Yesterday's video flashback featured the longest priced winner in Breeders' Cup history. Today we look at another big price Classic winner but one that is more famous for uncovering one of the greatest attempted betting scams in history.
When the 43/1 Volponi cross ed the finish line first in the 2002 Classic at Arlington Park, he keyed off an initial Pick 6 payout of $428,392 for each ticket containing all six winners. A large sum, to be sure, but a bit of a suspicious looking payout when the total pool is $4.6 million and a 43/1 shot wins in the final leg. It looked even more suspicious when it was revealed that all six winning tickets were held by the same man and all contained the exact same betting combination: single - single - single - single - all - all. There are many ways to play the Pick 6, but that is one of the more odd and unlikely strategies you'll find anywhere.
After an investigation by multiple authorities into the circumstances surrounding the bet, it was discovered that a "rogue software engineer" at the betting company was able to manipulate tickets after the first four races of the Pick Six were run, thus ensuring that his co-conspirator held tickets in which all combinations were covered in the final two legs. The fly in the ointment, of course, was that he never planned on one of the longest shots in Breeders' Cup history winning the country's richest race.
All three co-conspirators eventually pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundry and computer fraud, and were sentenced to anywhere from one to two and a half years in prison.
Since the Pick Six Scandal, measures have been put in place to prevent such bet manipulation, namely bets are immediately forward once wagering is closed. In 2002, the bets were still until a half hour after the fourth race in a Pick Six sequence, thus allowing the the engineer to exploit a fundamental weakness in the system.
The result chart at the Breeders' Cup official site still lists the official payout for the Pick 6 as $428.329 for six-of-six.