By Scott Taylor (@staylorsports)
Assiniboia Downs CEO Darren Dunn called it, “a record that will never be broken.”
On Monday night, bettors from around the world wagered $4,106,601 on the races simulcast from Winnipeg’s thoroughbred track as eager punters tried to get a piece of a record payout of $3,132,280.
“It was a 6/49 opportunity,” said Dunn, who was thrilled with the international response to the Downs’ Jackpot Pick 5 pool. “With the amount of money wagered on the pool it grew from $447,361 to over $3 million and every penny was dispersed.
“It would have been fun to have one big winner but because the card was pretty chalky (the favourites came home first in most races), there were a lot of winners. But a $2 wager paid $1,800 so there were a lot of happy people around the world.”
Because a single winner Jackpot Pick 5 pool had not been won after 18 consecutive racing programs, it was then scheduled for a mandatory payout day. That day was Monday, July 6. A mandatory payout day requires that the entire jackpot and the current day’s pool must be paid out to the winners that day. These events draw substantially more wagering as everyone is trying to win their share of the jackpot bonus.
And that was certainly the case on Monday as the Downs set a record that for wagering was almost three times greater than the previous record which was set on the third day of this year’s meet — $1,853,429.
“It was a legendary outcome,” said Dunn. “It’s a record that will never be broken. It’s a record that was the result of a lot of work. Dustin (Davis) at the race office put together a great card and our marketing department did a terrific job of getting the word out. It took a village to build this result. At the senior management level, we couldn’t be any prouder of everyone here.”
Despite the huge success of Monday’s card, Dunn’s celebratory demeanour was tempered by the situation that ultimately caused these huge numbers.
“We know there are a lot of people and businesses suffering because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “We’ve been very fortunate at the Downs to keep our business moving forward and with the number of people around the world looking for things to do, they’ve caught on to simulcast racing here at Assiniboia Downs and made a record number of wagers. We’re thankful for that. I like to think of it as a little ray of sunshine in a very cloudy sky.”
Indeed. On Monday night, Assiniboia Downs set the wagering bar for decades to come.