Wes Welker won’t give Churchill Downs its money back; track backs down (updated)


Catch him if you can, Churchill Downs. (Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today)

Updated with track dropping quest for return of money

When it came time to pay Wes Welker for his winning wagers at the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs mistakenly forked over nearly $15,000 too much.

The track initially said it would like that money back, as TMZ first reported, but the Denver Broncos wide receiver wasn’t in a cooperative mood.

“Yeah, get in line,” Welker said on “The Dan Patrick Show.” “…I’ve heard about that. I’ve never heard of it actually happening, and supposedly my group got that. But we had no clue. They could have under-paid us and we wouldn’t have known.”

Darren Rogers, a Churchill Downs spokesman, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that “an individual believed to be a member of Welker’s group” had been overpaid because of a tote error and sent a letter to that person “in an attempt to resolve the matter.” Way to ruin Welker’s pretty spectacular Saturday at the ol’ racetrack, where he’d included longshot Commanding Curve in his exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagers. Welker, a horse owner, also bet the horse across the board.

“I had a wad of tickets,” he said two weeks ago. “Almost every single one won.”

Later Friday, the track changed its mind. “It is our mistake and we are not worried about the recovery of the money,” Rogers told ESPN’s Darren Rovell. “We hope they come back to Churchill Downs and wager that $14,000 next year.”

Welker wasn’t shy with his winnings. He walked down the concourse with fistfuls of dollars and made it rain for ordinary Derby-goers, handing out $100 bills right and left until a police officer stepped in.

“People wanted autographs and pictures and stuff coming down,” Welker told Patrick, “and I was like, ‘Wouldn’t $100 be nicer?’”

Welker, like all good gamblers, wouldn’t say exactly how well he much he’d won on the day on the ponies.

“Enough,” he told Patrick. “Enough to where my wife didn’t hate me when I got home. Why do we have to go into numbers here? It was a good time.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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