reid will be taking home about the same amount as the owners of Justify’s team, who reportedly made about $1.4 million from winning the Kentucky Derby. The big difference is Justify’s team spent $500,000 on the colt and a team of horse racing experts and caretakers to get their return.

Of course, Retama Park, the track just outside of San Antonio where Reid placed her wager, is just as happy to have the free publicity.

“It’s extremely rare,” Retama Park spokeswoman Rachel Bagnetto 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.”

Reid said she did her homework before making the bet. As for all the new lettuce? She said she’s going to be smart about it — a vacation, then some investing, including her daughter’s future tuition.

According to the Washington Post, a thoroughbred owner named Daniel Borislow took home $6,678,939.12 after hitting on a “Rainbow 6” challenge (he wagered $7,603.20). As for this year’s race, a Vegas gambler placed a 300-to-1 futures bet on Justify winning the Kentucky Derby at Wynn back in February, well before the colt even locked in a spot for the race. His $500 bet paid out $150,000.

Josh’s take

No question a win like Reid’s is akin to winning the lottery. I really hope she is smart with the money.

According to USA TODAY, 70 percent of lottery winners go broke within a couple years. There are an infinite barrage of stories about how winning the lottery has actually ruined people’s lives.

Josh Helmuth is a sports reporter in St. Louis who contributes to Mandatory.