Former Major League Baseball all-star Paul Lo Duca has some very happy memories of the Preakness Stakes. In fact, he made the biggest bet of his life on the race in 2001 at a Las Vegas casino, according to a story he wrote for ActionNetwork.com.
Lo Duca, who last year left TVG to join the broadcast team at the New York Racing Association, was in Las Vegas on a rehab assignment for the Los Angeles Dodgers, playing in a weekend series for the team's AAA team that had moved that year from Albuquerque, N.M. The assignment corresponded with Preakness weekend.
Lo Duca thought Bob Baffert-trained Point Given, the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Derby, was almost a sure thing and bet him to win with everything he had in his pocket and then some, taking out a $10,000 “marker” from the casino host.
He was driven to plunge on the horse in part because of a surly cashier at the Hard Rock Hotel sports book who looked down at horseplayers.
LoDuca was in a race for time because it was coming up to the time he was supposed to be at the ballpark to prepare for that night's game, but he decided to stay at the casino and watch the race. Point Given won easily by 2 1/4 lengths, paid $6.60. and Lo Duca wound up with over $40,000 and still made it to the park before game time.
“I called my casino host in front of the sportsbook guy and told him to put the cash in a lockbox in the cage and I'll get it after my game,” Lo Duca wrote. “I hung up the phone and told the guy at the counter, ‘that's why I bet on horses,' and tossed him a couple thousand, because I never would have bet that much if he didn't laugh at me.”
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