Handicapper credits Kayla Stra for adding to his retirement nest egg

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Ed DeRosa

December 23rd, 2013

Kevin B. might be a short timer at his current job, but even being live to a six-figure pay day couldn’t keep the advertising executive away from his work.

Kevin announced his retirement last month and still has work to do before calling it a career, but he’s not one to shy away from a carryover, either, so when Hollywood Park opened its closing weekend on Friday, December 20, with $79,000 in the Pick 6 kitty, Brown indulged.

“I always look for the carryovers,” Kevin said. “I used to play the Pick 6 more often than I do now because I think it’s gotten tougher, but it’s tough to resist a carryover.”

A $180 play and several hours later, Kevin opened his account to see an account balance of more than $259,000, which reflected his post-tax haul on the $340,156.40 he won with the only perfect ticket on that day’s sequence plus 11 consolation (5/6) payouts.

Kevin was able to sneak a few peeks at the live racing throughout the day but went dark going into the last leg, knowing that he was live to five of the 12 horses. An hour or so later when he was done with work he was more than a quarter of a million dollars richer.

“You could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw my account balance,” Kevin said. “I thought one of the favorites would win and I’d get $30,000 or so. I just announced my retirement so this is a real bonus. I had wondered if I had enough saved, but now I’m in a real good position.

Kevin’s $180 ticket was a 1x6x1x3x1x5 play that singled Julio’s Gold ($8.20) in race 3 (leg 1), Scorcher ($7.00) in race 5 (leg 3), and Oscillator ($7.80) in race 7 (leg 5), which ended up being the perfect strategy as those were by far the three shortest prices in the sequence that also included Candiz ($21.40) in race 4 (leg 2), Rock Off ($14.60) in race 6 (leg 4), and World Famous Sam T ($82) in race 8 (leg 6). Kevin said that World Famous Sam T was the last horse he decided to use and did so because of jockey Kayla Stra.

“In the last leg I saw Kayla Stra riding for a local trainer and thought she always rides hard and tries hard and had good a chance as any,” Kevin said. “She doesn’t win a lot, but she always pays more than she should, and in a field like this I wanted to use her.

“I’m a small-time player; my tickets are usually anywhere from $70 or $80 up to $200,” Brown said. “I feel like I struck a blow for the small player by taking this down for $180.”

Kevin got into racing after moving to San Francisco in the early 80s and going to Bay Meadows with some friends. He has since been to Churchill, Del Mar, Golden Gate, Hollywood, and Keeneland among others but not Santa Anita.

“It’s really too bad that poor old Bay Meadows is gone and now Hollywood,” Kevin said. “I might make a trip down to Santa Anita now with my winnings, though.

“I visited Hollywood once and really liked it. It’s a beautiful place, and I’ll have a lasting memory of it now, that’s for sure.”

Two other players with a lasting memory of Hollywood Park also played on, as Mark B. and Brent P. were two of five winners on the closing day card at the Southern California track to give three of the last six Pick 6 winners.

Mark made his score on a $128 ticket while Brent took a bigger swing with a $9,216 play.

Racing in Southern California now shifts to Santa Anita Park, which opens its Winter-Spring-Summer meeting on Thursday, December 26, and reports are now available from

Also starting December 26 is the SCORE FOR 20% MORE promotion only at where if you hit the late Pick 4 at both Gulfstream and Santa Anita Parks on the same day, you get a 20% bonus on the combined payout up to $500.