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.”
Churchill Downs spokesman Darren Rogers says the $14K Wes Welker bet error was a track mistake & $ doesn’t need to be returned— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) May 16, 2014
Original note sent by Churchill Downs to acquaintance of Wes Welker who picked up winning bet pic.twitter.com/Uj51olV7Kn— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) May 16, 2014
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.”
Wes Welker just handed everyone $100. pic.twitter.com/mtU9eOMonx— Jeff Novak II (@Jeff_Novak) May 3, 2014