Only one bettor, a savvy track regular known to insiders as Clyde the Clipper, saw the "hole" in the show pool for the Alabama, which had a field of five. Clyde bet on every horse to show, putting $24,000 on the 1-to-5 favorite, Davona Dale, and $200 apiece on the other horses. Davona Dale ran second to It's in the Air, and Mairzy Doates was third. Even with 27-to-1 odds on Mairzy Doates, all three horses paid $2.10 to show. Clyde came out $820 ahead.
Don Drew, who supervises mutuels operations for the New York Racing Association, says, "The perfect race is a rare situation. It's obvious only to the people who look for it, and it will only pay off if you have a lot of cash to bet. A sophisticated bettor would be watching the 60-second cycles on the tote board, where we update the off-track and on-track show pools." Drew is surprised that Clyde was the only horse player to take advantage of the Alabama situation, but he is quick to add that Clyde would have lost a bundle if Davona Dale had run out of the money, because he erred in his arithmetic and did not bet quite enough on the other horses.
Drew points out that the same rare circumstances occurred on June 30 in the Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont, in which Davona Dale was also the favorite. There the show pool totaled $493,503, of which $482,553 was riding on Davona Dale. "But no one bet the system," Drew said. "It's remote, but sure, it could happen again."
Isn't that what dreams are made of?